I have been exceedingly blessed to have some of the best animals come into my life over the years. Most of them found my family by chance.
Right now I have one dog. He is one of the best dogs. He showed up at our house one day, a little puppy full of energy, running around our feet barking happily. At that time we had another dog who has, sadly, passed away. Jack, our current dog, showed up at our house in the fall. We were getting ready to spend the afternoon outside, putting coats on the kids and heading out the door. My husband, his cousin who was visiting, and my daughter headed outside while I finished getting my son in his coat. Suddenly there was a puppy running through my house and sniffing my son’s tennis shoes.
Apparently, my daughter, thinking we were right behind her, had left the door open. The puppy followed us back outside, my husband and his cousin hadn’t even seen the pup. Since the puppy had a collar on, a little cat collar, we caught him and tried to figure out where he came from, but there were no tags.
My husband took the puppy around to the neighbors’ to see if he belonged to anyone, but he didn’t. We put up notices online. No one answered, no one claimed him.
By this time my children had fallen in love with the little guy. My dog, Buddy, wasn’t much of a kids’ dog, he was old and didn’t care to play much. He was happy Jack had showed up, it seemed, because now the kids had a pup who liked to play and didn’t mind when they would pet him the wrong way.
Buddy was also a stray. One day when we came home from grocery shopping, he was hiding under our porch. We got the kids and the groceries inside before investigating further. Under our porch, plastered against the house was a little scared dog. He looked half- starved and was too afraid to come out. When my husband tried to lure him out with food he just whined and pressed himself closer to the house. Seeing the way he reacted to my husband, we decided I had better try while he was standing where the dog couldn’t see him.
After thirty minutes trying to assure the dog that he was safe and we wouldn’t hurt him, he finally came to the front of the porch to try the food we were offering.
When he finally came forward we could see that he really was starved, you could see every one of his ribs, and he had been hurt. We also suspected that he had been on his own for some time, since he was covered in ticks.
It took three days of persuasion to get him out from under the porch, and he still didn’t like my husband. We had him checked out by the vet. He needed the ticks removed and a lot of food and water but he would be fine if taken care of. We were told that he had probably been abused, by a man, and that would explain why he acted the way that he did around my husband.
We debated keeping him or not since we did not know what kind of dog he would be once he got better. In the end we decided to give him a chance since the pound was likely to put him down.
We brought him home and began the long road to getting him healthy again. Buddy ended up being a great dog. He was obviously old and had no interest in fetching or playing but he was good with the kids and over time he warmed up to my husband too. Despite his small size, he was also an excellent watch dog. He always let me know when someone or some animal was near the house.
Later the next summer we discovered that he was also a very good snake dog. One day, when the kids and I were getting ready to go play outside, Buddy went ballistic. I told the kids to wait inside while I went to find out what was wrong with him. He was barking frantically at something at the edge of our front yard. When I got closer I saw that he had cornered a black snake, common where we live and not poisonous. I got the shovel and he kept the snake cornered until I managed to cut its head off. If he hadn’t alerted me to the snake the kiddos might have been bitten.
Once Jack, the puppy, had showed up, Buddy had begun acting older. We had no idea how old Buddy really was. We had only had him for a year and a half or so at this point. When we decided to keep Jack we had no idea how the two dogs would get along. But our worrying was for nothing. Buddy took right to Jack, as long as Jack wasn’t trying to chew on his ears. Buddy even taught Jack how to let us know when there was a snake around.
One night after we had all gone to sleep, Buddy and Jack began barking like crazy on the back porch. My husband and I went to investigate. Thankfully we had the good sense to turn on the light and look out the door window before opening the door. Jack and Buddy had cornered a copper head, poisonous, next to the back door. Every time that the snake tried to move, they would go crazy again and back it into the corner.
My husband put his snake guards on and left out the front door. Those dogs didn’t budge until my husband had killed and disposed of the snake.
Unfortunately we lost Buddy about ten months ago. He was rather old when we found him so it didn’t come as a surprise. We still have Jack, he has continued to be a wonderful dog for the kids. He is also a wonderful guard dog despite his size. For two dogs whose previous owners couldn’t appreciate them, they have been the best dogs in the world.
Stephanie Tiner loves all things writing. After struggling to learn how to read as a child, Stephanie eventually found her way and fell in love with the written word. The first book she read from cover to cover without help was "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare. After falling in love with reading, she quickly fell in love with writine. Stephanie Tiner lives with her husband, children, and her dog in Missouri and hopes to someday be a published author.
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