I was driving home from work; the same route I’d driven uneventfully for almost 15 years. It’s a six-lane road, mainly businesses, and busy this time of day. I was about to hop on the interstate for the second leg of my journey home. Then I saw her. She was trotting down the sidewalk, at a good clip, headed the opposite direction.
I pull into a restaurant parking lot, and turned around to wait for what seemed like an eternity at a traffic light. I watched as she grew smaller, as cars turning onto side streets dodged her little body. I feared she was going to be hit right in front of me.
Finally, the light changed and I sped quickly down the road, spotted her, and then passed her in an attempt to cut her off, hopefully keeping her out of the traffic as well. As I pulled up, she veered away from the road and towards a complex of run-down apartments. I grabbed a leash and my other dog, Flynn, who was along for the ride, hoping she might be enticed to come closer if she spotted another dog. Suddenly, a kind man came running up on foot. He spotted her too; now I had help!
I directed him one way and I went the other, as we followed her movements away from the road. After a few moments, he yelled, “She’s stopped!” I tethered Flynn and approached her slowly, leash in hand. She was frozen, as I slowly picked her up for first inspection: A young mother, full of fleas, head trauma as well. Perhaps one of the most unusual dogs I have seen. I thanked the kind stranger profusely, retrieved Flynn from his tether, and headed back to my car with my new small charge in my arms.
No microchip, no signs, no interest in this girl from anyone. I shared her picture on Facebook. “I’ll place her in a home,” I told myself. I’m not the biggest fan of small dogs. I’m not the biggest fan of hair. I’m planning for my next performance dog anyway. She’ll be easy to place … small, friendly, adorable. We dubbed her the ‘Creature’ as a temporary moniker. Every time I looked at her, I laughed. She is ridiculous looking.
The head trauma and foggy brain cleared after a few days. A personality began to emerge. She really liked food. She occupied my lap or the spot beside me on the couch continually. If I wasn’t home, she laid on the rug beside the door. She got along fine with the crew. I waited the obligatory 10 days. I spayed her and updated her health care.
I decided to train her. After all, that’s what I do. Out came the clicker and some treats. As she offered behaviors, she gets clicked and treated. That’s it, she said? That’s easy, she said!
It’s been a year. Her name is Nessie. We still call her the Creature. She still waits on the rug by the door when I’m gone. She bosses all the boys around. She barks more than I’d like. Her hair forms dreads, because I don’t really groom. She is my new performance dog. She’s already achieved Masters level titles in agility. We’re preparing for Obedience, Rally and Tracking competitions. Her future is bright. I still laugh when I look at her. She is still ridiculous looking.
Fate, luck, divine intervention or coincidence? I don’t really care. We found each other.