Earlier in the day, we went out for a ride on the 4-wheeler in the snow. A previously unknown dog was wandering the neighborhood, and barking at passers-by (as ya do). She kept close by the house across from my parents (which didn’t seem to have anyone home) and just liked to make her presence known.
My mother and I went out to the store briefly at about 7pm. It was already dark, and this is Northern Utah so it was very cold. The dog made sure we knew she was there, and that she noticed us. Man…..she has a set of pipes!
When we returned at about 8pm, the temperature outside registered around 12 degrees. And sure enough, when we got out of the car in the driveway, there was the pup across the street at the same house. Barking away. Rather than wandering around, though, she was perched on the front porch which was in a sort of portico of concrete and brick. I watched her for a few minutes, and saw that she was curling up next to the one pillar but was not sheltered. The house was still dark and there had not been any movement – I felt terrible that she was waiting for someone who just wasn’t there. So into the house I went, and asked my dad what blankets and towels could be spared; this pup should not be curled up on concrete in single digit temps (which is where the night was headed).
My dad, the Mr, and I went through the garage and found a cut piece of foam that was about 4″ thick, the old rug that had been in our family room when I was a kid (there’s a LOT of spilled soda on that thing) and a micro fleece blanket. Off to the neighbors house we went. The dog was clearly uneasy with us carrying all this stuff in the dark, so she barked and ran to the other side of the driveway. But we put the foam and rug down and proceeded to convince her that we were not all evil. As she relaxed a little and started sniffing at the makeshift bed, the neighbors opened the door! They asked if we knew whose dog it was, then yelled at her to get out. We apologized for assuming they were gone (the lights WERE off) and said that if the dog was not theirs we would get her settled with us and call authorities in the morning. But how odd that they were home, aware of this dog all day, but did nothing!
After a little attention, the dog happily came with us across the street, and we put together a shelter for her on my parents front porch. We got her some water and fed her from the Dork Dogs stash in the house. That was when we could get a good look at her. Black lab mix, skinny and bony, front elbows rubbed bare, a collar, but no tags. And clearly, she was made of springs. She wanted to jump (not run) and play. And she was so big (and smelled like a horse) that we gave her two nicknames: The Camel, and Flicka. But she had been a family dog sometime – she had the collar, she did well on a lead when my dad took her so we could get the Dork Dogs out, and when she wanted to jump up on someone she clearly stopped herself. We took pictures to start circulating, then sneaked back into the house for the night. As soon as we were inside, she curled up in her new bed and all was good for the night.
Like I said, it was SO COLD! She had been out and away from home for a while, so obviously she was used to figuring out the cold weather, but that did not stop the worry. From our room upstairs in the house, you could almost see where the bed was on the porch – so we popped out the screen so that we could lean over and keep an eye on her. But there was no need, she slept fine, and was delighted to see my dad at 6am the next morning to go for a little walk and get much-needed attention. Flicka stayed on the porch or in the front yard the rest of the morning after getting another drink and some more breakfast. Her nest was hers. Animal Control came to get her around 10:30am, and she easily and happily jumped in the back of the truck and into a crate. Yep…..she was someone’s dog.
And that someone picked her up the same day! No shelter overnight visit for Flicka……just home to her family and her real bed.