The Dog Who Came to Stay

Nemo by Galen.jpgWe celebrated Labor Day in Virginia’s Piedmont, surrounded by rolling hills and mountains.  One night we sat in a screened-in pond house at sunset with wine and cheese and family, waiting for the night noises to begin.

It’s not unusual to have all manner of animals tiptoe down to the pond for their own nightly snacks and drinks, and we hoped to see and hear their exploits.

Unfortunately, the night was quieter than those in our suburban yard in Northern Virginia, which is a hop, skip and jump from the White House.  I think we were much too rowdy, and the animals much too intimidated.  My children swear there’s a beaver family enjoying life in the pond, and something is indeed felling the trees around it.  But until I see the critters myself, I’m not a believer.  Same goes for the regular bobcat visitation and the bears.  We didn’t even hear bullfrogs.

We can always count on wildlife when the family gets together, though.  This weekend we had four dogs happily in residence together.  But it was a stranger’s dog, Mouse, who drew my attention.  She like our Nemo (photo:, was a throwaway pup.  We came across Mouse and the man who saved her at a nearby construction site where we had stopped to see how a neighbor’s house was progressing.  Mouse and Nemo romped together as we compared stories with her new owner.  Mouse was “dropped off” near the site some months ago, and by the time the contractor found her, she was nearly starved.  She was obviously a throwaway since she’d had a litter of pups recently, apparently a good enough reason to get rid of her.  Having experienced an identical scenario once with one of our dogs–only SHE was tossed out of a car on the Interstate–we were familiar with this story.

Mouse now has a wonderful home and she’s a corker.  And our Nemo, is beloved, after nearly dying as an abandoned puppy before my son happened upon him in tall grass beside a country road.  The contractor told us about another dog he’d rescued, who, like Nemo, was barely weaned and found not far from Nemo’s rescue site.

I can’t help but think anybody who takes the time to read my blogs is not a person who would ever dispense with a dog the way some people choose to.  I’m sure every one of you neuters your pets, loves them, cares for them. You’re richer for the experience, and happier.  You’ve told me as much.

Mouse and Nemo and all the other rescue dogs out there, just want you to know they are among the lucky ones, as are their owners.  There are people who toss dogs out of cars and people who save their lives.  If there’s a moral to this story, I’m still working on it.  But for Mouse and Nemo, happy endings are alive and well.  

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  1. Lynda Green on September 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Happiness is a rescued puppy – Jack, the Jack Russell, joined our resident JR Bagel nine years ago. He arrived with numerous bite marks around his neck from large dogs who also lived with the former owners, and was terrified of everything. Today, he is a loving, funny little dog who craves attention, has perfected his bad habit of raiding the trash, and lives the good life. We did get carried away with the rescue concept – two ponies and one horse live in the barn across the street!

  2. Emilie Richards on September 9, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    There is a special place in heaven for those who rescue Jack Russells. You and your pets sound very lucky indeed. I think we need photos.

  3. Galen Mcgee on September 9, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    What a wonderful picture of a wonderful & lucky dog 🙂

  4. Emilie Richards on September 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Which gives me the perfect opportunity to point out that this photo comes courtesy of Two Ring Studio of Asheville and their talented photographer, Galen McGee.

  5. Patricia Barraclough on September 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    It amazes me that so many people consider animals “things.” We did foster care for the animal shelter for years. We have a 13 year old lab from the first litter (had a mom and eight puppies for 6 weeks) and an 8 year old terrier from the last (5 puppies whose eyes weren’t even open whose mother disappeared. The owners couldn’t be bothered with them.) Have had adults short term a few times since. We currently have 4 dogs and 2 cats plus a python, all either rescues or they just showed up and adopted us. Oh, and 3 peacocks (that a friend didn’t have room for) and their new chick.
    I’ve never understood why people get upset when you mention having their pets spayed or neutered. My daughter, who has way too many pets, many rescue or walk-ins, currently has about 20 cats. For about a year she had cats having litters in her barn. None were hers and no one claimed them. We had to take 2 or 3 litters to the pound, they were just too wild to deal with. She was treated poorly by shelter personnel who accused her of being a careless pet owner. What they failed to realize is she paid for over a dozen cats to be spayed, something she could not afford. She has an older Jack Russell and a paralyzed Boston Terrier she is caring for, plus 5 other dogs, a rescue pig, and a barn full of other creatures.
    We love our pets and really don’t understand those who ignore or mistreat animals. Our neighbors have two dogs in a pen and spend no time with them. They throw food at them, but that is it. Why bother having them?
    Most shelter workers should be commended. It is a hard, mostly thankless, job. When you get over 90 kittens in a week, there is no way you can place them all. People drop off animals because they are tired of them, they got too big, they are more work than expected, or sadly are old and they don’t want to be bothered with them. Sadly, this economy has made it necessary for many families to give up pets they love, were treating well, but couldn’t afford to keep. Good owners shouldn’t have to be subject to that.
    Thanks for a nice article.

  6. Sue on September 29, 2009 at 8:49 am

    We’ve been rescuing puppies for years since we found one thrown from a car. I’m amazed and appalled at how people treat tiny puppies, neglect, starvation and beatings.
    We still have two of our rescues living with our pack of Portuguese Water Dogs and we’ll continue to help when we can.
    Thanks for writing about this problem. It needs to be brought to the attention of good people who will help the animals.

  7. Emilie Richards on September 29, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I can’t help but wonder how these abusers treat the people in their lives, as well. Anyone who enjoys hurting animals is someone to worry about. Good for you and all your rescues.

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