We had a visitor yesterday.
Bud was out talking to some men who had come to fix our roof. He said that as the men were leaving, he suddenly felt something licking his hand. He looked down and there was a DOG….an ol’ Coon Dog!
Bud called me to come outside, and the first thing I saw was a puffy and stiff cat protecting her territory on the porch. The poor dog looked ‘cowed’ and fearful, looking up at Bud with those soulful, big, brown eyes.The dog came toward the cat, and the cat with tail looking like a pipe cleaner moved forward, as if to say, “You touch my master or my porch, you’re as good as dead.” She was not afraid of the dog at all.
My first thought was for the chickens. Dogs are natural predators of chickens, and they must be trained not to eat them. Bud told the dog to ‘sit,’ and the dog obeyed, in fact, Bud went over by the tree and pointed to a spot and said, “sit.” The dog got up walked over to that spot and laid down.
I was afraid to let the dog out of my sight. The chickens were in the woods on the other side of the stream. The dog eventually came up on the porch. The cat was very curious. She went over to it and playfully swatted it with a retracted claw paw. The dog looked over at me with sad eyes, as if to say, “must I endure this humiliation?”
It was a well-behaved dog, and had obviously been trained. It looked like it might have been on the road for a while. It had some scratches on it, and looked to be on the thin side. Nonetheless, we decided to tie the dog up until we could decide what to do with it. More humiliation.
I’m not a dog person, and I haven’t wanted a dog. Bud had mentioned that we might need a guard dog around the place. I just couldn’t get it out of my head that sometimes things like this happen for a reason. Bud told me not to look into the dog’s eyes…and I made the mistake. I looked.
We suspected that she probably belonged to a guy way down the dirt road. He is a relative to the people who own the property with the pond across the street (The Sellers), and they warned us that the guy semi-regularly comes after dark to go coon hunting. We know he has dogs. The first time he came to coon hunt, we were already in bed. Since we sleep with the windows open, we can hear when cars go down the road, when they slow down, and especially when they stop. Well, we heard a car stop. I lifted up my head from the pillow so that my ears could be in better position to hear. As the car doors started slamming, my heart started beating fast. Then, I nearly had a heart attack when out of nowhere this horrible, blood curdling cry of something in the throes of death started ricocheting off of the hillsides. Hound of the Baskervilles from HELL! It was terrifying! …until we realized it was the guy who had warned us that he sometimes goes coon hunting late at night, and he had brought his pack of coon dogs with him.
To make a long story short, we thought this coon dog might have gotten left behind after the last hunting trip, so we called the Seller’s Wife up the street who is his relative, asking if she had his phone number. She said the dog had been on her back patio that morning and she would call the coon hunter to see if the dog was his. I soon got a call back, and the coon hunter said the dog was not his. The Seller’s Wife told me that if it was her, she would drive it down the direction the dog was going, and drop it off down the way in hopes it could find its way back home.
We had been holding on to the dog, unsure of what she would do to the chickens. She seemed docile enough, and hadn’t shown any interest the chickens or the cat. I even took her on a leash toward the chickens to see what she would do, and she pulled on the leash in the other direction. She wouldn’t even look toward them.
After a prolonged afternoon of waiting, we finally made the decision to first, drive the dog up to some other nearby neighbors to see if the dog was theirs (it wasn’t) and then to drive it on up the hill, and let it be on its way.
We dropped it off up the hill, and it seemed happy to be out of the car. It started sniffing and following scents right away. It didn’t even look back at us. We went on home, and I must admit, I felt heavy-hearted…and I worried about the dog all evening long.
Bud said if it was meant to be ours, it would find its way back to us.
I woke up off and on last night with sounds. I looked outside. No dog. In the morning, there was no dog there. I said a little prayer for it. Not long after that, we got a call from the Homesteader saying there was a dog at his place, and he asked us what we knew about it. (To quote a line from the movie, “Doc Hollywood” -“You can’t poop in this town without everyone knowing what color it is.”)
The dog must have walked a good portion of the night to have made it all the way down there. Mr. Homesteader told us that he had fed the dog, and that the dog followed his son off of his property down the road as he was leaving for church.
Bud and I had a quick family meeting. There had been a wolf-dog hybrid that had been killing the Homesteader’s chickens, and we were afraid that the wolf-dog might kill the dog if they ran into each other. So we hopped into the car and drove down the way to look for it. Sure enough, the dog was in the middle of the road with a pack of dogs that lives down there. It started coming toward us, and with a little coaxing, I had it in the back seat of the car. We went to town to buy some dog food at the store and headed back home. The dog stayed quietly curled on the back seat the whole way.
On the way home, I asked Bud what he wanted to name her. He said it needed to be something simple that she would respond to…something like….Daisy. Believe it or not, I had been thinking the night before about what I would have named her if we were going to keep her, and that is the exact name I had thought of.
So for now, until someone claims her, or she shows more than a passing interest in the chickens, she is our’n…as long as she wants to stay.