Here's Billy's Story:
I came about Billy indirectly. One day I looked in my pasture and saw a white spot in the tall grass. It appeared to be something dead, particularly since my horses were not interested in the least. As I walked toward it, a blocky head raised. I don’t believe that I have ever seen a dog so skinny and still alive. As I drew closer it sat up, crouched and crawled a little backward. I went into the house and came back out with a bowl of dry dog food. It would not let me approach so I poured the food on the ground. This seemed to work.
When my son saw what was going on, he said that the dog looked like it just needed to be put down. I had to agree. When I looked closer I noticed swelling around its belly. “I think she must have pups somewhere”. As often happens, she and her pups were put out on the side of the road. “How do you drive off from that,” I wondered.
I began to set out Ziploc bags of food at the end of my driveway near the road. Everyday she would silently appear. She would sit at the end of my drive for a moment then grab the bag and run. This was a daily routine and she appeared at the same time every day. She began to put on weight and her belly filled out becoming obvious that she was taking care of a litter. I soon doubled the amount in the bags and placed them out twice a day. She would come twice a day and retrieve the meals. People began talking, saying how they would see a dog going down the highway everyday with a bag full of food. They eventually would say, “I saw your dog today.”
At the time I was working in Memphis and would only come to the country on the weekends. I made enough bags for a week at a time and my son would put them out daily. After a few months, I found the litter in a culvert on the side of the road. There were seven pups, all very timid as they had had no human interaction and neither had she. I called a shelter and they agreed to take the mom and litter.
The next weekend, I managed to crawl into the ditch and then the culvert and was able to retrieve the pups without much ruckus. But, the mother was upset and not to be caught. After about thirty minutes, I gathered the calmest pup to hold out to her and finally got my hands on her. I quickly put her in the crate with her pups and placed the calm pup in the cab of my truck where he fell asleep under the seat.
We made our way to the next town where I found the shelter to be very clean but overrun with dogs. They were very accommodating and readily showed me where she and her pups would be kept. Someone, a student, was already in the pen with the family cleaning them up. The plan was to then check them for heartworms. I was directed to the office to fill out the paperwork.
The office had people everywhere trying to adopt. I was handed a clipboard with the papers and I filled out the front side. When I turned it over there was a question to be checked “yes” or “no”. It asked if I wanted to be called before the family was euthanized. I was unaware that this was a possibility and wanted to run get the family and take them back home. But, I knew that my Memphis landlord would not understand. I checked “yes” for the call and decided that if they were not adopted in 7 days that I would just go get them. I left and the calm pup was still sleeping under the seat of my truck. I did not have it in me to leave him behind.
Seven days passed, I had not heard a word so I made the call. “Oh yes, that family was picked up by a no-kill shelter out of Arkansas.” So, there I was with a small pup to add to my two dogs and four horses and me working in Memphis during the week.
I must say that Billy turned out to be the best, easiest puppy that I have ever raised. He lived with me about a year traveling back and forth to Memphis. It became clear that he had a lot of Lab in him and was turning into a beautiful dog with unusual green eyes. A friend of my son’s adopted him but had to move into an apartment. So, Billy has permanently rejoined me on the farm and I wonder how I ever let him go. It’s funny how things work out.