Location: On State Rt. 39 SE in Ohio
Type: Chow Chow / Mutt mix
A woman came to the door of my farm house frantically pleading for my help in getting a dog off of the State Route and very busy county road intersection about an eighth of a mile from my house. She explained that she and her husband had been trying unsuccessfully for six hours to rescue a very frightened and fearful dog from the busy road. It would not come to anybody.
The couple and other good people had tried dog food, treats, pleading, and nothing worked. The female dog would bark fearfully, walk toward them, then retreat and stop on the exact spot, right on the shoulder of the highway. Sometimes, she would walk out into the center of the road and gaze expectantly at approaching cars or semi trucks as if waiting for her owners to return. But, they never came for her.
She said, “Your neighbor said you are good with animals. Can you help us? We can’t keep her if we catch her, but she will be killed if we can’t get her to leave the road. We just can’t go on home.”
I grabbed my coat because it was early April just after Easter, and stopped at the horse barn on the way past to get a horse lead rope. As I walked along the berm I herd frantic and what seemed to be aggressive barking. As I went around the bend I saw a lovely almost pure cream colored young dog with her tail glued to her belly between her legs. It was obvious she was terrified.
I saw her wander into the road and the woman’s husband frantically run out and stop the semis and cars speeding toward her as he shepherded the dog off of the road. She always returned to the same spot. I knew then that she had been dumped there and she was waiting for her family to come back.
I was overcome with a mixture of anger and fear for her safety.
As I approached, she ran at me with teeth bared and barking threateningly. She was one terrified dog. After talking to her awhile with no success I asked the two rescuers to get into their truck and drive to the next driveway which was my neighbors. At this point in time, she had known these two for 6 hours. I thought she might follow them.
I walked along the highway berm and called her to follow. She would start, turn, go back, turn, walk toward us, turn and go back, turn. But, each time she came closer to us. Once the truck was in the drive I suggested we turn our backs on her and talk leaning on the tailgate to take away her fear of approaching us. I dangled my arm down with my hand relaxed.
In about 4 minutes I felt a warm tongue licking my fingers. I carefully and gently wiggled them to pet her as she grew more confident. I said, “You aren’t a mean dog, you are just scared. It’s OK girl.”
She finally let me pet her all over her head and let me attach the lead rope to her collar. She had on a pink collar with no tags of any kind. I thought some little girl somewhere loves you and some thoughtless person dumped you. How cruel to both.
It was raining harder so the couple left me with the dog and gave their thanks and regrets they could not keep her. I said I had an empty kennel with a dog house and I would just walk through my neighbors’ woods home. She went along willingly, but cowered terribly whenever I would reach for her, so I knew this dog had been abused as well as unwanted.
Once home, I put her in the kennel and tried to get her in the doghouse, but she would not budge.
It became a downpour, so in my efforts to get her into the dog house, I took the lid off and climbed in myself then put the lid back. At that moment, my neighbors drove up and saw me inside the dog house and the new dog outside. They began laughing hysterically saying, “Connie, you got it backwards, the dog goes in the house and you stay outside.”
Well, it worked and she came in and joined me, sopping wet and licking me all over. What a sweet animal.
When asked what I was going to call her, I said, “Lilly, because she came at Easter and she is as beautiful as a Lilly.” After three weeks of ads in the papers, on the radio, and calling the pound daily, it became apparent that no one was going to claim her. The pound gave me a coupon to get her sterilized since she was beginning her first heat cycle, which may have been part of the reason she was dumped. So she got her operation and her shots and she was now part of our family.
One really wonderful side story to this is regarding the neighbors who drove up. They had just gone through the loss of a stillborn child a week before. About a month after Lilly showed up, they told me that they were so full of grief the day Lilly came that they did not think they would ever feel joy again. When they drove up and saw me in the dog house, they both burst into laughter. It was a catharsis for them. They realized they could see something good was possible in the future.
It has been 5 years now and Lilly has become more golden, but she is still one of the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen. I sometimes wonder what made her come to both my family and my neighbors need that rainy day in April. In a way, she has saved us.