A dog tale

Just a mile before I arrived at my destination,  I noticed a hound dog standing like a statue roadside.  I took a double take as he looked like a bag of bones and was standing perfectly still. I slowly turned around hoping I had not seen what in fact I had seen. As I opened the car door,  I half expected the dog (and I shall call him Heath),  to bolt and run.   Instead he stood his ground and let me come right up to him.

I could feel my eyes getting blurry with tears as I saw what poor shape he was in. I could count all of his ribs and saw his cream and red jacket tightly stretched over his protruding hip bones.    Around his neck hung a heavy hunter’s tracking device which seemed to dwarf his delicate frame. I slowly picked him up and placed him in the back seat of my car explaining to him that I would feed and care for him.

Just hours after taking in Heath,  I heard the sound of a pick up truck coming down my friend’s gravel driveway. I knew without looking who it was. It was Heath’s person. The tracking device had led him to Heath. I held out hope that Heath had been missing for some time now. I held out hope that Heath would start to smile and his tail would begin to tap when he saw his person. I held out hope that this would be a happy reunion.

All hopes were dashed when I quickly learned that Heath had only been missing for four days.  “Four days??”  I queried.

I looked for a slight tail tap from Heath.   There was none. I looked for a smile on Heath’s face. There was none. I looked to see if Heath might even stand up to greet his person. He stayed curled up and unresponsive.

I gingerly picked him up and handed him to this person who had been entrusted to care for him.

As I drove back home,  I wondered if I did the right thing. Did I really save Heath’s life by picking him up roadside?  Heath’s spirit had left him long ago and physically there was not much left of him anyway. Did I witness first hand what the face of a hunting dog looks like in Virginia? I tried to convince myself I did the right thing and that Heath will be mentally and physically restored.  But yet, I find myself doubtful.

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