Monday afternoon Becky and I were “resting our eyes” in the living room when I heard the patter of animal footsteps on our deck. I looked up to see a German Shepherd going from window to window peeking in. “Ignore the prowler,” I thought. “It will lose interest and leave.”
Not so. The dog continued to hang around until finally, against my better judgement, I made contact with it. I was a little nervous — it was a full-grown shepherd, after all — but it was very friendly, no aggressiveness at all. A beautiful dog, healthy-looking except for its right rear paw which it dragged along using it more for balance than to put weight on. It was getting dark, and the animal-loving sentimentalist in me thought some food might be the right thing to do, so I put some kibbles out near our dog Sydney’s water bowl on the front porch. “That should do until our visitor decides to go home or move on.”
Becky and I wondered if the new people up the road were missing their German shepherd, so I coaxed the pooch into the car and drove there. No one home, but the screened-in porch had a shepherd pacing back and forth. I drove back. “Looks like we might have company for the night.” I opened the garage door, and the dog settled onto the step that leads into the house. Becky put blankets down and jokingly suggested we name our guest “Hans” (German, don’t you know). After I pointed out that “Hans” wasn’t appropriate, she suggested “Greta.”
The next day, I contacted people along our country roads who might know something, but no one was missing a dog. I texted our neighbor Kelly who knows everyone in these parts and is social media savvy. Also, I called our vet who squeezed us in to check out her leg. He diagnosed some nerve damage but wouldn’t be able to say for sure without X-rays. “Okay. X-rays it is,” I said.
Neighbor Kelly texted that she got a number of Facebook responses including one from a woman who “might be interested” in taking Greta if we decided not to keep her.
Becky and I were trying to figure out how we could make her an outside dog if no one claimed her. And what about Sydney? While not BFF’s right off the bat, he and Greta were respectful of each other’s space. That is, until Syd tried to come between Becky and Greta, and they got into a dominant dog thing.
That decided it for Becky and, really, for me, too. I texted Kelly and she sent a text to the “might be interested” woman.
She and I talked on the phone. I told her what I already knew and about the upcoming x-rays. She told me about their German shepherd they not long ago had to put down and about her 10-year-old son who still missed it terribly. I could understand the hesitancy to take a dog with only three fully functioning legs. I told I’d call after the X-rays.
The vet showed me the pictures. “See those little white dots?” he said as he pointed out the buckshot buried in her leg and hip. (Surely Divine Justice awaits people who purposely are mean to animals or who abandon them.) He didn’t think she would get worse, but her leg would always be an issue. He also said she wasn’t in any pain, so no routine medication would be necessary.
I called and updated the woman. She said she would come by with her son after school Friday. Becky met them just as they pulled in. By the time I got outside, Greta and the boy were running down the driveway: he smiling and looking down at her while she loped alongside, her bad leg hardly noticeable. When the time came for them to leave, he softly asked Becky, “Can I have your dog, please?” I helped Greta into the truck and they drove away.
I’m glad for the 10- year-old boy and his mom. I’m glad for Greta, although that’s not her name anymore. I’m glad that Syd is once again the Alpha dog. It was quite the experience living with Greta for those five days. I’m glad we were given the chance.