Last week, Wyatt and I came across a smallish black dog standing some distance off the road on a neighbour’s property on a couple of our walks. I assumed that household had joined the majority in our dog-crazy neighbourhood. Over a couple more days it became evident he was a stray, or more likely, abandoned.
He’d gravitated toward a property where one of the elderly canine citizens, Fritz, spends most of his time sleeping and lounging on his front lawn. Some of the neighbours tried to approach him, initially without success, but after having left some food out for him (as he was gaunt as a rail) it got to the point where you could actually pat him. He turned out to be a really sweet, gentle soul; playful, loving and quiet.
Joe and Chris, Fritz’s owners, made it clear they wouldn’t take in another dog and options in the neighbourhood, all explored, were unsuccessful. I started to worry that ‘Nick’ (as I started to call him) would become prey to the abundant coyote population in our neck of the woods. Fritz, being at a decidedly creaky stage of life would be of little help.
I decided a placement at a shelter was the only option. I coaxed Nick over to my place and Wyatt kept him company while I worked the phone, confirming a shelter that was “no kill” and which would take him in. Despite my good intentions, I felt supremely guilty when I turned him over.
After a couple of days, I’d had no further luck finding a placement for Nick but I got a call from one of my neighbours who’d also been looking for a home. Turns out that her calls had left a trail at one of the local shelters when a man called looking to rescue an animal “exactly like” Nick.
The story had a happy beginning yesterday when Alex and his wife drove from Toronto to Southampton to bring Nick to his new home. They’d outfitted their van especially for their new charge, carried him out like a child, then drove away, Emily tells me, with tears in their eyes.