Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dogs that need us - with video

A year ago this coming week was when I made the decision to get Darlin’ off the streets. I couldn’t go on driving to feed her every night. It was getting old, especially for my family.

I sent out this email to Best Friends in Utah and to three local rescue groups in our area. My husband thought I had lost my mind wanting to bring another dog into our home so I did what I could to reach out for help.

One year before (2008) I lost my cat after we moved 650 miles. She ran out of our new home and I never found her. I grieved for a month, I hurt so badly. I ran ads, had signs everywhere, had her registered online, and we even set traps in our neighborhood.

Exactly a year later I was trying to trap a stray that I refused to turn away from. Again, I was crying out for help and crying is no exaggeration. I shed a lot of tears over this situation.

Dear Friend,

The last thing you need is another plea to take a dog, but please take a minute to read my email. I am heartbroken and don't know what I will do with a dog I feed that's been living on the streets and taking shelter in the woods.

I have been feeding a stray for 6 months. I drive 6 miles to her every evening at dark and take her food. This started late last summer or early fall. She came about an hour after dark, when the time changed she changed with it, crossing traffic at 6 pm!

She was very close to emaciated when this started. After eating every night that it doesn't rain (she doesn't come then) she looks like a healthy dog now. My intention was to keep her alive through winter which has worked, although it's amazing she hasn't been killed by a car as she crosses a major highway through my area every night.

I contacted Animal Control 2/9/2009, we have one Police Officer in our area. He has agreed to ask permission to work a night shift to observe and catch this stray dog for me. I can't go on doing what I'm doing. She will NOT come to me; she is very cautious and keeps her distance until I move away from the food I leave by a tree. This has become The Real Giving Tree as I taught her by repetition that there will be food at the tree when she comes to it! She waited for me 3 hours when I was delayed in December and it was freezing! I can't eat dinner when I know she crossed a highway and is waiting for me!

She looks over her shoulder with every bite of food, very cautious. I also started bringing her pig ears and other chews around Thanksgiving. You should have seen how happy she was the first time she found it there!! I sit in my car and watch her; I also watch her run back across the highway right in front of bumpers with her chew after she has eaten!

Six months is a long time to try and get a dog to come to you. Sometimes I wonder if she's deaf because when I talk to her she just stands back away from me with her head low, but it just could be how she protects herself from harm. Maybe she's not deaf either because she sometimes gets spooked by cars in the parking lot. She'll grab her chew before finishing her food, run back to wherever she hides out and comes back for the food later in the night. The Police Officer said she may have been abused in her life by some of her actions, but she shows no signs of aggression at all. She is a lovely 40-45 lb mixed breed dog (maybe some Australian shepherd), but I can't judge her age, although I don't think she is very young.

I have sat at my computer and cried over your dogs that have been waiting for years for a home! I want a farm so bad! My house is barely big enough for a family of 4 and 6 animals, probably why my husband doesn't want anymore. This situation has caused problems at home for me, from the feedings every night to trying to figure out what I will do with her when I catch her.

And I know it's costly and time consuming for you, I just don't know where to turn! Rescue groups are not responding to my emails and I need to know what to do.

Animal Control said he will help me catch her, but my husband won't allow me to even try to keep her. We already have 3 dogs and 3 cats, we have transported Rescues that I would have kept if I could have.

He said that even if she did get along with our dogs that we can't keep her. It breaks my heart because I feel like I'm looking for a home for my own dog, yet I've never even been able to touch her or pet her head. I've cried about my decision for two days because I don't know what to do! Animal Control said he wouldn't want to take her to our County Humane Society, I don't know how long they could keep her and I want her to have a good life.

Please advise me! I think that she has become wild, but if I didn't have all of these dogs I would be able to keep her and rehabilitate her myself. I think she just needs to learn that not all humans will hurt her. She needs to be shown kindness besides the food.

We will work at catching her soon, maybe this week, he's suppose to call me today, but I'm not sure I could even bring her home because of my dogs. I don't know how she would react, in captivity or with my dogs. My dogs are socialized, but they get overly excited when they see another dog which could freak her out!

If you take her or another rescue could take her I will pay her Vet bill, bed, food and make donations to insure she has a home. I have a Vet too. She needs heartworm testing, I'm sure. She needs room to roam; I don't think she would do well in a kennel after living on her own. And I do not agree that putting her down is better than living on the streets, I just can't after making it this long and doing so well. I have a hard head I'm sure, but a deep love for dogs and misfortunate dogs especially. She deserves a chance at a real home, with food everyday and a soft place to sleep.

Please advise, we will be trying to catch her after dark at a shopping center, maybe this week. Her pictures are attached. Not good ones because it's dark. We call her Darlin’ because that's what I say when I feed her, "Hello Darlin’.”

Everything turned out as it should have. Little did I know that part of my path in life was to love and rehabilitate Darlin’. We don’t get the dogs we want, we get the dogs we need. I truly believe that. And I would add; we get the dogs that need us.

One January morning. Darlin’ was the first one to come back inside. She knows to sit for her treats and she is good at it!


  1. Loved it! Can't get enough of that DARLIN!You kno, I think most of her worried past has been wiped away from her expression, by your constant love that never gave up on her.

  2. I love you and God bless you, People like you do best the world at my eyes. Thks :)

  3. Man I just love Darlin'. She is so beautiful and look at that face and ears toooooo cute.

    PS I love your deep voice too! :)


  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. dirlin is such a cutie dog. but is all story is true......

  6. Hello,
    Congrats, you have a beautiful and clever dog as I can see. I hope you will have a happy life together :).
    Keep up the good work!
    If you are interested in some squidoo lenses on dogs, you can read good materials here.
    Best wishes

  7. How did you catch Darlin'? I have the same situation with a Rottie girl living in bush land. I have been feeding her for 3 months and she comes close but is very scared and if I move she runs away..... No one will help I don't know what to do or how to catch her :(

  8. Calli, I put food in a large humane trap. Check with Animal Control if you can borrow one. You may need a chain and lock to lock it to a tree or something. People love to steal those things and the reason many animal controls will not loan them out. When the trap is in place, you stop feeding and put food inside the trap. This way the dog will be hungry and must go into the trap to eat. Cat food works fine. You need something smelly that he can't resist. When the trap is set, you want to check frequently if you can't be there to watch it. It took two nights to catch Darlin'. The first night I trapped a opossum. That's my first post on this blog. I did not feed her so it was very hard for me. Check with Rottie rescues for rescue help, even if it's a courtesy post on Petfinder listing him for adoption after he's/she's in your care. Your dog may be fearful or unsocialized or both. Or may just be scared and when you get him safe, full of love, tail wags, and kisses. You won't know until you have him in your care. You've have already started to build trust with that dog. Keep in mind, when you come to feed, he smells you long before you see him. Email me if you need help or support. were 4 dogs @ - no spaces.