At 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 8, 2014, I pondered whether or not to drive to Memorial Park. I loved walking the path around the lake and watching ducks and geese swimming and waddling on the shore. I could drive a quarter-mile down the road and use the treadmill instead. I was about to turn left at the stop sign and head to the gym when I suddenly changed my mind, turned right and headed in the direction of Memorial Park.
That split second change of heart changed a life.
When I reached the intersection of South Lumpkin Street and Gran Ellen Drive, I spotted a wolf-like dog running loose back and forth across the busy road. I instinctively parked my car, turned on my flashers, and went after the dog. She disappeared into some bushes and re-emerged with a tree branch. When she saw me moving toward her, she dropped the branch, sprinted toward me, jumped up on me with her front paws—at which point I noticed she had no collar—and then she dashed away again before I could grab her. She raced down the road and into another bush. I kept calling, “Come here, baby. It’s OK.” Within seconds, I saw the telltale rustling of leaves. She bolted toward me again, and this time, when I reached out to pet her, she stayed put. I quickly opened the rear passenger door of my car, patted the cushion, and invited the dog to jump into the car. She hesitated, and I reassured her, “It’s OK. Don’t worry. Come on.” Something in my eyes must have told her it was safe, because she jumped into the back seat. As soon as I closed the door behind her, she climbed up so she could see through the rear window and started barking her head off in a screeching, high-pitched tone.
Driving away, I wasn’t sure what to do with this stray dog now that I had her safely in my car. She had a healthy-looking blue-gray fur coat, highlighted with streaks of brown and white, especially on her underbelly. She had one brown eye and one blue eye, which was as brilliant as a glowing planet.
I called my husband from the car as the dog began freaking out, jumping to the front, climbing up onto the dashboard, and barking ferociously at every car that passed us.
We put her in the backyard, while setting up an indoor enclosure in the kitchen to keep her separated from our small dogs, Lizzie and Reggie.
For the next two weeks, we experienced a wild ride of fostering this dog, whom I named Betty. We discovered that she was a deaf blue heeler puppy with a microchip, but when the owner was called to retrieve his dog, he didn’t want her back. It turned out that Betty’s owner had purposely abandoned her on South Lumpkin, claiming she was too much work for him.
In the end, we found a forever home for Betty with a family in Columbus, GA, who had a male red heeler named Dante. Who knows what would have happened to Betty if I hadn’t stopped that day? She likely would have been hit by another car, had I left her on that road in Five Points. It was fate and a miracle that we found each other.
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