“Sometimes dogs get loose. A few of the runaway dogs in my town haven’t been friendly. I didn’t know how to help a wandering dog. If a dog wouldn’t come to me what could I do?”
“I’m Maeve Kassidy. My family has a fifteen-acre farm on the edge of town. We raise snap peas, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and sunflowers. I wish you could see me between the rows of vegetables. Under my red-brown curls, I’ve got freckles all over my face. I like helping plant our garden. What I don’t like is that after Dad starts the alfalfa, I can’t run in the fields until it is grown, dried, and cut.”
“We don’t have a dog. All we have are three barn cats. And sheep. I didn’t know much about dogs until I met Nevada. We’ve been friends, since we were little. She lives in the neighborhood below our farm.”
“Sometimes when dogs get loose, they run in the town streets or up to our farm. Although our town has a leash law, dogs still get loose. And sometimes, these dogs are afraid of people they don’t know. This drives my parents crazy because we have to be very careful with our sheep. We can’t let dogs chase them. And my dad and mom don’t want to hit a dog with our truck or car.”
“One week, a tan wired-haired dog kept coming up. He was a scrappy guy, twice the size of a cat. Although, he was wary of us, he kept chasing our sheep and barking at our cats. My family didn’t know our new neighbors who had just moved into a house near our mailbox.”
“One day after school, Nevada walked up to our place. When she saw the runaway dog in our pasture upsetting our sheep, she said she had an idea.”
“The two of us let the sheep into their feeding pen and got the tan wired-haired dog moving down the driveway. We hurried after him as he ran. Followed, right up to his front porch then we kept back so he wouldn’t run into town. We shouted hello and to come get their dog, but nobody was home.”
“Nevada knew the dog might bite if we tried to grab him. But we didn’t want to leave him all alone with cars and trucks going by. So Nevada sat on the sidewalk and I sat facing her. She pulled out a carrot then a few crackers from sandwich bags in her jeans. She offered a cracker and carrot to me. Then she scrunched up her mane of waves to get them off of her neck. I was sweating too because in the summer sun the sidewalk was hot. The dog leaned, panting in the porch shade, his tan fur falling over his burgundy eyes. Here’s what happened next.”
The dog began, edging closer to us. “Pay no attention to him,” Nevada told me.
“Why?” I asked.
She said, “To let him think we have forgotten him. He needs to relax.” She tossed pieces of cracker on the lawn and walkway. We sat, chatting and munching on salty crackers, ignoring the dog.
Soon, we were trading jokes. I said, “What did the sheep have for breakfast?”
Nevada guessed, “Hay Baby?”
“No,” I said, “Oat Grass Grain-ola.”
“That’s not funny,” Nevada said. I nodded it wasn’t but we laughed anyway.
He was busy snatching up bites of cracker, but skittered away when we started giggling. Nevada was making silly faces as she lobbed more crackers all around us. Then she tossed the nervous dog a bite of carrot. He surprised me by gobbling it up. I didn’t know dogs liked carrots.
Nevada said, “Maeve, I think we should go back to your place.” And we did. On the way, she dropped bits of cracker and carrot. Keeping a distance of about a dozen feet, the dog nibbled his way back to our farm.
I whispered. “What are we going to do with him?”
“Come.” Nevada motioned, opening the door to our sheep shed where my parents keep hay bales, grain, and buckets. I followed. Once we were inside, Nevada hid behind the door. She motioned that I should do the same.
I whispered, “Should I catch him?” Nevada shook her head, no.
The tan dog wandered up the steps then inside. He nosed about the hay covered floor, busy sniffing for food.
Nevada closed the door. “We already have.”
We left him in the sheep shed, yelping. I wrote a note saying we had their dog. We left it poking out from the welcome mat at the neighbor’s house.
That’s how we caught a runaway dog just like Nevada said, “Without scaring him.”
The End (for now)
“Did we become friends with the runaway wired-haired dog?”
There are many ways to help a runaway dog. Please describe how you have helped a dog get found.