I wish I could look back at “the goat” rescue with fond memories but it was a painful, long and arduous experience. The redeeming memory is he found a home.
Late one cold winter night several colleagues and myself with our significant others were driving home from a holiday dinner at our bosses house. Our boss lived on a beautiful bluff so it was a distance from the rest of civilization. As we traveled down the dark isolated road it began to hail.
All of the sudden we saw a dog running down the middle of the road in front of us. I asked the person driving to pull over as I got out and wrapped the cold wet Bluetick Coonhound in my coat (never to smell the same again) and got him in the car. I was thankful my friends were open to transporting the animal to my place as it wasn’t my car and their were several complaints about the car smelling.
Man this dog was big. He reminded my of a mix between a Dalmatian with his spotted coloring and a Great Dane because of his size. He was definitely thin but had to have been someones. I thought I was doing something good but I was in for a lot of sleepless nights. The dog howled like I have never heard howling before. After he devoured the food I gave him he pooped everywhere. The only sleep I got was holding him in my arms on the couch because if you left him he wouldn’t stop howling.
The next day I drove back to the area going down every potential road nearby with houses to find his owner. I took him to the vet (a whole different saga) and she proclaimed that he probably was someones dog but hadn’t been for sometime as he was very malnourished. She said he was probably a hunting dog and got loose and ran up the mountain.
I tried locally (emails, posters signs) and nationally (using websites) to find the dog a home while I was slowly loosing my mind not having a yard for the dog to run in. A nice lady offered her yard while she was going to be out of town and I bought him a dog house and went over several times a day to feed him. When she returned she sweetly let him sleep inside but quickly experienced the same thing with him not wanting to be left alone and howling all night. This stranger had helped take on this animal and was also trying to find him a home.
Interestingly, a woman from California contacted me and wanted the dog for her father but we had the dilemma of transporting the dog from TN to CA. I actually looked into carpooling opportunities as I was getting desperate to find him a home. I had to leave town the next weekend and had no where to keep him so I begged the Police Chief to allow him to stay at the pound for the weekend. He very kindly agreed, I love that man, and even asked the manager to leave the lock undone so I could come and walk the dog when I was around which leads to another story…
My fiancee and I took the dog, nicknamed “the goat”, for a hike/walk on the perimeter trail. He had been so good on the leash and so attached to me that we decided to let him off the leash for a little while. About 30 minutes into the hike/walk he heard something and ventured off over the bend. We quickly tried to located him and couldn’t find him. We spent at least another hour looking everywhere calling his name before deciding we had to head back before it got dark. I started to cry I was so upset. Here I had rescued an animal only to lose it again. The thought was devastating and I felt like a failure. I kept praying for God to help us find him.
We ascended out of the thick trail and were walking back along the dirt road to the car, a good 2 miles away from where we had lost sight of the goat, when all of the sudden I felt something behind me and I looked. The goat was right on our trail. As much pain and anguish that animal had made me feel was nothing compared to the true joy I felt seeing him again. I got down and gave him a gigantic hug!
A few days later the nice woman who had generously provided her yard as a temporary residence for the goat found him a home with a nice man in the country who had lots of land to run.
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Photo by Mark Riordan (of his bluetick coonhound Juno)