The Crownover farm has been without a dog for more than a year and a half. So, I was surprised a few weeks ago, when I stepped out of the house early one morning and was greeted on the front porch by a tail-wagging, tongue-licking, black and white, hyperactive bundle of unrestrained affection.
Even though the medium-sized female dog appeared well-fed and healthy, I could only assume that someone had dumped her since the location of our house is so far from the road and we never have canine visitors unless a ‘dumping’ has taken place. I petted her for a minute or two before I left for my usual stop at the convenience store for coffee and a newspaper. If she were a dumped animal, my hope was that she would move on down the road before I returned.
When I returned from coffee, the dog was lying right there on our front porch, just as I had left her 45 minutes earlier. When Judy finished with breakfast, I introduced the two and it was… as they say… love at first sight. After closer inspection, it appeared that the young female had either recently weaned a litter of pups or the litter had been taken from her since she was obviously producing milk. That provided even more proof to me that she had been left here on purpose.
During the 18 months we have been dogless, our cat population had multiplied exponentially, the opossums and raccoons (with their accompanying messes) had become nightly visitors to our garage, and the cows that surround our house had rid themselves of any fear of crossing the concrete cattle guard on our driveway and were now grazing the lawn on a daily basis. MoonPie, as the little dog was now named, had solved those three problems in less than a week and earned our respect to the point that Judy and I considered her our dog.
Since nobody at the local feed store had put up a “Missing Dog” poster and no one seemed to know anything about her, I made an appointment with the local vet to get her spayed, vaccinated and dewormed. If our place was going to be her new home, she needed proper medical care.
The trip to the vet resulted in a minor infection and MoonPie was lethargic for a few days, but Nurse Judy provided plenty of care and attention to get the little dog back to normal. But, after she completely healed from the procedure, she was gone. The next day, a lady who had just moved into the neighborhood, phoned to tell me she had our dog at her place. She had called our vet, whose number was on the rabies vaccination tag on her collar, and he had given her my phone number. I brought her back home, only to be called by the same neighbor six more times over the next two days. Was ‘our’ new dog unhappy at our place?
After a week of retrieving the dog on a daily basis, another neighbor – from the opposite direction – had also gotten my number from our vet and I went and got the dog from her house. After two more phone calls from two completely different people living in two different directions from the first two neighbors who had called, I took the collar off of MoonPie.
The little dog that endeared herself to both my wife and I, spends about two days per week at our place. I see her hanging out at my son’s house once in awhile, the neighbor to the north sometimes, the neighbor to the south other times. She even spends most Saturdays at the feed store. She seems perfectly content roaming around and the other neighbors seem to enjoy her company as well.
I guess we are still without a dog, but the veterinarian still sent his bill to this address.
Jerry Crownover farms in Lawrence County. He is a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University, and is an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’