The past two days have been a roller coaster of highs and lows that have both taxed and buoyed my faith in the world. We found a dog in the woods this past Saturday. She looked like she had been lost for several days. We brought her in to Flagstaff to get veterinary care. We named her 'Coco' and hoped to give her second chance at happiness.
By Sunday evening I was questioning whether I was setting all of us up for a crushing loss. This afternoon, in rapid succession, a series of events restored my sense of good in this world. Against long odds, we found our lady's rightful home. Her owners found her on Facebook thanks to several people sharing a post.
To pickup where we left off, shortly after I posted our found dog story last night I received word that my Mom had been able to line up a potential home for 'Coco' through one of her church friends. The only caveat was that the potential foster owner was a college student and would need to get permission from the school to keep her at the dorm. The earliest we could get the go ahead would be Friday. Things were starting to come together. The hurdle now was to find her a home until for the week. Getting her out of the vet would be the best thing for her spirits, and for my wallet.
I woke up this morning to news that Coco was looking better. She was eating more and was being playful with the vet techs. The doctor was still guarded, as Coco was still wobbly and walking with a dizziness symptomatic of kidney trouble. They drew more blood and urine, with the test results not expected until tomorrow. I relayed the news about her potential new home to the clinic and asked if anyone on the staff could foster her for the week. Several of us then went to work looking for foster and rescue organizations around the state. Generally making pests of ourselves hoping someone would agree to take her in. I will readily admit that several polite "thank you but no" responses started to get me down. We did get a few "yes, but..." and "if I only lived in AZ" responses. A lot of credit goes to those willing to rearrange their lives to help save this one.
In general there was a sense that time was getting short. By about midday I was contemplating getting in the car for the long round trip to pick her up. My three dogs would probably not get along well with her, but, I was willing to cordon off part of my house to keep everyone separate. Whatever it would take.
As I was discussing this with my parents, in a conversation filled with mutual frustrations, my call waiting chimed in. The vet clinic was calling, one of the techs was willing to step up and take Coco for the week! Not only that, if our student fell through, they would take her long term. I gave the tech several long distance high fives and started to relay the good news to all of Coco's well wishers.
Within minutes of the vet call I received an unexpected call from a Prescott number. I quickly realized that we had found her true owners. A series of verification questions confirmed it. Our girl Coco - nay, Lady - was going back home!
Coco's real name is Lady. A fact that I stumbled on accidentally but did not realize until her owners told me. When we first came upon the couple that found her I got out the car and said "oh, what a sweet lady!". She came immediately to me and let me pet her. This was Melissa's most visible, but not sole, contribution to the process. Melly used to call our three dogs "the ladies". She would refer to them generally this way, as in - "knock it off ladies" or "goodnight ladies". I picked it up without even really recognizing it. Her expression was part of what made getting this particular 'Lady' into the truck so easy.
Lady is 15 years old. She had actually gone missing that morning, contrary to our initial thoughts that she had been lost for several days. She's mostly deaf and vestibular, which explained her unsteady, dizzy, walk. I should have recognized the vestibular early on. Melissa and I had a german shepherd, Gypsie, that was vestibular. It is a form of vertigo in dogs and one of the cruelest afflictions in the world. Once they get it, it never really goes away. All in all, Lady was doing very well with it.
Her owners took her in when she was four years old. Her previous owner had passed away from ALS. To here her new owner tell it, they thought Lady was going to die from the grief of losing her person. Something I know all too well with my girls.
They took her in and now love her with all their hearts. They decided that despite the vestibular and various other old dog maladies, she deserves the chance to live her days in peace and happiness. The trip camping at Lake Mary was part of this. A checked box on her doggie bucket list.
The couple that own her have a daughter in Texas. The Mom went to visit the daughter this past weekend, while Dad decided to go Elk hunting with friends near Lake Mary. One of the people in the hunting party let Lady off her leash early Saturday morning to go play with some of the other dogs in the camp. He did not realize that she had poor hearing and vestibular and wouldn't know when or how to come back. It was an accident. After a little while Lady was too far away and disoriented to get home.
Our group of good samaritans came along several hours later and picked her up. This was unbeknownst the Dad, who continued searching for her through this afternoon. He extended his weekend and took an extra day off work just to give it more time. He did not tell his wife that Lady was missing because he knew she would be crushed. Better to wait until she returned from Texas than to ruin her trip with the news.
Meanwhile, several of you shared my posts on Facebook with your friends. Your friends, in turn shared it with their friends, and so on. These posts eventually made it to their daughter, who showed it to her Mom and said something like "Hey, isn't this Lady?".
And so here we are. It is Monday night and an entire community of strangers in the real world and on Facebook all came together to get a very 'sweet Lady' back home. She will sleep for a week, with dreams full of adventure and the rightness of the world. Because things did fall in to place, as they needed to, this one time.