I was heartbroken. After eleven wonderful years, I had to put my beloved dog Sephi to sleep. She had been with me through so much – divorce, moving out of state away from family and friends, and rebuilding my life. Sephi, short for Persephone, was my rock and now she was gone.
I was devastated. I took two days off from work. Honestly, I wanted to take more but couldn’t. The following days were filled with misery. Even though I had my dog Maya and a supportive new husband, my life had a hole in it.
I wanted another dog, not to replace Sephi, but to lift my spirits with a new creature to love. My husband and I discussed it. He suggested we wait until after the holidays. Sephi passed in November, so I waited.
When I asked my husband what kind of dog we should get, he said a smart one. Sephi, bless her little heart, wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box. The most intelligent dog I’ve ever had was a Sheltie named Cassie, but I didn’t want another Sheltie. I decided on a Border Collie instead.
Being an advocate of rescuing animals rather than purchasing them, I began my search through rescue groups. Thank goodness I also told my Facebook friends my plan. Someone replied to my post and connected me to her friend who had been trying to catch this Border Collie mix who had been living in Pierson Park for at least three weeks.
Despite the long drive, I went to the park to help her catch him. The dog came close enough for us to pet and for us to determine his sex, but he was wily. Every time I pulled out the leash, he ran off. The park had a wooded area that he’d run to, making it more difficult to catch him. At one point, I cornered him against a fence. He freaked out. I worried he would bite me, so I backed off.
I was unsuccessful that day, but I determined to try again. The following day went much the same as the first. He’d get close enough for me to touch, but I couldn’t outsmart him and get a leash on him. After several hours, I gave up, tired and dejected.
I still wasn’t ready to give up, though. I couldn’t leave him there during the cold month of January, knowing he lived out there all alone. I prayed over and over, asking God to help me catch him and to keep him safe for another day.
After a sleepless night praying and worrying, I drove the distance for another try. Within ten minutes, a miracle happened. The dog, knowing what I intended to do, wouldn’t come to me. As I prepared for another long stake out, an old man drove up and asked if I needed help. He had been coming to this park nearly every day for at least two weeks to give the dog food. The dog walked right up to him with a wagging tail. At my request, the man picked him up and put him in my car. Angels sang and I praised God. I cried with relief and gave the stranger a hug.
Initially, my husband told me I had to take the dog to the shelter so he could get an evaluation and eventually be put up for adoption. However, I called my husband, prepared to beg him to let me keep the dog. I had a whole list of arguments lined up. However, I didn’t need to use a single one. He said yes.
I took the dog to the vet first thing. They checked him for a microchip and found none. Then they examined him and estimated him to be about a year old. Other than being skinny and having a bacterial infection in his gut, they gave him a good bill of health. Next, I took him to a type of pet groomer where the patrons wash the dogs themselves using the groomer’s supplies and equipment. I bathed this poor scared dog with flea shampoo and picked off his ticks. He was already a beautiful dog, but the bath made all the difference.
Finally, I brought him home. He didn’t care for my dog Maya at first, but Maya loved him. He was also nervous about his new environment. His fluffy tail tucked between his legs as he cautiously sniffed around.
Meanwhile, I checked every means I could think of to find out if anyone was missing him. I also left my information with local shelters and posted about him on social media. No one ever claimed him. Yes! He was all mine. I named him Pierson, after the park he had been living in.
It took time for him to warm up to us. The process was like watching a flower slowly blossom. Day by day, he raised his tail higher and his ears moved more forward. After a week or two, he pranced about the house like he owned the place.
It turns out he has a few health and behavior problems. He has seizures once in a while and he is prone to bacterial infections in his stomach. He has coprophagia, which means he likes to eat poop; he barks a lot; and he hates other dogs (except Maya, who he adores). He also has a high prey drive. I can’t tell you how many small mammals and birds he’s killed. Oh, and he doesn’t care for small children. However, when we brought our newly adopted son home, it took much less time than we thought for him to adjust. He’s about ten years old (estimated age of one year at time of capture on January 10th, 2012, plus nine years in our family). He’s still very lively for a senior dog. Even though he can be naughty at times, he’s a wonderful companion and beloved member of our family. I love Mr. Pierson Fluffybutt so much!