I am especially fond of you. Her name is Valera and yes, that was my favorite line from the movie: The Shack.
I was driving to work early one morning with the girls – my two rescue dogs, Medina and L.E. As I passed a Valero gas station right across the street I noticed a skinny, medium sized dog dashing from customer to customer while they were filling their cars and trucks with gas. She ran up to each one, sat in front of them, and looked longingly into their eyes for their approval. Each and every one shooed her away. Some not as nice as others.
I went straight to my office and dropped the girls off and grabbed a bag of dog food. I circled back and searched for her. She was gone. Nowhere to be seen. I drove up and down for ten minutes. Nothing! Finally, I drove into the gas station parking lot and searched for her. I walked around but didn’t see her. As I was about to leave, she popped her cute little head out from under a dumpster. I poured some food out on the ground, called her, and clapped my hands. As soon as I did that, she darted out from under the dumpster, ran past the food, and jumped into my arms. Food is not what she was looking for. She couldn’t quit licking my face or wagging her tail. She was so dirty my hands and shirt were almost coal black. She had no collar and looked like she had given birth recently. She was just waiting for someone – anyone to acknowledge her. I put her in my truck and took her to the office.
I couldn’t keep her because L.E. would never accept her, so I let her rest up and then took her to BARC. She had no microchip and we vaccinated her. Obviously someone had dumped her at the Valero station. I visited her every day and after the third day, Rescued Pets Movement tagged her and picked her up. Unfortunately, they were short of fosters at that time so Valera went into boarding.
A few days later I was heading to the ranch so I left the girls behind and picked up Valera on the way out of town. She was super happy to see me but was as sick as can be. She had a wet cough and, well, I was wearing a white shirt and every time she sneezed, she decorated it. I decided she needed antibiotics right then before it turned into something worse. I stopped in San Antonio at a twenty-four hour emergency clinic. A little Doxy goes a long way…
We got to the ranch and I fed her. She was very hungry. I gave her a bath. She was just filthy. And guess what? She was house trained, walked great on a leash, knew how to sit, and shake. And she was smart. I watched her study everything and master whatever she set her mind on. That night she just lounged around. She was so stopped up, she snored. I went to sleep and she jumped up in my bed, lay down right beside me, and never moved. We were connected. She was sick for three more days until the Doxy kicked in.
Quote from The Dudley Files: When a human rescues a dog, an instant, unbreakable bond is formed. It is as if they have known one another their entire lives. This is what our relationship was.
Unfortunately for me, I would not be her human. But I know she wanted me to be. And we had to come back to Houston. I asked my co-foster friend, Faith, to foster her since I did not want her going back into boarding. Faith never turns me down. She’s just amazing like that. I try not to ask often. But this time – it needed to be done.
Everything was going fine until Faith called me a few days later and said Valera was getting bigger. Yes, I screwed up. She hadn’t had puppies, but she sure was going to. I took her to work with me a couple of times during the day and one Sunday I was volunteering at BARC when I got the phone call: “What are you doing right now? Valera is in full labor. You need to come here now.” I heard Valera wailing in the background. It was horrible! I got in my car and drove 100 mph. I got there fast. My adrenaline was pumping like a wide open fire hydrant.
Let me just say that witnessing puppy birth is the most beautiful thing and disgusting thing, all at the same time. Thankfully a Rescued Pets Movement Vet Tech joined us. Otherwise Google was going to deliver these pups. She had three and we thought she was finished. When we came back an hour later, two more had magically appeared. Faith named most of them after gas stations since that’s where Valera was found. Gully for Gulf. Moby for Mobil. Britt for British Petroleum, Suni, for Sunoco. And then there was Twink, for Twinkle Toes. He had a small white spot on his toe that looked like a star. Sadly, Twink never really caught on and didn’t make it, bless his soul. The other four were fat and happy. And boy were they the cutest things ever. Moby had Mama’s colorings.
Today, Valera and her pups transported to 2 Blondes All Breed Rescue in CO. They will have outstanding lives. A little better than living under a dumpster. I’m not going to lie, I had become especially fond of Valera – a gentle, loving soul who wanted nothing but to please you and stick like glue by your side. I’ll miss her and never forget her. And if I had to do it all over again, I would. I would stop and pull her off of the deadly Houston streets. Would you? I bet you would. And you know what? I would be especially fond of you for doing that. So would the precious dog you saved. Just for his or her entire life.