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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
An abandoned dog gets a new lease on life.

Submitted: February 12, 2008

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Submitted: February 12, 2008



When my first baby was very small, my husband and I lived in the front half of a duplex in

Sacramento, California.  Our apartment was small, but comfortable.  I didn't have any pets

at the time.  Taking care of my infant daughter took up the majority of my time and effort,

so presumed that I didn't have time to take care of a pet.

All that changed one sunny afternoon when a pregnant female boxer appeared on my front

lawn.  She was white, but she had haunting blue eyes.  She was extremely malnourished.  She

wore a collar that was attached to a piece of chain.  At the end of the chain was a metal

stake that was covered in old dirt.  She had evidently pulled the stake out of the ground

with her formidable upper body strength.

The other thing I noticed about this dog is that she was EXTREMELY pregnant.  From the

bones sticking out from her body, it was evident that she hadn't eaten a good meal in a

LONG time, and her pregnancy was VERY QUICKLY going to come to an end.  The unborn puppies

were the ONLY factor that contributed to her rounded appearance.

The boxer walked across the street to an empty house.  She scratched and whined insistently

at the front door, as though intimately familiar with the place.  She appeared confident

that the owners of the house would come to the door and welcome her in.  They didn't.  All

that greeted her was the cold, empty sound of silence.  My husband surmised that the owners

of the house had moved and simply abandoned the boxer.  The animal was able to pull up the

stake and escape her captivity, maybe through a hole in a fence.

Her survival instinct told her that she needed FOOD right now, NOT the mere companionship

of her previous owners.  Her puppies could be born at any time.  This dog needed her basic

needs met -- in a HURRY.  

My husband whistled for the boxer and she walked back across the street to our duplex.  She

eagerly licked my hand, which was extended in a gesture of friendship.  I spoke softly to

her and petted her, increasingly concerned about her physical condition.

"She needs food and shelter, NOW!" Tom commented.

"Well, we could possibly buy a bag of dog food at the store and bring it back in a hurry,

but we don't have a doghouse available.  I'm worried.  She could have those puppies any

time.  We've got to help her."

Tom thought for a minute.  "Wait a sec.  I've got an old speaker box at the shop.  It has a

hole in it that's large enough for her to go through.  If we lay it on its side, it should

serve as an emergency shelter."

"Don't we have some old blankets at the shop, too?" I asked.  

We packed up the baby and drove to the store to pick up a large bag of dog food.  Then we

stopped at the shop to get the speaker box and the blankets.  We hoped that the dog would

still be around when we returned.

We needed have worried.  The dog was sitting on the front stoop as we pulled into the

driveway.  She sat at attention, watching traffic and looking from side to side as though

guarding the duplex.  Her tiny stump of a tail wagged as we stepped out of the little

yellow Datsun station wagon.

We wasted no time getting the boxer set up.  Tom pulled the big speaker box out of the back

of the wagon and, with my help, set it on its side.  I grabbed the blankets and laid them

inside the speaker box, fluffing them up into a comfortable makeshift bed.  Then I went

inside to find a couple of pans for the dog food and water.

At my gentle invitation, the boxer came shyly forward and began to eat the dog food.  After

a few tentative bites, she began to eat with more vigor.  Soon the pan was empty and I

filled it up one more time, just in case she needed more.  She ate a portion of the food,

but finally became full.  Then she lapped up almost a gallon of water.


Satisfied that she was finally full, I patted the side of the speaker box and the dog took

a cautious step inside.  She turned in a circle several times and laid down on the bed of

blankets.  I reached inside to pet her and she licked my hand as if to say, "Thank you for

saving my life".

I couldn't stay very long with the pregnant boxer, although I would have liked to.  I had

to get back inside and take care of my tiny infant daughter  From here on out, no matter

what happened, at least my conscience was clear.  I had done everything I could for that

poor dog.  Whether she stayed in the speaker box would be up to her.

I stayed in the duplex the rest of the night and got lost in the nightly duties of

mothering a small baby.  By the time I crawled into bed that night after laying Ariana in

her crib, I had almost forgotten about the starving animal who was guarding the duplex.

Late the next morning, I stepped out of the front door to check the mail.  I never made it

to the mailbox.  I was quickly distracted by the sound of high-pitched whimpers coming from

the inside of the speaker box.

"The dog!" I remembered.

I knelt down on my hands and knees and peered cautiously into the dark, makeshift maternity

ward.  The proud mother was breastfeeding a brand new litter of baby boxers!  I know

nothing about dog breeds, but I knew that those little newborn puppies were the prettiest

ones I'd ever seen!  Some were white; some were white with dark markings; others were

completely dark-colored.  They were all lined up in two layers, one row of puppies on top

of the other.  (One puppy, the runt of the litter, was a tiny male who couldn't fight his

way onto his mother's nipples often enough.  Unfortunately, he died a few days later.)

When I first counted the puppies, including the little runt, I counted fourteen!  My

goodness!  That was quite a litter!

I ran inside the duplex to tell Tom about the birth that had taken place during the night.  

What a relief!  Tom and I had helped the poor dog just in the nick of time!

I cried the first time I saw the mother dog come out of the speaker box after giving birth;

I could see every rib.  She looked like a walking skeleton, but at least now she had a

CHANCE to survive.

Over the next two weeks, the puppies grew fat and sassy.  I made sure that the mother dog

always had food and water, although I'm sure that most of the calories she ingested went to

her puppies through her milk.  

One night, we had a visit from the ASPCA.  A concerned citizen in the neighborhood had

noticed the dog and suspected Tom and I of neglect.  However, the investigators calmed down

when I explained the situation to them.  They took the collar, chain, and stake and

promised they'd try to track down the people who had lived in the house across the street.  

It could have been that they had abandoned the poor dog.  If so, they could face legal

prosecution.  Nobody knew for sure where the dog had come from, but at least it was going

to be investigated.

The agents wanted to get a good look at the dog to see what Tom and I were up against.  I

had named the boxer "Chance" after a character from "The Incredible Journey".  I called

her, and she ventured out of the speaker box to greet the two officers.  They perceived her

to be extremely skinny.  However, I pointed out that she had actually put on a great deal

of weight since she had had the puppies.  She didn't look like a skeleton anymore, just a

very skinny dog.  She could only get healthier from here on out, and Tom and I were doing

our best to nurse her back to health.

The ASPCA reps were satisfied with this and dubbed us rescuers instead of perpetrators.  

Chance was fortunate to have found us, they asserted.  

A week passed, and the puppies were beginning to explore.  They couldn't get out of the

speaker box yet, because the opening didn't start at the bottom of the box, so for now they

were safe.  Unfortunately, the front yard didn't have a fence, and the puppies would be in

danger of being hit by traffic when they became old enough to walk around outside.  I was

beginning to worry.

Fortunately, my fears were alleviated when Tom and I were visited by a lady who raised

boxers for a living.  She had noticed Chance and her full breasts.  She knew that the dog

was nursing puppies.  The lady had a large fenced-in backyard and offered to adopt Chance

and her thirteen babies.  She would finish nursing the mother back to health and find good

homes for the pups.

Since Tom and I were limited in what we could do for Chance and the babies, because of lack

of proper facilities, an agreement was made to transfer ownership of the canines to the

lady who could better care for them.  She picked them up a few days later.

I feel privileged for having had the opportunity to rescue Chance in her hour of greatest

need.  I can't help all dogs in her predicament, but at least Tom and I were able to put

meat on her bones and find her and the puppies a good place to live. 


As the truck pulled away that day to take Chance and her babies to their brand new life, I felt firsthand what

I'd always read in my Bible in Acts 20:35 (New International Version):  "It is more blessed

to give than to receive."

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