When Ann Raupers lost two of her five dogs to old age, she decided that her pet family would remain downsized. Three were plenty, she felt, but when a beagle was dropped off in their back yard, her family made room for one more so she was back up to four: Rosie (the drop off), Jake, Katie and Ruby (all beagles). Those, along with the three cats that had shown up in her back yard and subsequently adopted the Raupers’ household, were a full house. Such were Ann’s intentions, so when she spotted a dog by the side of the road on her way home from work one day in May, she tried to shrug it off as a runaway that would return home when it was ready.
That night, Ann was awakened by the crying and howling of a dog in the woods near her home and she hoped it wasn’t the same dog that she had seen. But her hopes were dashed when she sighted the same dog walking up the road near her house the next day. This time Ann got out of her car and called to the dog, a young black and white collie/shepherd mix, but it ran away into the woods.
Again that night Ann could hear the far off cry of a dog wailing loudly nearby. Her neighbors were now telling her that they also heard the dog and some were feeding it, though it wouldn’t let them near. Someone reported that it had almost been hit because it was hanging out so near to the road and that made up Ann’s mind. When she caught a glimpse of it lying in the stream near her home, she decided it was time to do something.
Loaded up with dog treats, and with her beagle clan shut inside, Ann went forth to have a chat. She found the dog still in the stream, whimpering but afraid to let Ann near, in fact she would growl if Ann got too close. With patience that only an animal lover can understand, Ann spent almost two hours talking to the frightened collie/shepherd and tossing it treats to bring her in closer and closer. Finally, the dog permitted Ann to pet her. At this point, Ann had to chide herself! In her haste to find the dog, she hadn’t thought to bring along a leash! She tried to talk her into following along with no luck, so back to the house Ann went, to retrieve a leash and try again. This time the dog was willing to let Ann close to it, and with the leash on, Ann guided it back to her car. To Ann’s surprise, when she opened the car door, the dog jumped inside!
Back at her home, Ann gave Libby (whose new name just popped into her head) a check over and discovered that the pads of her feet were raw and bleeding. Libby had been running up and down the dirt roads (looking for her owners?) for so long that she had blistered all her paws. This is why she was sitting in the stream, crying and howling her dismay where Ann found her. Ann tried putting ointment on her feet, but Libby began to lick it off so she tried wrapping all four paws in socks that she taped on. Interestingly, Libby was OK with that and allowed the socks to remain on while her paws healed.
Ann tried to find Libby’s owners by advertising in the local newspaper, but when no one stepped forward she contacted Happy Tails Rescue for help. Happy Tails agreed to help Ann locate a new adopter and applied a grant received from Pedigree towards having Libby vetted and spayed.
At this point Ann laughs, because by the time a potential adopter was found, Libby had bonded to Ann and Ann to Libby, and that was that. “How do you turn away a dog that takes your slippers and sleeps with them when you’re away from the house?” says Ann.
Happy Tails Rescue was pleased to agree that Ann and Libby have become forever partners. Throughout the interview session it was obvious that Libby adores Ann. She stayed close beside Ann and laid down to sleep, tucked against Ann’s feet. Perhaps Libby was abandoned once, but she never intends to let that happen again. “Five seems to be the winning number in our household,” says Ann with a smile, and I swear Libby looked up and smiled at that too.