To Feed A Dog: Part Three

I sat on the  passenger’s side of the van, staring in disbelief as the door to the trailer opened slowly inwards, a pale hand clutching the knob.  A middle-aged woman appeared and leaned on the door frame. Her right foot was encased in a cast.

I hissed, “There’s somebody there!” to Sugar, and he looked up, one sole of his shoe still with dog poop on it.

Let me say here that Sugar is one of the shyest persons you could ever meet.  We were so busted, sitting right in this woman’s driveway, and rather than slamming the doors and speeding away, Sugar stepped up to the plate, so to speak, and hit a home run.

Sugar:  Oh, hello, maybe you can help me.

Woman:  Hello.

Sugar:  Does Mr. (insert random name from his mail route here) still live here?

Woman:  No, nobody by that name has ever lived here.  This is my place.

Sugar:  Oh, he used to live over there (waving his hand Miz-Florrie-style), but he told me he was moving over here.

Woman:  No, nobody lives here but me. Sometimes my nephew stays here.

Sugar:  Oh, okay, thanks.  By the way, is that your dog?  He’s a nice dog.

Woman:  No, that’s my nephew’s dog.  I can’t get around so I can’t take care of him.  Sometimes he needs food and water, but I can’t do anything about it.  My nephew comes and goes.

Sugar:  Okay.  Well, thank you.  Sorry to bother you.


Well, this was awkward.  So apparently someone DOES live here, someone without a car who is unable to get the mail out of the box.  But she didn’t recognize Sugar as her mail carrier.

The next part of the plan became to visit the dog on Sunday mornings, and when Sugar was on his mail route, he thought he could stop perhaps on Thursday afternoon.  It was a long time for the dog to go without proper food and water, but it was the best we could figure out.

So on Sunday mornings, we went into stealth mode.  We drove slowly down the dirt road, so as not to stir up much dust, and we drove by the trailer to the next driveway, which was where this whole dog episode started.  We backed in the driveway of the abandoned trailer, which incidentally was now sporting a bright green notice that back taxes were due on the property, and slid open the back right door of the van. There at the ready were a container of water and an already-bagged-up bag of food.   Sugar would grab the food and water, walk across the yard, down into a drainage ditch, and back up the other side of the ditch to where the dog was tied.  If the food bowl was not there, he simply dumped food on the ground. We didn’t want it to look like someone had been there, because people don’t always take too kindly to others tending to their business, crappy as though it seemed.  I set the timer each time to see if he was shaving off any time during the process.

As time went by, he noticed the the blinds on that corner of the trailer were being left up.  If the blinds were up, he did not stop while on his route.  Sundays seemed safer because we were parked on the next driveway, and there were lots of trees between the vehicle and the trailer.

When Sugar would drive by on his mail route, the dog recognized his truck now, and would bark and prance happily when he drove by.  One day the dog broke loose somehow, and ran after his mail truck, barking and wagging to the end of the dirt road and back.  Sugar heard a man call after him in an effort to get the dog back, and he learned that the dog’s name was Bruiser.

At some point this has to come to an end.  I was driving my car, a bright yellow jot of color, like we had convinced ourselves that we didn’t need to be seen in the same vehicle all the time.  I had pulled into the driveway just past the trailer, and Sugar slipped through the trees with food and water.  He came hustling back in a panic and said that he’d been caught. He got as far down in the floor as he could get, and it looked like I was just out and about on a Sunday drive.

I started the car, and attempted to back up when the car died and I had to start it again.  Fortunately, the engine held that time, and I puttered on past Bruiser’s trailer, where two men in hunter’s garb stood on the front deck.  I looked at them, they looked at me, and I kept driving.  We were on solid pavement before Sugar crawled up out of the floorboards.

Not long after that, Sugar reported that Bruiser was gone.  We never saw where he was turned in to the shelter, so maybe the nephew moved away for good and took Bruiser with him.

And we hope that, if only for a brief moment in his shabby life, Bruiser knew that he was loved.


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4 Responses to “To Feed A Dog: Part Three”

  1. Linda T Says:

    You all are very brave when it comes to taking care of the animals. This makes me a little sad since we will never know how Bruiser’s life went after he left but at least for a while you made him happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ruthrawls Says:

      Sometimes the things that can make us happy are so simple. It can be that way with dogs, too. Food, water, and a tad bit of attention. The first day we were there, he stopped eating, came over to where I stood, and put his face against my thigh, and leaned into me while he looked up at my face.


  2. Jan Wilberg Says:

    Dang. That is quite a story.You have a lot of pluck to do what you did.


    • ruthrawls Says:

      Thank you, Jan, that is high praise indeed. Sugar is worried that I posted this story, but I’m pretty sure that nobody who could slap a trespassing warrant on us actually reads this blog. I surely don’t want the ACO coming to my workplace again.


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