The barking and wailing has stopped. She just wanders our street, often stopping to sit a half-block away at the corner. She slinks away if we approach.
Sometimes she circles through several yards, but she usually ends up back near the corner. She’s waiting and looking – looking for her puppies. But they’re not coming back.
Mama Dog, that’s what Jenny and I call her. She may have a name; she may even have a home. But much of the time, she’s at the corner.
She’s a beautiful black-and-white dog, maybe part border collie. She has been around our neighborhood for months. But because our neighborhood borders farmland, we never think much about seeing a big dog out and about. I even thought I had seen her wearing a collar and a red kerchief.
Lately, though, she had been spending a lot of time around a neighbor’s new shed, one that sits slightly off the ground in the back. We were pretty sure she wasn’t their dog. Still, she’d sit, and occasionally bark at people walking down the street. (We weren’t very concerned about that, either, because our dogs bark at anything moving on their street.)
But Thursday night, we realized something was wrong, or, at least, changing.
The animal-control officer’s truck was parked at the neighbor’s house, and he was out by the shed. The black-and-white dog was barking and wailing and racing around and around. She was making so much noise that several of our neighbors came out to see what the commotion was about.
Soon, the dog catcher had a pole, fishing puppies out from under the shed and carrying them one by one to the cage in the back of his pick-up truck. The black-and-white dog kept barking and wailing, but she was careful to stay out of reach.
After a while, the dog catcher left in his truck and all was quiet. But later that night, when I took our dogs outside at bedtime, I saw the black-and-white dog sitting at the corner. When she saw me, she moved away into the darkness.
Jenny and I feel sorry for her, but we don’t really know what to do. We already have taken in three dogs that needed a home. We don’t have room for more. And we don’t have a fenced yard, so a big dog sharing our home is not a possibility.
But Mama Dog is back every day. Even Saturday, the day that it rained most of the day, she was making her rounds, up and down the street, back and forth through the yard, searching the neighborhood. We’re not even sure that she sleeps.
A neighbor has put out a water bowl for her. And we have tried to help a little. Jenny suggested I take some Milk Bones down to her corner. I’ve done it several times. Mama Dog moves at least a half-block away, but as soon as I walk away, she comes back for the Milk Bones.
And to wait and watch.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.