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The Totally True Story of Julie and Jack

Adopt-a-Pet weekend is coming in May. I’m a HUGE dog lover, and I’ve rescued quite a few over the years. My wildest pet-rescue adventure took place in 2009. It’s another crazy  “Julie-Story,” the kind only I get myself into. 

If you need a perfect example for “No good deed goes unpunished,” this deed is it.   Here’s what happened, best told through emails. Keep reading and you’ll understand why . . .

Wednesday 3/25/09    

Dear Friends:  Leave it to me to get caught up in a pathetic lost dog story… In a nutshell, I adopted this sad, little mutt from a rescue organization on Saturday. We brought him home, and within 30 minutes he ran out and vanished. The good news is that my neighbors have responded to my signs (I’ve put them up all over the neighborhood), and he has been spotted numerous times. The last sighting, as far as I know, was around 9 this morning:  I SAW HIM MYSELF!  A neighbor called to tell me he had just seen the dog wandering at the top of the hill. I ran up there, but I could not catch him, and I fear that he may head down to Crenshaw and get hit by a car. He’s small, fast, and nervous. Poor thing has trekked very far and been on the run for four days! I just can’t give up on him. Anyway, word of mouth seems to be working, and lots of people are looking out for him. Obviously, because he was here only a few minutes, he has no idea where home is. He doesn’t even have a name. Please forward this to your animal loving friends around Palos Verdes. Thanks so much!   Julie Brown, Dog Lover

I got many responses to my plea for help, mostly from friends shaking their heads in disbelief and promising to spread the word. But here’s one from a compete stranger:  “I think I saw the dog you’re looking for yesterday about 6:45 pm running down Crenshaw near Silver Spur. He seemed to be very aware and staying out of the way of the cars. I tried to stop, but he disappeared so fast. I sure hope he is found and is okay. He’s so cute.”                   The search continued . . .

Friday 3/27/09     To say he just slipped between my fingers is an understatement. Yesterday I got a call around 4 pm from a neighbor who had just seen him nibbling on the kibble in my own front yard!  I charged outside and saw him running up the street, so I jumped in my car and drove in the direction he had run. There he was, trotting around the corner. SLOWLY I followed, careful not to frighten him. He stopped and looked at me. I could have sworn he smiled. Then poof!  he was gone. Into a yard, down a trail, or over a hill. There are a million different hiding places around here. Time to get serious . . . I heard about “a guy” with a trap.  I called the “guy,” and he said he’d loan me his trap. I recruited Mark (husband) to go with me because I had to meet the “guy” that night behind a Denny’s in Carson. We went. We parked. We waited. A van pulled up and a guy got out. Mark rolled down his window. The “guy”  looked like a drug dealer – straggly hair, tattoos,  shorts and flip-flops in 50 degree weather. He peered in and said, “You Julie?” And I said. “Yeah.” And Mark said, “Got the trap?” And he said, “In the van.” And I said, “Mark, you get it; I’ll wait here…..” or something like that. Anyway, we made the exchange. Mark and the guy started chatting, so I got out to see what was taking so long. Mr. Trap-owner was actually very nice and wanted to give me explicit, detailed instructions. In fact, he would not shut-up. Then he introduced us to his two “sweetest in the world” pit bulls. Ok, time to go. Mark gave him a twenty for his trouble. As soon as we got home, I set the trap out in the front yard. When I got up this morning, I held my breath and crossed my fingers and went to check the trap. Inside there was . . . a raccoon.  So that’s where we are. Tonight I will try again with different enticements. No doubt I will catch another raccoon or a skunk, possum, or grizzly bear. I’ll be up early tomorrow (Saturday) morning to begin another search.  If anyone wants a nice morning walk, be at my house at 7:30. Please keep spreading the word – it’s the only way I will find him!  When this is over, I’m going after the Lockness monster….          Julie Brown, exhausted dog lover

Again, a flurry of responses: Here’s a good one with sensible advice: “Having had this experience a few times, if you do catch a skunk, throw a plastic tarp over the cage first so the skunk won’t see you coming. Then open the door and back away, trying to stay out of sight. The skunk will eventually exit the cage, and you may have avoided being sprayed. Even if it does spray, the spray will stay on the plastic and won’t stink up your house and yard.” And my favorite: “Julie, it appears that you are seeing this dog everywhere now. I think you should name him “Elvis.”

And the search continued . . .

Saturday 3/28/09    UPDATE ON LITTLE LOST DOG:  Last night we went to the Black and Gold Affair (fundraiser for our High School Booster Club) where at least a dozen people asked if I’d found the dog. I said no, but that I felt sure we were closing in on him. And I was feeling lucky. With that attitude, I bought a raffle ticket for a pair of diamond earrings. When I lost the raffle, I figured my luck was all spent on finding little doggie. When we got home around midnight, I checked the trap (duh), put in some fresh food, and went to bed.                                                                                                                  The second I awoke, I ran outside to see what might have transpired during the night. As I got closer, I could see the trap door was down. Certain I’d caught another wild beast, I approached slowly and looked inside. YES!!! There he was!  As cute and filthy as could be!!!  It was my lucky day!  Done!  Finished!  I got him!!

I decided to name him Jack because he looks just like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s dog in Little House on the Prairie, my favorite books when I was little. I got Jack securely settled in the backyard (keeping him away from my 3 boxers) and double latched the gate. He ate voraciously, lapped up a whole bowl of water, and promptly fell asleep. At noon, the groomer came and gave him a great haircut, bath, and flea-dip. And she gave me a nice discount. Now clean, clipped and content, little Jack is back asleep in the crate on our patio. I keep checking on him, like he’s a brand new baby. I’m going to try and lay low for a while –  getting too old for so much excitement. Thanks for all the help, encouragement, and great emails! Love, Julie, Crazy Happy Dog Lover

Update – 2017: When all the dust settled, Jack and my 3 boxers didn’t get along. He ended up in the home of one of my dear friends where he has lived happily for the past eight years. I can’t even imagine what he endured during the weeks or months he lived on the streets – his life before he was rescued and landed in his forever home with a family that loves him.

 Every stray animal has a story – where they came from, why they’re homeless, who abandoned them – it’s up to us to give them their happy ending

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