Though ABANDONED was the topic of the Weekly PHOTO Challenge, I thought it was a good topic for my writing blog.
When I was a child, we never had to buy pets; they just showed up. Strays and abandoned cats and dogs seemed to see an invisible sign on our door that said, “welcome.” Some stayed with us, some were found homes elsewhere, and some unfortunately did not survive the crazy busy street we lived on. I have written previously about my cat, Breeze, who just showed up one cold November morning and after some manipulation on the part of my brother and I, in cahoots with my father, became part of the family.
But today I wanted to write about a couple of abandoned dogs that were found: Trash and Freebie. I think their names tell you how they were acquired.
Please excuse the quality of this scanned photo; it’s quite old and the only photo I could find of a dog who didn’t live with us for very long. The little boy in the picture is my youngest brother.
My father worked at the town dump and recycling center for a time between jobs. One day he noticed that one of the trash bags dropped off seemed to be moving and making a noise. With further investigation, he found an adorable puppy. The puppy came home with him that night, and my father dubbed her, “Trash.” Not a particularly flattering name, but believe me, my father had a heart of gold and wasn’t trying to give the puppy psychological problems. Unfortunately at the time we already two dogs and a cat, too many children and not a lot of money. My mother said Trash couldn’t stay. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for my father to find “Trash” a home with someone down the street. I never knew what her new name became or saw her again, but I was happy that she was saved and had a home.
Years later my father found another puppy that he dubbed with an unequally unflattering name who ended up living with our family and becoming a beloved pet. Freebie’s story began this way: my father was working temporarily out in California; my mother and younger brothers were living out there with him. One day my father came across a German Shepherd-mix puppy tied to a pole on a street in California. The dog was thin, but friendly. My father checked around; no one knew who she belonged to or where she came from. As my parents and brother were due to drive back home to Massachusetts within a week and they couldn’t find her owner, they decided to take the puppy with them. My father’s thinking was that someone who would leave her tied to a pole on a hot day in the city didn’t deserve her.
And so she was dubbed “Freebie” and traveled across the country from California to Massachusetts. She initially was my brother’s dog, but as he was in his late teens, he soon moved out, unable to take Freebie with him. But he still paid for her food and visited with her. Freebie contracted heartworm when she was only 3 years old, but my brother, managed to scrape up a few hundred dollars to save her life.
Meanwhile she had become very attached to my father. My father would go for walks on the acres of land that he owned at the time and be gone for a while, but my mother knew how to get my father to come home. She would say, “Freebie, where’s Earl?” Then she would let Freebie out to go and find my father. Whenever she showed up, he knew it was time to go home.