My Friend The Stray

Hello Mark.
I live in Holmdel New Jersey and I have had two dogs as pets in my life. I have had a number of other dogs that I have met and cared for over the years that greatly touched my heart and it is one of those stories I wish to share with you.
In September of 2004 I was working as a truck driver and heavy equipment operator for a landscaping contractor. While on one construction site I noticed a stray dog. She was very shy around people and would not let anyone near her. I asked one of the workers on the site about the dog and he said she had been in that neighborhood since at least March of 2004. My heart broke for her. March of 2004 in New Jersey was especially cold and snowy, not to mention the rest of the time she was out on her own.

After I was done with work that day I went to McDonald’s and bought her a couple of hamburgers. When I put them out for her she would not come within 50 feet of me to get them. But I was determined to help her and make friends. I fed her for the next 5 months, bringing her cold cuts and fresh water almost every day. I would like to say I didn’t miss a day, but I can’t. That still bothers me now, that due to illness and other circumstances I was not able to feed her for approximately 10 days over a 5 month period.

When I first started to feed her I called animal control and the SPCA to see if they could help. My goal was to get her off the street before the cold months set in again. I had a 16 year old Cocker Spaniel at the time and could not take her in after I gained her trust. But I couldn’t just abandon her either, as I’m sure someone else did. After several calls to the Middletown Animal Control and attempts to get them to meet me on the site, I realized they were useless and it was up to me to get her to the SPCA.

So I kept feeding her. I took two weeks but she finally ate from my hand.
Over the next five months it was the highlight of my day to slowly drive threw that neighborhood and then suddenly, see her running after my car to our feeding spot. In time she became a little more trusting, but never so much that I felt comfortable enough to attempt to put her in my car. As the winter set in I became concerned with her surviving the cold. One resident in the neighborhood even put out a dog house for her with blankets inside, but she would not go in it. However there she was everyday running after my car through the snow banks to our feeding spot. Until one day she just wasn’t there anymore.

This had happened occasionally before and I would leave her food next to her water bowl and it would be gone the next day. But this was different. Days went by and there was no sign of my friend. I tried to look on the bright side of what could have happened. I called the useless Middletown Animal Control to see if they finally took her to the SPCA. They didn’t have a clue. I went to the Tinton Falls SPCA with the pictures of her on my phone. She wasn’t there and they had not heard anything about a stray dog in that area of Middletown. From there I went to the Eatontown SPCA, again there was no trace of my friend.

When I was about to leave I began talking to the the man who runs that shelter. I told him the story and showed him the pictures. He told me to wait there a moment. After he made a few phone calls he came back and told me there was a happy ending. I wasn’t the only one in the neighborhood that was feeding her. There was a Veterinarian in that area that adopted her. In retrospect it makes sense. A few times she was not interested in Ham for dinner. I was wondering what was up with that. Now I know.

John from NJ