Lucy Jensen

He became quite the character of sorts, a fixture on the rather rough and tumble Nestles Road in Soledad, surrounded by rough ground and abandoned buildings. If you happened to pass by during the latter part of an afternoon, you might see him sitting by the gate waiting, waiting. But what was he waiting for?

My English friend was sitting shot gun at the stop light when she caught sight of him and grabbed her camera. “You have to rescue him!” she said. “He’s so beautiful!” When she left us to return home, she would keep asking me about him and whether there were any updates. I explained to her that many rescuers had tried and failed to catch him and that a loving community made sure he was fed and watered daily. I sent photos to her of the many sightings that were posted online.

However, whispers started to grow into urgent growls in the social media corridors of animal rescue. Why could no one catch him? He needed his own loving home. Many a wily local rescuer with warm chicken in the pocket tried to approach him. It wasn’t good for a local character to be such an institution on our lonely local byways and yet to be so alone in the world. Various people advised that they were giving him food and water and had been doing so for months. Was that what he was waiting for every day; or was he simply awaiting his wretched former owner, long gone? Chows are known for their enormous loyalty, in some cases, obviously unfounded.

Then the big guns of rescue were called in, or they called themselves in — not sure which. Hope for Paws came up from Los Angeles and they were in for the long haul. They would not be leaving without the Fox Dog. The local caring person — we will call her Claudia, because that’s her name — met the rescue group at the scene. She had been feeding Gogo — or Fox Dog in my world — for about six months and had her sidekick called Whiskey that used to go along with her on the daily feed run. Whiskey’s owner had passed away a few weeks ago, and, sadly, the owner’s son didn’t want his mother’s dog.

Not knowing exactly what to do, the lovely Claudia took her in, and Whiskey would go along with her and help to feed Fox Dog. This came to be an important part of the rescue. How do people not make provisions for their beloved pets? That really is something to consider, fellow animal lovers! Just as your children will likely not want many of your lifetime treasures, they may not love all your furry friends the way you do. It sends a chill through the heart to think of my beloved critters abandoned and alone in the world. Note to children: some of your inheritance will be going toward their certain care, just to be clear.

In the movies, the rescue animal is so grateful to his rescuers that he runs into their arms, gives them lots of sloppy kisses and puts his paws around their necks. In the real world, it takes a lot longer to win the trust of an animal that has been surviving out on the streets alone and afraid, living only by his senses. I loved the image of the LA rescuer, local superstar Claudia, Whiskey and Fox Dog-a-Go-Go all sitting in the grass and Go-Go enjoying some treats; but — not so soon — he wasn’t about to just surrender himself immediately to their care.

He had become used to those abandoned buildings and daily feeding ritual in Soledad. It ultimately took a trap to stop him slipping away, which startled him temporarily, but he was not fearful for long and licked the fingers of his capturers within a few minutes, as if he instinctively knew that they would take care of things from there; he would be alone no more. And there was also Whiskey close by and Fox Dog knew that she was to be trusted.

He was now safe with the animal rescuers; but what of Whiskey? Claudia explained to the Hope for Paws crew Whiskey’s situation, and — joy upon joy — they were happy to take her along too. What a heartwarming sight it was to see their safe arrival in LA and watch the two friends bounce around after their baths and groomings. Whiskey had certainly earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Foxy Dog-a-Go-Go looked as if he was going to be just fine. Having participated in many a dog rescue in my time, it is rare to see an animal as happy and relaxed as he was that day.

I sent the YouTube video of the rescue to my English friend, and I honestly think I made her day. “I want to immediately rush to LA and adopt the pair of them!” she gasped. “I can’t stop watching the video.” And I have to say it did make better watching than most of the daily news. You find yourself grasping onto happy straws, glimmers of hopefulness in the world wherever you can find them. And the chow story captured many a heart. The fabulous Fox Dog-a-Go-Go and a lady called Whiskey. I have no doubt that they will soon be homed — hopefully together — and will no longer know fear nor hunger.

Hope for Paws is a nonprofit organization and can be found at hopeforpaws.org. If you would like to see this delightful video of their immense accomplishment in our small town, you can find the video on YouTube. You can also learn about important after-your-life provisions for your pets at their website. And, naturally, you can also send them a well-deserved donation.

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].

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