About 10 days before my 53rd birthday, my son, Ryan called me to say he had found a dog and was bringing it home. I told him, "DO NOT BRING HOME A DOG!!" I'm pretty sure I screamed it several times.
He insisted that he needed to bring home this dog for me to look at. I thought maybe there was something wrong with the dog and he wanted my to look at it to see what it was. I'd had some anatomy training, and I figured that's what he'd been thinking. I thought I'd look at the dog, figure out what could be done for the poor thing, then send it on its way. I already had a dog-my beloved, elderly 70 lb. Dalmatian, Lucky-and I did not have room for another dog. Not in my house and not in my heart.
When he pulled up in the driveway, I was waiting on the steps. I didn't want the dog in the house, and I wasn't sure how Lucky would react. She didn't have the best track record with other dogs. I also wasn't sure if he'd have to carry the dog to the house if it was really disabled.
Ryan opened his car door and out popped this tiny gray-brown ball of hair. My first thought was, "Is that a Rabbit? I thought he was bringing a dog!" It ran up the sidewalk to me and placed its front paws on my knees. My second thought was that there was clearly nothing wrong with this dog, and as I stared into its bright, brown button eyes, my third thought was that this dog wasn't going anywhere and now, I had two dogs. Lucky ambled out onto the steps, gave the new dog a few sniffs and looked at me if to say, "oh, look, another cat". Lucky loved cats and anything that small had to be a cat.
On closer examination, it became apparent the dog was badly matted. It had long tangles hanging from it like dreadlocks. I told Ryan it looked like a Pirate-like Captain Jack Sparrow's dog. I started calling it Jack as I got out the scissors and started cutting away the matted tangles. I now wish I'd gotten a picture of what she looked like before I cut them off, but I didn't think about it then.
Ater the dreadlocks were all cut off, we discovered Jack was a girl dog! I kept calling her Jack, though. It just seemed to fit, somehow.
It was then I discovered something terrible! Jack was covered head to toe in fleas! I had never seen an animal with that many fleas in my life. The poor thing must have been being eaten alive and for quite awhile to be that infested. I immediately popped her into the tub to try to get rid of the worst of the fleas. I shampooed her up good and she hardly made a protest at all. Lucky hated to get wet and would have been shaking and carrying on by this time. It was obvious that Jack had been used to getting bathed and groomed at some point. As I started to rinse her off, I made another startling discovery. Jack was not a brown and gray dog. I yelled, "Ryan, I think this is a white dog!" Sure enough, by the time we were done with the bath, Jack was a beautiful, sparkling white little girl! What a delightful shock! And, she was so exhausted and trusting, that she fell asleep right there on the bathroom rug when I was drying her. I thought to myself, this dog knows she is home. And, she was right.
I took her to a groomer to get rid of the rest of the matting and the fleas. The groomer shaved her down in what she called a "start over" haircut. She looked great but so much smaller than I thought. The groomer said she was a mix between a poodle and a Maltese, a Maltipoo.
I then took her to a Vet to see if she had a microchip and make sure she didn't have any health issues. The Vet said she was about 2 or 3 years old, so not a puppy, and she had no microchip. We called the Animal Shelter to see if anyone was missing a dog, but no one claimed her. The Vet even put her on Facebook and I did, too, but no one ever stepped forward or even knew anyone whose dog she might be. She stayed glued to my side throughout all this as if to say "We belong to each other now. I am yours and you are mine." And, when we lost Lucky a year later, I was doubly glad I had Jack to come home to and give me comfort.
She has been my sidekick and companion while writing the Weird & Wacky Planet series. She is still Captain Jack Sparrow Carr, but we just call her Jack. She is most definitely one of my favorite Weird & Wacky Creatures!