Saturday, July 2, 2016

Shy Dog in the City

One dog that I fostered was an escape artist. It was an obsession; but she would return of her own accord in a day or two.

In her previous life, she lived semi-feral in a remote community in northern British Columbia. For eight years, she eluded periodic 'shoots' in her the community. It was the way they cleared out unwanted dogs. Her luck ran its course and she would have been done but for a local resident who scooped her up along with her pup and drove many miles to a rescue organization.

She was adopted into a loving home in Vancouver. However, living in a house with a fenced yard was not to be, and she escaped once again. This time she did not return.

The months went by and hope faded. I was sick about losing her.

Three years later, through serendipity, I discovered she was living as 'the golf course dog' at Musqueam Golf and Learning Academy in Vancouver. I was esctatic, and went to visit her and discover how this had come to be.

A golfer searching for a stray ball in the deep grass in a wooded area had found her. She was almost dead from starvation, but even in her weakened state, she would not let them catch her. One of the golfers took it as a challenge to befriend her. He left food for her everyday, and spent time talking to her while being careful not to intrude on her personal space.

It took about two months before she started following him. She waited for him in the parking lot in the morning and delighted in his company, following him as he played his round.  Her devotion to him grew into a love affair; he was her adopted human. However, she would not agree to get in his car and go home with him. He respected her choice.

Some golfers said 'a golf course is no place for a dog,' and wanted her gone. Eventually, they conceded that this relationship was destiny. Though they did not understand her pathological shyness, they allowed her sanctuary at the golf course.

She became the unofficial mascot. After golfing with her human in the morning, she was invited into the coffee shop to hang out with the guys. There was always a side of bacon for her.

Golfers brought their grandchildren to view her with the understanding that they were not to attempt to pet her or chase her. At Christmas, gifts were left for her. Various golfers regularly delivered 50 pound bags of dog food.

All the time, they wondered where had she come from, and why she was so shy.

Reuniting with her at Musqueam Golf, I exchanged stories with the golfers.  I explained where she came from, they explained how she came to be the golf course dog. 

"The Dog That Was Lost in Paradise" is the story of a dog that found the home she needed - one without a fence - and the community of golfers that gave refuge to a different kind of dog.