The cold wind rattled the window near my chair as
I sat at my desk, going through bills that needed to
be paid. I was thankful I didn’t have to go outside
in the nippy air. The forecast was for a hard freeze
that night. It was a good day to stay indoors. Suddenly,
a sharp rap on the window startled me. I looked up to
see my husband peering in. He gestured for me to come
outside. With a groan, I stood up and slipped on a jacket.
I would have preferred to stay where I was, nice and
warm, instead of venturing out in the chill.
I found my husband talking to our friend, Tony, who
is an animal control officer. They stood next to Tony’s
truck where there was a break from the wind. I was about
to suggest that we all go indoors when my husband pointed
at something lying in the back of the truck. I stepped
closer for a better look. It was a small terrier, emaciated
and dirty. He was shivering in the cold. His eyes were
matted and he had several bite wounds that were infected.
picked up this little stray today,” Tony said.
“He’s in pretty bad shape, and I don’t
think he’s going to make it…” I leaned
over and whispered, “Hey, sweetie.” The
little terrier stood up on shaky legs. He squinted at
me and slowly wagged his tail. I gasped, because it
was then I realized that it was a wire fox terrier,
the same breed as our dog, Tell. That was as far as
the resemblance went, however. Tell was healthy and
well kept, but this fellow was in such poor condition
that his future was uncertain.
felt a tug at my heart when I heard my husband say,
“My wife wants him.” Tony seemed to hesitate,
as if he weren’t sure we were prepared for the
task ahead of us. As he handed the dog to me, I was
surprised at how feather-light the little body felt.
I murmured my thanks as I hugged the dog tightly and
first order of business was to fill that empty tummy.
I poured a bowl full of dog food, and turned around
to see the dog’s ears perk up and his attention
on the dish. “Nothing wrong with your appetite,”
I said with a smile as I watched him eat with gusto.
After licking the bottom of the bowl, he curled himself
on some warm blankets I laid out for him. In a few moments
he was fast asleep, exhausted but no longer starving.
that afternoon, shampoo and towels in hand, I gave him
a bath. Layers of dirt and debris were rinsed off, and
his bite wounds were cleaned. As I unbuckled his soiled
collar, I realized this was someone’s pet. How
unfortunate that he had no identification tags to help
locate his owner.
a second bowl of food was gulped down, the terrier snuggled
in his blankets for another nap. I told my husband,
“He’s bright and alert, eating well, and
I think he’s going to make it.” My husband
seemed skeptical and warmed me that we still had a long
way to go before this dog was healthy again. In spite
of his warning, I went to bed happily thinking of a
name to call our little guest. Tell was named after
a Louis L’Amour character. I hoped another character’s
name would be a perfect fit. I decided we would call
him Cap after the feisty little cowpoke that befriended
the Sackett family in so many L’Amour western
next morning, a happy little dog with a terrible case
of diarrhea met me. My husband asked, “Just how
much did you feed him yesterday? You know, you almost
killed him with kindness.” He gave a chuckle as
I cleaned up the results of my “kindness”.
I couldn’t help myself, I told him. Poor Cap had
looked a little hollow and needed filling out. I vowed
to feed in moderation after that episode, and I have
to think Cap agreed with the new menu.
took things one day at a time, and Cap slowly began
to put on weight. His wounds healed and hair began to
grow back in bald places. One day I noticed I couldn’t
feel his ribs or hipbones anymore, and that hollow look
was gone forever. After several weeks of searching for
his owner with no results, we decided that little Cap
was here to stay.
course, Tell was ecstatic to have a companion to spend
time with. What could be merrier than a wire fox terrier?
I have to say it would be having two terriers in the
house. Double the trouble and twice the fun, that’s
their motto! Whether digging holes in the yard, treeing
squirrels, or raiding their toy box and scattering squeakies
through the house, those boys are busy sunup to sundown
with their mischief.
morning, I looked out the kitchen window at Tell and
Cap romping in the yard. I felt a surge of pride in
my two beautiful little terriers, well groomed and wearing
matching collars. I hope that if the unthinkable happens
again, they’ll both be safely returned to their
home with the help of their ID tags. I know it only
takes a second for one to slip out the door or gate,
and they’re off on a great adventure that could
have disastrous results. I love my guys and want them
to be safe always.
my husband walked up behind me, he asked, “Any
idea what you want for your birthday this year?”
I considered my pair of mischief-makers that have brought
so much joy into our home, and a husband that knows
my heart. After a moment, I turned to give Cap’s
angel a hug and tell him I already had all I could ever