There was no YouTube video posted. No eyewitnesses on the evening news. No great outpouring of community support. There was only the email that came into Aprill’s inbox with these lines:

Someone had called the shelter regarding two dogs: one had gotten hit by a car (German pointer) and the other dog wouldn’t leave its side (this girl). They had to euthanize the pointer due to its injuries.

And so began our part in the story of Liana, foster setter #2.

When I arrived at the animal hospital in Fayetteville, I didn’t know what to expect. The place was chaotic, more like an emergency room at midnight than Mallard Creek, the best, most professional veterinary practice in the world. (I’m not biased.) What I was introduced to was an extremely malnourished little dog – about 29 lbs. on a frame that should carry 45. She came into the room on a leash, and immediately into my arms. A leaner. She had matted hair behind her ears and back legs, and smelled of flea dip. “She was covered with fleas and ticks – so we had to dip her” I was told. She had been spayed earlier in the day, too – so she was a groggy, stinky, skinny little mess.

And she was without her friend – the friend who’d been my her side, and whose side she would not leave.

I don’t know what it’s like to be on the run. I’ve never been there. I’ve always thought it was the result of choices. Poor choices. On the run was the place for miscreants. Troublemakers. Wrongdoers. I don’t know what it’s like to have no food, and to not be able to find any. I don’t know what the separation of night and day looks like when there are no anchors like place or benchmarks like meals.

But maybe not. Maybe sometimes on the run is the result of circumstances out of one’s control. In a dog’s case, it just got lost. Wandered off. Or was abandoned, or taken somewhere and let go. I am sure of this. Liana is not a miscreant, troublemaker or wrongdoer. (Well, she does like to jump up on the bed sometimes – so there’s a little miscreant in her). She is pure sweetness. All good. No bad.

Aprill gave her her foster name. Liana. Youthful guardian.

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