And the plot thickens.
We were walking along and walking along and walking along, when all of a sudden a pack of barking dogs burst out of a grassy patch between corn fields. Although they made a ruckus, none of these mutts was brave enough to actually approach – except for one. An Aussie mix came running right up to us, wagging her little stump of a tail and wiggling her butt in excitement. She ran right up to Kait and licked her hand, dropped to the ground and submitted her belly for rubbings. After countless spastic barking dogs, this submissive little dog was a change of pace. Even Grace, who is notoriously short of patience for dogs who run up to us along the road, barely even reacted to this new pup. We have had a lot of strays run up to us in the last 1300 miles – but this one was different.
We kept walking, and the little girl followed us for a couple of miles. She was all wiggles and positive energy, and she made it very clear that she was coming with us. The poor thing was dirty, malnourished, and completely covered in ticks. She was collarless. We had no doubt that she was not being looked after, or she wouldn’t have been in such rough shape. After a brief debate and a search for some rope, we leashed her and kept walking.
Before we started the walk, Kait had talked about fostering a rescue dog and training them along the trail so that they could be adopted out. Up to this point, we hadn’t felt able to take on the added responsibility of another dog – but this one chose us. We do a lot of pet therapy work, but we had been searching for a way to advocate for rescue animals, and here she was.
As we were walking and thinking about what to do with her, her name popped into my head.
“Her name is Jenny.” It was the most beautiful name I could think of.
We made it to the main square of Corydon, and introduced Slater to our new trail friend. We decided that if she was going to come with us, we needed to get her to a vet and get her up to date on vaccines. As we were talking, a woman walked up and said she had seen us on the news. She offered us a donation, and when we told her about Jenny she recommended the Corydon Veterinary Clinic.
We jumped in the car to drive her up to the vet north of town. They also function as the atea’s shelter, so if anyone had been looking for her they would know. When we arrived, they were waiting for us with paperwork ready to go. Apparently, the woman we had met in the square had called ahead and told the vet to bill her for everything Jenny needed. Tracy White, I wish we could thank you. Kait held back tears as we went through the checkup. DVM Carrie Byerly took excellent care of her, and told us that with all of the ticks and worms she wouldn’t have lasted much longer without us. She got treated for her many ticks, and the little monsters started to fall off almost immediately. We grabbed her a collar and leash on the way out, and we were back on the road.
Carrie offered us her yard to camp in that night, and her husband Nate even cooked us dinner. Jenny spent her first night in the vestibule of our tent, and she curled right up and slept.
She has now been with us for five days, and she is doing an amazing job. She has a very well-balanced temperament, she’s full of affection, and she is showing amazing adaptability to our ever-changing situation. She even tagged along to a therapy visit in Leon – we had planned for Slater to babysit Brown Dog and Jenny outside, but the staff old us to bring them all in with or without verifications. She is bug-free and clean, and ready for anything. Kait thinks she would make an amazing working dog – therapy, search and rescue, maybe even a guide dog.
Jenny has definitely charmed us – she’s the kind of dog you don’t come across very often. Now we just have to find her the right home.
…If we can let her go.