Dog Day Detour

Since I covered sex and religion in my last two posts, I thought I would switch it up a bit and attempt another RDC prompt. Don’t worry though—an upcoming post is dedicated to plastic women with big boobs.

This week’s Red Dress Club assignment is to write – fiction or non-fiction – about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?

red writing hood

With a phone interview in 10 minutes, I was almost home when a dog on the street brought my thoughts back to Earth. Skin and bones, a soiled white, the ragged Pit Bull stood as a stark contrast to the neighborhood.

I slowed down my truck. She slowed down as well.

I looked at the clock. She looked so confused. 

First lesson: Think with your heart and not just your head.

This dog was obviously dropped off on our street, callously left to fend for herself in an unfamiliar territory.

She didn’t know this. I did.

Pulling in the closest driveway, I got out and realized I had nothing I needed. No collar, no blanket, no leash.

She didn’t know this. I did.

Second lesson: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I did have dog treats and something that resembled a leash of sorts in the backseat of my Blazer, but with no collar I was forced to get creative. She must have sensed my good will, or the opportunity for free food, as she was sweet as could be and cautiously approached me.

Her nails were jagged and long; her delicate face was soiled and scratched, eyes filled with a look of confusion and hopeful trust; her ribs jutted out like prison bars.

I gave her a treat.

There was no struggle when I threw my makeshift collar/leash around her neck and led her to the truck. I dropped the hatch and spent the next five minutes trying to convince this dog that jumping into the back end was the plan.

She didn’t know this. I did.

After hefting her front paws on the tailgate, I was able to boost her massive frame into the back. I gave her a treat.

Off we went.

Third lesson: Homeless dogs will not be content being shoved in the back of a Blazer—and they stink. A lot.

Three seconds into the journey, my canine companion decided to fling herself from the back of the Blazer to the passenger’s seat.

She wasn’t into sticking her head out the open window on her side, but she was into sticking her head out the window on my side. Nails digging into my legs, dirty hair shedding across my lap, the makeshift collar doing nothing to restrain her.

We eventually made it to the Humane Society, where after some paperwork she was turned over to the competent staff that would eventually clean her up, trim those nails and prepare her for her new life.

Fourth lesson: There are still people who understand that life happens—usually to me at the most inopportune time.

I drove back home and prepared myself for the call in which I had to explain to a prospective employer that I missed our phone interview because I was detoured rescuing a homeless Pit Bull from the not-so-mean streets of northwest Grand Rapids.

I didn’t think giving her a treat would work.

She understood. We rescheduled, most likely under her assumption that even if I was making up the story, those creative powers could be editorially harnessed and come in handy on the job. I’m not sure.

Either way, I got the job.

The dog got a home.

Detour taken.

Lessons learned.

29 responses to “Dog Day Detour

  1. Chills. YOu are the best. So selfless. And the story was beautifully written as always.

    Ironically, two not last sunday, but the one before, my girlfriend and I found a dog crossing a huge street in Palm Springs on the way to our last meal together before I had to drop her off at the airport. There was to be no lunch.

    It was not as simple as your story- being a sunday and not wanting to return the dog to an owner that was loving, yet irresponsible. Many, many phone calls and dead ends followed. We turned him over to the “no kill” shelter- great! But turns out they turned him over to the “kill shelter” b/c we found him in their jurisdiction. Not our plan. Anyway, the owners DID come to get the dog. And after many calls to both shelters so that they could send someone out to educate the owners on how to prevent further breakouts I was pretty much tapped out.

    My girlfriend and I had hoped that “Spunky” would have been adopted by two loving gay guys and spent the remainder of his days cruising in the Benz convertible wearing a Prada windbreaker, but sadly, that was not meant to be. I hope he’s still alive. I’m sure he got out again the very night he got home. Makes my stomach literally do triple axles.

    Love you


  2. Abby is this a true story? So sweet and heartwarming, you are such a good writer!

    I like where you are going with this RDC thing…

  3. What a beautiful story. Good lord girl! You have a giant set of balls to put a pit bull in your car like that. Ever since I was attacked by a rather large dog, I have minor panic attacks when dogs come near me while they are leashed!

    I wish there were more people out there like you (and the cheeky cat above!). It inspires me to be more proactive.

  4. This warms my heart! Way to take charge.

    I’ve taken many detours in life, voluntary and involuntary. They have been the experiences that have taught me the most.

  5. I love that! We are definitely kindred spirits, girl. If only the rest of the world was as great to our furry friends. They bring more joy to us than people can. 🙂

  6. You should have given your future employer a treat. I bet cheesecake would have worked. Or something with goat cheese. Or a goat cheese cheesecake.

  7. What a awesome story. If only more people were more like you and more caring and compassionate about animals. I can definitely see why your employer hired you. That kind act said more about you than any resume or piece of paper could have. Your story gave a warm and fuzzy feeling tonight. 🙂

  8. I loved this post. The format, the lessons, the detour, the full heart, the full circle. Well done.

  9. I like the imagery here with things like, “ribs sticking out like prison bars”. Great and sweet story.

  10. Great story. So glad you still got the job

    Stopping by from TRDC

  11. Yea! I’m a sucker for a good dog story. So happy that everything worked out. This is such a good take on this prompt, I spun myself in circles on this prompt and gave up.

    Also, I definitely saw the religion post, but somehow missed the sex post…have to go read that right now!

  12. You are a very good person for getting that dog somewhere safe. And congrats on the job!

  13. the not-so-mean streets of northwest Grand Rapids.

    I loved that line- reminds me of the only time I was in Grand Rapids. It was August of 1990. I think that we went to bar called The Tunnel or something like that.

  14. Yay! I love happy endings! And I love that your good karma paid off there. Such a fun read :o)

  15. I love the meeting and then the parallel happy endings, I’m assuming that the dog was adopted by someone else?

  16. What I liked about this story was the pace and consistency. I liked how the lessons led into the story and that they fit perfectly. I liked how you went back and forth between what you knew and she knew and that these to one lines.

    What I loved is what you did for this dog. You knew you would miss the interview and yet, that didn’t stop you. You only saw the dog and that she needed help. That makes you a very special person in my mind.

    I’ve adopted countless dogs and cats over the years. My current dog is fifteen, blind and more or less deaf, meaning her ability to hear depends on whether you’re fixing her food or calling her for a bath:~)

    Thank you for this story and thank you for saving that dog! Have a great weekend.

    • Thank you for stopping by Sara! Rescues are the best. Right now our 16 year old cat sounds a lot like your dog, meaning she has selective hearing (if any at all,) one tooth but the biggest heart ever. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  17. I’m sobbing. What a fantastic thing you did for that dog. I’m not going to lie, I’m even more impressed it didn’t end up at home with you. Doesn’t it kill you that someone could just leave a living thing out on the street? I’ll never understand. Then again, I pray for road kill. Beautiful story, Abby.

    • We already had our own rescue dog and cat at home and I volunteered at the Humane Society, so I knew she was in good hands. And for the record, roadkill makes me cry more than things that “should” make me cry, if that makes sense. No apologies either.

  18. I love this story. I could picture everything, including what you felt when you saw her in that street and knew what you had to do. Good job. And the person who had the smarts to hire you did a good job, too.

  19. Before I even comment…
    GRAND RAPIDS??? You are local to me? I am in Holland, but I work in Wyoming and GR!


    I loved this. I loved the structure, I loved the details, I just…loved it.

    I loved the repetition of the lessons that you used, as well as the line “she didn’t know this. I did.”

    This paints you as having a big heart…maybe unwillingly so, but also unavoidably so.

    I really loved this. In case I didn’t mention it.

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