Alex the Dog was rescued or saved by Pat. One day she heard a dog crying outside our door. She opened the door and found this half-starved puppy, 2 or 3 months old, crying for help. She touched him and immediately had fleas jumping all over her hands. She took the pup into the kitchen and found some left-over’s in the fridge and fed him. Since he was so miserable from the fleas, she put him up in the sink and gave him a bath with dish washing soap. Then, she put the dog in the garage, gathered up the kids, and went to the store and bought dog food and flea soap. A can of dog food and another bath and the little guy was stabilized to the point where he could settle down and take a nap.
Over the next couple of days, Pat talked to the neighbors about the dog and determined that he must belong to the man at the end of the block. His house was set back from the street quite a ways and in his back yard he was raising fighting dogs. The current litter was half Pit Bull and half Rhodesian Ridgeback. I don’t know what the rest of them looked like but the one that escaped and came to us looked more like a Rhodesian Ridgeback or a German Shepherd than a Pit Bull. He grew up to be a fair-sized dog and had a handsome face, unlike most Pit Bulls.
After 3 or 4 days the man that owned the dog showed up at our door. I was at work so Pat told me what happened. The guy demanded his dog back. Pat asked him why and pointed out that he didn’t care of the dog and it was covered with fleas and half starved. The guy said he had to keep them hungry so they will fight. Pat told him that this dog wasn’t going to fight. Again, the guy demands the return of his dog. By this time, Pat was sick of him and says “You are not getting your dog back and if you don’t get out of here I’m going to call the cops and tell them what you are doing with those dogs down there!” The guy takes off and Alex became part of the family. He protected the kids, protected our home, and was the smartest dog we ever had. Once in a while he was too smart for his own good and got himself in trouble.
In these animal stories I’ve tried to come up with at least one anecdote to illustrate that the animal showed a certain amount of reasoning or developed an idea and acted on it. Alex was a “thinking” dog. He figured out all kinds of things like how to climb over a 6 foot chain-link fence. He looked like a man climbing a ladder and when he got to the top he took a couple of seconds to get his balance and then simply jumped off.
We had moved to the outskirts of El Cajon. It was a quiet suburban area and people let their dogs roam free. Alex had a bed in the garage and that’s where we put his bowls for food and water. We usually left the back door of the garage open so he could go in and out and get a drink or take a nap. One Saturday, Pat and I were going to go get groceries so we gathered up the three kids and closed up the house. Alex was in his bed in the garage so we left the back door open but gave him a lecture about taking a nap and staying out of the street. He had been chastised for this many times and he knew what the words meant.
We had an outing and picked up the groceries we needed and headed for home. As we made a right turn onto our street, we looked down toward our house which was the fourth one down the block, and saw Alex out in the middle of the street. He looked up and saw our car and high-tailed it for the house. He rounded the corner of the garage and disappeared into the back yard. I pulled up into the driveway and got out and opened the garage door so we could carry the groceries straight into the kitchen. The first thing we saw was Alex in his bed. He stood up and stretched like he was getting up from a nap and came toward us all bright-eyed and with his tongue hanging out and what looked like a big grin on his face. We weren’t fooled for a minute! Pat lit into him with “You lying dog! You weren’t taking a nap…you were out in the street, weren’t you?” Alex got kind of a sheepish look on his face, hung his head, and proceeded to slink back into his bed. BUSTED!
Unfortunately, Alex never learned his lesson and refused to stay out of the street. One day he took up with the neighbor’s female dog and when they went running on the highway, both were struck and killed.
August 31, 2014