Today's Stray: Mansfield traffic puppy


A couple of thunderstorms rolled in this hot, humid afternoon just as Roo and I were getting back from her walk. This, of course, sent Roo into a panic and she ran off to hide under a bulldozer. There's nowhere for her to get hurt here, so I just kept an eye on her and waited her out. Luckily, it wasn't much of a storm, and she agreed to get in the car. She prefers the car to the camper in storms.

Whenever there are storms, I watch the radar on the phone, and as there were a few more on the way, I took her for drive. We crossed the border into Arkansas and at a busy intersection in the town of Mansfield I saw a pickup truck swerve to avoid a small animal. It was so small, and was balled up on the street from having been frightened by the truck and the other traffic passing it that it took a moment to realize this was a tiny puppy. The tip off was how clumsily the puppy stumbled when it got up just as another pickup nearly squashed it.

Roo and I happened to be right at the turnoff into a supermarket parking lot and I stopped the car close to the puppy and started running into the street to get all the bastards who were more interested in beating a red light than not running over a puppy and got out and called in a voice as high as I could make it.

The wake coming off another passing pickup seemed to blow the puppy towards the verge, and when he heard my voice over the diesel exhaust, he made a beeline for me. I scooped him up and walked around the area to see if anyone was looking for him, but no one was. 

At first I assumed the puppy had been dumped there, and maybe he was, but maybe not, because he's in pretty good shape. On the other hand, he's so young that it was probably his mother keeping him so well-kempt. I brought him in the car. When Roo saw that this was just a dog of some sort, she was on the displeased side of uninterested. To be fair, she had recently been running around in humid heat, then scared by a thunderstorm, and now the disappointment of my bringing into the car what might have looked tantalizingly like a squirrel from a distance but turned out to be nothing but a puppy.

It was well past 7 PM, and so there was nothing to do but take the puppy back to the campground with us. I wasn't going to pack him off to jail too fast, anyway. He wanted to crawl up next to Roo, but she wouldn't permit it. Those of you who read my recent story of the dog in the clouds might remember the way Orville, when I picked him up to bring him home when he was seven weeks old, cried most of the way in my lap until I balled him up and stuck him in my fleece jacket. This little guy cried and cried. Eventually he slept, but he was as upset as you'd expect a puppy to be.

When we got back to the campground, Roo was friendly to him. She's not exactly in love — she's of the puppies-should-be-seen-and-not-heard-and-not-seen-unless-you're-specifically looking-for-a-puppy school. But she thought he was mildly amusing.


By the time he came inside, he was exhausted. He had probably gone much longer than a guy that age can make it without sleep, and then all sorts of strange things started to happen to him. Lost, alone in a big world he didn't even know existed, playing in traffic, being blown around by trucks, scooped up by a gorilla, enclosed in a capsule and driven to another planet. He took a look around, started chewing on a whisk broom, which I took away from him, then he tried to nestle up to Roo, but she gave him a look, and I imagine, a little growl that I couldn't hear over the air conditioner. 

I had just taken my hiking boots and socks off and he started chewing on one of those. Before three seconds were out, he bunched the sock up and went to sleep on it. I posted his picture online and wrote this. Some of you helpfully answered my question about what to feed him. He just slurped up a couple of tablespoons of softened kibble, which put him in a terrific mood. He began to think of the night as young. In gratitude, he took his first indoor pee where it was easy to clean — up on the vinyl dinette seat — a full and satisfying pee that livened him up some more. He decided it was time to try chewing on Roo a little. She didn't mind until he grabbed a mouthful of her flank in his needle teeth and hauled back on her as hard as he could. She gave him a good growl that was completely appropriate. After that he walked over to the water bowl and forgot himself and sat down in it and then wondered how his tail got wet. I put him back up on the dinette seat and played with him. He's got a set of those little paws with the unused black leather shoeleather on them. Naturally he gave me a couple of bites. I had to tell him that would be a worse habit for him to pick up than chewing tobacco, but guys that age don't believe anything if it's just some old fart telling them.

So, here he is. In the camper. I've posted him to the Arkansas Lost and Found Pets Facebook page, and maybe that'll get him home, if he has one. If not, I'll figure something out. In the meantime, he's teething and desperate to chew on something and I have nothing to give him. I have to figure out a way to pen him overnight so he doesn't finish the job of destroying this camper that the Amish con artists who built it began the minute they stapled it together.

He sure is cute. He's just a little baby and acting like one. Dinner revved him up, but fortunately he's back to sleep. What I wouldn't do to have a crate on hand for the night, though. 

Please don't start with all the advice about how I should keep him. Roo and I live in a minuscule camper. There is no room for another dog. I can't raise a puppy. He's not staying with us. Even if I'm more tolerant of puppies than Roo is.

I'll try to post some video of him, but the cell connection here isn't up to it now.