Haiku for a Stray Puppy


The puppy I have named Hansel. So tired he just plopped down in the road to rest.

Is this what life is?
Alone, hungry and afraid?
No dear boy. Trust me.

I’m at my wit’s end. I rescue a lot of dogs. I have been involved in rescuing animals for years…actually decades (why yes, I could be that old OR I might have started rescuing dogs when I was five. Think carefully before you pick one…). This spring has been one for the record books. It seems that every time I drive anywhere I find a puppy that has been abandoned; left to fend for itself.

The mindset that allows someone to just push an innocent dog out of a car and then speed off is beyond my understanding. It’s the “he’ll find a good home in the country” mentality and I’m tired of it. I look at my own dogs–the ‘on purpose’ members of the household–and see happy, healthy, loving creatures that have never known a bad day in their lives. They live in a good world–as they should. Then there are my foster dogs who so very quickly learn to appreciate regular meals, soft beds, and kind attention. They are thriving.

Then I come across this little guy. He and two other pups…one likely his litter sister and the other a 10 month girl (I suspect their sibling from a previous litter)…have likely never known a good day in their young lives. By appearances, about all they have known is neglect, hunger, fear, and, as you can see here, exhaustion. They appear to have been on their own for awhile.


I’ve named them Hansel (lying down), Gretel (small black girl), and Cinder (bigger shepherd mix). You can see the ticks on Cinder’s face. I can’t wait for them to be clean and comfortable.

Yet all three dogs greeted me with wagging tails and soft eyes, licking their lips and holding their heads low in dog speak that says,”I’m just a little puppy, I mean you no harm. Please be kind.” That these pups could still have faith in the human race is testimony to their lovely temperaments.

And so the internal argument began.

Emotional Nancy stood in the road transfixed by the trust and anticipation shining in the eyes of these pups despite their scrawny, tick-infested condition. On the other side of the debate, Logical Nancy insisted that there was no place for these dogs to go.

You see normally, after a visit to our favorite veterinary hospital for a check-up and shots, I bring my foundlings home with me. I’m lucky that I live in the country where I can legally foster a number of dogs. However, this time, there is simply no more room at the inn. The giant dog house that Jim and I call home is already overflowing with foster dogs awaiting their chance to find permanent homes.

But leave some food and water and just drive away? No. Even Logical Nancy couldn’t do that. I would not be yet another human willing to fail to take responsibility for these dogs. So trying not to think about the hundreds of ticks on each little body, I lifted them into my nice, somewhat new Jeep (we killed the new car smell within days of purchase) and said a HUGE “now what?”

In my world, panic is the mother of invention. For now the trio is together, temporarily safe in a small animal shelter where a very kind employee (who said the shelter was actually closed, but come on in anyway) didn’t bat an eye at my dilemma.  I have never in my life had to take an animal to a shelter, but this time I had to wave the white flag, crying streams of tears as I drove away.

They didn’t understand my words, but I vowed to those puppies, scared in their new surroundings, that it was just for the weekend until I can come up with Plan B. There must be a Plan B.

Oh the hope in those eyes. I’m trying kids. I’m trying.

Note: If anyone in the Tulsa, OK area is interested in fostering or adopting one of these sweet dogs, please respond here. They deserve to know so much better.

2 thoughts on “Haiku for a Stray Puppy

  1. Nancy, I cannot comprehend a person who would leave a dog either. I don’t understand the mentality. I am grateful for people like you who are able to take them in or find a way to care for them. You work hard for them ~ I hope they all find perfect lifelong homes quickly.


  2. Hi Nancy,

    This is chris, your cousin Bill’s sister-in-law. (Susan is my sister.) I met you a LONG time ago when we were both about 25-ish.

    I love reading your blogs. You have no idea how much I appreciate your writing and all you do for the animals.

    Did these pups find a home? Please let me know. I may know of an excellent home in Minnesota that might work for one of them. Our “inn” is full also, but will be happy to help you look for homes for them. I may also have friends in San Francisco who might be able to take on one or more. Can’t stand the thought of a shelter but I completely understand.

    Bless you for all you do,

    chris halverson chalverson3@gmail.com 650-867-4775


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