“Hola, perrito.” The scruffy little dog tilts her head from side to side. “Look, she’s listening to us.” She’s so skinny, we have to bring her food.
“Get the leash,” one neighbour calls out as we offer left-over chicken to the little dog.
“No, no,” we protest. “We’re just helping feed her.”
“Her name is Sally,” another neighbour who has been feeding her says. “Because of her big ears—just like Sally Field in The Flying Nun.”
Sally tilts her head from side to side listening, but won’t come near. We put the chicken down for her and back away. She approches cautiously and then wolfs down the food in one large gulp.
We bring out the vet. He shakes his head. “Don’t get your hopes up.” Sally, about seven months old, has lice, ticks, fleas, worms, and an eye infection. Up close we discover the true meaning of the expression mangy dog. She has bloody patches instead of healthy hair. The area under her chin and the front of her chest looks like one open wound.
One month of vet visits for anti-mange shots, daily eye drops and regular feeding, and Sally is in our yard experiencing the joys of grass and baths and doggie treats. Another month later and she’s brave enough to venture into our bungalow.
Two years later, she’s bilingual, an international traveller dividing her time betweenCanadaandMexico, and is our little granddaughter’s fiercest protector.