Thursday, February 21, 2008

Boomerang: A Rez Dog Success Story

Boomerang & puppy
Boomerang and her pups.

One chilly, dark evening a few days before Christmas, I drove my van over to the horse corral for their evening feeding. Wellingtons and work gloves are kept in a small shed near the corral and as I stepped into the outbuilding, a low growl resonated from a dark corner. Halting mid step with my right foot suspended midair, I was brought up short by this unfamiliar sound emitting from my simple shed.

Slowly withdrawing my foot, I peered into the blackness, looking for the growl’s owner. A small brown and black head emerged, followed by a white, spotted body and a brown and black tail. Yep, this little sheepherder looked like a whole dog made from two separate dog parts. The overall effect was quite pleasing, however, with golden brown eyes looking tentatively my way, a dog smile emerging and a wagging tail to match; that was my introduction to Boomerang.

For the next few days, we settled into a routine. Feed the horses in the morning. “Don’t forget to take food for Boomerang!”. Feed the horses at night. “Mom, I used one of your horse blankets for Boomerang's bed.” With her warm ways and endearing doggy grin, her situation was somewhat more secure to the point that when we left town to celebrate Christmas with my family in New Mexico, arrangements had not only been made to feed the horses, but Boomerang as well.

Upon our return, the kids could not contain their curiosity at knowing if Boomerang was still with us. They donned their jackets and ran to the horses. An hour or so later, I glanced out the window to see Kira, Grange and our golden retriever, Buffy, returning with an extra passenger. Boomerang had taken her next step toward homeland security.

“May we keep her?” “She hasn’t had her shots”. “She is so cute”. “She is so pregnant”. That’s right, preg-n-ant. Evidently, Boomerang’s charms were not limited to human beings. Scratching her belly one evening, I noticed that not only had she previously produced a litter, but she was well on her way to a new round of motherhood.

The holidays had passed and we were off to a Phoenix wedding. Our Internet manager, Tina had agreed to horse and Boomerang duties, an increasingly important assignment now that we were looking at impending puppyhood. We left on Wednesday. Upon our Friday return, Tina informed us that Boomerang had disappeared.

By Friday evening, there was no Boomerang; nor on Saturday. Sunday afternoon, Grange came skittering down the scree behind the trading post with an “I Found Them” grin stretched across his freckled face. Once again demonstrating her resourcefulness, Boomerang had found a small den where the bluff meets the slope. Digging out the only working flashlight in the house, an illuminated skull left over from Halloween, we ventured up the muddy hillside. Boomerang gave us a tired, mother-of-quintuplets look. There were no growls as she let us move in and admire her hard work. A trail was soon worn up and down the incline. Kira, Grange and their cousin, Tarrik, beat a path to the puppies while Boomerang beat a path to our door for her twice a day feedings; beefed up to accommodate her lactating needs.

Boomerang's puppies
The puppies in their new home.

One quiet evening while in my bedroom, I heard a scraping sound outside. Bless Grange’s ever-lovin’ sweet and generous soul. My remonstrations on the toughness of strays in this area had absolutely no effect on his eight year old logic. I walked out on the porch to see Boomerang worriedly eyeing her puppies which had been left on a patio chair while Grange and Tarrik were heave-ho-ing the old dog house.

“Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow”, I spluttered. “I told you to leave the pups where they are warm and protected”, but that bovine had already left the barn. I hurriedly found some old towels and shuttled the shivering puppies inside. With momma and litter nestled on Buffy’s sleeping pad, Boomerang flopped on her side and heaved a big sigh of relief.

A busy week ensued between work and preparing for our 10th anniversary balloon festival. There were celebrations to plan, a video retrospective to complete, and a Bluff Balloon Rally limerick to write. On the Thursday evening before the main event, we held a reception for pilots and sponsors. Boomerang decided she had been a faithful parent and needed a little sanity break. Driving my truck to the Bluff Community Center, I looked in the rear view mirror to see Boomerang rocketing along behind me. She proceeded to endear herself with everyone present as she had initially with me and soon became the Belle of the Balloon Festival Ball.

The following morning at 6:30 as we drove away in the darkness, who should come galloping after us but Little Miss Canine Social Butterfly. Once pilots were briefed and flight crew were assigned, I clucked Boomerang into the truck and dropped her off at the house. “Now, darlin’” I said, “You need to think about staying a wee bit closer to home”. She merely smiled her dog smile and disappeared into the doghouse.

At noon that same day, I met with three women from Durango to schedule a knitting retreat. During the meeting, I was continually interrupted by phone calls regarding the rally, pages regarding the business, with the funniest interruption coming from one of the pilots, Rolinda “Sam” Tzamaloukas.

Boomerang at home finally
Boomerang at home, finally.

You simply cannot ignore Sam. She is full of good times and big wishes. “We want to see the puppies!” “Sam, I’m in the middle of a meeting right now. Why don’t you head up the stairs and have a look”. Not five minutes later, Sam again approached the table. “We want them all!” “What?” “We want them all, Boomerang AND her puppies”. “Are you serious!? They haven’t had their shots! One of the girls has six toes on her back feet”. “We don’t care. My crew wants to take them home!”

Boomerang earned her name because she kept getting thrown out and she kept coming right back. Resourcefulness, tenacity, a kind spirit and a sweet face resulted in a one way ticket to Tom and Julie’s home in Albuquerque. Now, that is one successful and lucky bunch of rez dogs!

With warm regards,
Georgiana, Steve, Barry and the Team.

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