Light snow was falling through the freezing fog, adding another layer to that already on the ground. The weeds along the road were bent with their ice coatings as Alan Borland walked dogs from the Humane Society of Redmond on Monday, December 6.
This volunteer had already walked five different dogs on this route, not two hundred yards from the shelter. Now, with Nala, a dog he had escorted along this path like the others many times before, something was different.
The black pit bull mix was pulling him toward the ditch. Because the dog had been at the shelter for eight months, Borland knew she was good on the leash. But today she was different. Nala refused to respond and kept tugging in the direction of the frozen weeds. Following the dog’s lead, Borland went into the ditch after her. Nala led him to a frost-covered black and white ball of fur.
“I thought he was dead at first,” Borland said. “He had ice balls on his feet, and he was really filthy-looking.”
A closer look revealed a cocker spaniel that appeared to be clinging to life. Borland pulled Nala back to the road and rushed to the shelter for help. The cocker was revived and identified. He was Chadwick, a blind resident at the shelter until his adoption a month earlier.
Somehow, a week earlier Chadwick had gotten away from his new owner’s property two miles away. Somehow, he survived a week of bitter cold and snow until he almost found his way back to the shelter. Somehow, even though five other dogs passed by without notice, Nala didn’t and Chadwick was saved. Chadwick has been returned to his owner.
Nala is a heroine! (Alan Borland is also a hero! He had the good sense to pay attention to what Nala was telling him.) The story circulated quickly through central Oregon and beyond with many expressions of admiration and interest. But a month after her feat, at least at this writing, Nala has not yet been adopted.
For those involved in dog rescue, the reasons seem clear. First, despite looking much like a lab, she is a pit bull mix. Second, she is black. Third, she doesn’t get along well with other female dogs.
Nala is not in danger of being euthanized, but she deserves a “forever” home. She needs a human who understands pit bulls and doesn’t have female dogs.
I have lived with dogs long enough to be suspicious of anyone who says they know what these creatures feel and don’t feel, or know or don’t know. My suspicion is that they know more and in ways that as humans we can’t imagine. Unlike any other animal, over thousands of years, dogs have been bred to be companions to humans; it is now, quite literally, in their genes.
I saw a bumper sticker on a car that read,
“Being kind to animals will make our whole world a better place.”There are a lot of things that we can do to make the world better, and I believe being kind to animals is one of them. Nala and other canine friends are ready to help us, if we just pay attention.