Tuesday, August 2, 2011


This is the story of Chasin' Dreams (aka Dexter, aka Scrappy... now Chase, for short). It's about a little rescue from Arkansas, but really, it's the story of hundreds of thousands of dogs, albeit, without the storybook ending. No one knows for sure how Chase started his life, but we do know that he ended up on the streets of a small town – more specifically, a highway. While he was busy surviving, my Jack Russell’s candle was slowly fading. I was consumed with sadness over Cazador's illness, and his inevitable finale was a certainty. As happens to man’s best friend, they go, but their spirits stay.

Such was the void of his physical being gone that I found myself looking for him in the faces of other Jack Russells online. Instead, I found thousands of the breed in need of homes. No big surprise there, as the Jack Russell should only land in homes where he will be understood and loved for the energetic, fun-loving clown he is. If I could have, I would have, but I couldn’t, so I didn’t adopt the thousands I saw… but I did find one little dog… Chase.

A series of inquiries, applications, vet approvals, heart-to-hearts, rejiggings and winter storms later, the deal was done! Chase was mine and on transport from Arkansas to me and my husband. 

All I knew about him was that the police had picked him and a companion stray up off the highway and delivered them both into the loving hands of a caring Arkansas foster mom who partners with a devoted virtual shelter to find northeastern homes for southern dogs... The Little Pink Shelter, a story unto itself.

Bits and pieces put together paint a picture of an estimated 2-year old little dog that was likely left to fend for himself and his buddy… that became skilled at stealing food… that apparently dodged some beatings, not to mention18-wheelers… that found shelter from frightening storms who knows where… and that ran like the wind when he needed to. It also appears that Chase lost his voice when his vocal chords were partially removed. He was lucky, though. The people or person who he once thought were his family were actually kind and thoughtful – they didn’t shoot him. After a month with his foster mom, he was adopted by a second family who subsequently (and thankfully) returned him to his foster mom -- seems he was too much trouble. 

Chase, a presumed Jack Russell mix (although based on some behaviors, I believe he’s really a purebred Border Collie) arrived with some surprises. The biggest one being that opening my heart to him did not mean closing it to Cazador. There’s plenty of room for a dog that needs a family, or is it… a family that needs a dog.

He worships his big sister, Meadow, who has literally shown him the ropes. He walks in the City as if he’s been doing it all his life. He is my husband’s constant companion, if not, sidekick. His bark, (man)made unrobust, is heard by us who speak for him. He is honey-sweet yet guarded when it comes to strangers. He won’t ever have to steal food again or worry about a tennis racket doubling as a weapon. And when the inner Border Collie in him comes out, so does his leash. Smart as can be, he’s onto the word, C-O-U-N-T-R-Y. Come Fridays, we have to spell it out in our household. Saying it out loud triggers uncontrollable excitement before we head out to, hmmm... you know where. He taught us and continues to teach us life lessons that one never seems to get right: 1) that which doesn’t kill you, will only make you stronger, 2) patience is a virtue, and 3) family and home are priceless.
There are hurdles yet to be crossed,  but thanks to his foster mom and the virtual shelter – oh, yes – and the two cops who found him – one cold, stormy Saturday in February of 2011, Chase made it home. He fits right into our lives, one in which our dogs, past and present, are at the center.

Below... the much loved and missed Cazador


Seven Gates Farm said...

I love stories like this; just precious. I just love people who love their pets and I can tell you do. Your beloved Cazador looks like my Jack Russell, Potter, exactly. We have 3 Jacks and you are so correct, it takes a special home for these little clowns, or is, little devils? Chase is one lucky dog. Debi

The Country Cardinal said...

Thank you Debi. From one Jack lover to another, "You can never have enough Jack Russells." They are like potato chips. Cazador and Potter are definitely look-alikes. It feels nice to see him in Potter's expression. We were blessed to have Cazador for 16 years and now we're blessed again with Chase. Your 4 dogs are great!

Velva said...

Cheers to Chase your new furry family member. Loved this post. Thanks for sharing this story with us.


Mallu said...

So beautiful. I think there is a huge audience of children interested and fascinated in learning about Chase's adventures in survival. There are a lot of life lessons to be learned here, including but not limited to: the physical and emotional consequences of animal cruelty, responsible dog ownership, patience, resiliency, loving wholeheartedly despite imperfections, and the fulfillment that a pet brings to your life. Remember Carl the rottweiller? Write a book. Do it for Cazador.

for the love of a house said...

What a fabulous story... written so beautifully and with such love. I am so happy that you all found each other! What a lucky little fellow, and so happy he has Meadow (who is a beauty and looks so sweet) to show him how it's done!
You saved him, and he saved you from your sadness in missing your dear Cazador. I am so sorry for that loss.
I think you both won the "puppy lottery"!!!

Thank you for sharing this story and for adopting a rescue dog.

joan (and ella too!)