Rachel walked by this chain link fence five days a week morning and evening on her way to and from the metro. Never fail, the German Shepherd mix chained to the dogwood tree barked and wagged its tail. The bowl, supposed to be providing water, was upside down.
This was enough. The temperature was already below freezing with snow predicted tonight. The dog had no protection.
She seethed as she opened the gate, but tamped down the anger before carefully approaching the dog at an angle the way the rescue group had instructed. She held out her hand. The dog licked it and then play-bowed.
The house door opened.
“Get out of my yard,” the balding man with a paunch yelled. He caught a glimpse of her face. “You again. I told you to leave the dog alone. She’s my dog and none of your business.”
“It’s too cold out here for her. If you can’t be bothered taking her inside, I’ll take her.”
“This is abuse.”
“I’m calling the cops.”
Rachel seethed. “Go ahead. I’ve documented the abuse. I have pictures.”
The man thundered toward her. For a moment, Rachel felt fear. She didn’t think the dog would ever hurt her, but this man, probably a bully all of his life, could.
Immediately the dog growled and bared its teeth. Rachel glanced down, expecting a bite, despite her previous self-reassurances. Instead, the dog was focused on the man who instantly halted. She saw his fear. This was why the dog was outside.
“It’s stealing,” he said again.
Rachel opened her wallet and removed all of the cash, roughly eighty dollars and thrust the bills at the man.
“The dog will attack you,” he said.
“I don’t think so, but consider it no longer your problem.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
And, the dog, realizing she was starting on a new path, also leveled two barks at her former master before following the woman to whom she pledged immediate loyalty. The liver treat in the woman’s pocket didn’t hurt either.