Parker County Today December 2016 - Page 106

Continued from page 4 DECEMBER 2016 PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY After returning, Taffy’s first visit after the groomer was with Willie tember she got a call from a rancher near Cross Plains. He had Taffy. She’d wandered onto his ranch wearing the same collar and tag she wore when she left Patricia’s home in July. The rancher had called the number on the tag and someone in the vet’s office gave him Patricia’s phone number. Patricia called Taffy’s new owner several times before the woman called her back. She’d gone out of town for a few days and apparently, Taffy got bored, got out and wandered off. She called and promised she’d retrieve Taffy immediately. The last time Patricia spoke with the rancher, he’d connected with Taffy’s new owner and she was coming to get Taffy. Patricia has since moved out of the assisted living center, “It was just too confining.” She’s now sharing a home with her daughter, visiting her husband every day and working full-time from home with her daughter in the business she and her husband started together a couple of decades ago. Life was going relatively smooth, for someone married to a dementia patient. Then came the Facebook post and avalanche of vicious phone calls. Patricia immediately called Taffy’s new owner but she never answered. Her granddaughter contacted Taffy’s new owner’s granddaughter. She said she was busy on a business trip and had no idea. Repeated inquiries through Facebook, resulted in a picture posted of the dog’s tags and picture of the dog, along with the addition of Patricia’s correct name. Patricia knew the dog was definitely Taffy. 104 The most stressful part for her was thinking of Taffy on a deer lease out somewhere in Brown County, drenched with rain, starving, frightened and surrounded by ravenous coyotes. Patricia’s daughter sent in a complaint to Craigslist and to Facebook. The posts were taken down but any hope of getting more information from him was also gone. “I didn’t even know where Cross Plains was until I Googled it,” she said. Repeated efforts to reach out to the Great White Hunter got no response. Patricia and I became friends as I tried to help find her dog. We called each other several times a day. Through cell phone records, she managed to dig up a phone number for the rancher that had contacted her in September about Taffy and called him. No answer. She left a message. Days passed and Patricia was frantic about her dog. The only comfort was knowledge of how well Taffy dealt with coyotes while on their farm. “But, she’s older now, so maybe not.” Patricia called me on Friday, afternoon. The Taffy drama had been going on since Monday. Patricia still sounded stressed but more hopeful. She’d heard back from the rancher. He had Taffy and she’d been with him since the end of August. The woman who had given Taffy her “furrever home’ had never retrieved her after they spoke in September. He told Patricia that she was welcome to come and get Taffy. He and his wife had been taking care of her the whole time. He gave directions to his ranch. Patricia was going to get Taffy as soon as she could get someone to go with her. I pictured a human trafficking ring using lost dogs to lure unsuspecting women into either prostitution or sewing slavery. I’m pretty sure they’d bring me back on either count, but I called people. I told several friends that I was thinking about driving a lady I’d never met, to a place I’d never been to and retrieve an elderly dog I’d never seen from people no one knew anything about. Everyone said, “Don’t go. It’s dangerous.” I called Patricia and told her I’d drive her. I bravely canceled my appointment with my hairdresser. Patricia met me at the PCT office. We loaded blankets, garbage bags, dogfood, treats; water and a .38 caliber pistol into my car, and then began our journey to Cross Plains. I like adventure. We stopped along the way at a giant “travel station,” two counties away, where a large bus loaded with a lot of liquoredup young people were disembarking, I overheard them talking about how they were going to “tear up Cowtown.” Sounded intriguing so I asked one of them, an oriental girl with dreadlocks for details, but she sneered at me. Patricia called my name and led me to an open cash register. She said, “You’ll talk to anybody, won’t you?” We got our drinks and got back on the road, fast. When we finally found the ranch, the rancher and his wife were kind enough to meet us at their gate, since it had been raining and their driveway was “pretty rough.” They’d brought Taffy up on a 4-wheeler. They introduced themselves and apologized for Taffy’s lack of grooming. It had rained the day before and Taffy was a little disheveled but looked healthy and happy to see Patricia. She also seemed to be fond of the couple that had been taking care of her for the past couple of months. Patricia offered to pay them for their trouble. “She wasn’t any trouble,” he said, making it clear that he wouldn’t take reimbursement of any kind and that they were both fond of the dog. Taffy wagged. The woman gave the big white dog one last hug before Patricia put her in the car. It occurred to me that Taffy was the chubbiest starving dog I’ve ever seen. I said as much. The man said, “She came here at the end of August and we’ve been taking care of her ever since.” I asked about the woman who’d said she was coming to get Taffy, no time and date were specified. Time got away. He said, “I don’t know. She never showed up. We just kept feeding and taking care of her.” Why she never came to get Taffy remains a mystery. Maybe sometime months from now, she’ll show up to pick up Taffy and Taffy won’t be there. Things tend to move more slowly out here, I suspect. I watched the lady as Taffy got in the back seat of my car. She had tears in her eyes. I looked at Taffy. It may be my imagination but she seemed to look longingly at the pair, then she looked at Patricia and wagged. 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