If only a dog could talk...

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On Feb. 13, 2021, I saw a dog in the ditch near our home. I stopped and called out for him, but he turned and ran, not fast and not far but wanting nothing to do with me…for sure! Well, I left but of course was concerned for not only him, but I knew the owner of this elusive fella must also be concerned and looking for him. I made a couple of calls to some local neighbors who I thought may have a Blue Heeler like this.

The next several days continued with sightings, and I sought out the help of social media via Facebook. This is where the story starts getting intense. As you may recall, some of the coldest days of winter were hitting the South Dakota landscape, and concerns and “shares” on Facebook were spreading like crazy!

I would see “Bob” almost every day. We called the dog Bob, as we thought that name would work if it turned out to be a male, and Bobbie would work if our new friend was female. I would stop and call out for Bob but always was met with skepticism. Interestingly, Bob set up home in a bunker silo used for some storage for hay bales and a camper. It looked like home with the atmosphere of the “camper home” and a perfect place for Bob to nest into the loose hay by the bales and lounge on top of the bales on a sunny afternoon.

I felt pretty disappointed that even though I brought Bob quality canned food and fresh water, he wouldn't let me get close to him — I just wanted to be his friend.

Now keep in mind, all this time the post for help on Facebook was going viral with thousands of views. And in fact, on Feb. 16, all the way from Alpena, S.D., the original owner, Jodi Kobold, contacted us with the most sincere concern for the dog whom we now find out is named Hooey. (I was really liking the name Bob by now!) She came all the way immediately to take Hooey home. Remember the word I used to describe his personality? Elusive. Twice the owner went home without finding him.

On Sun., Feb. 21, I noticed some blood on the hay nest where Hooey slept. Not good! He must be in need of help but was still refusing to let me catch him. Finally, on Tuesday night, I saw him laying on a muskrat mound about a quarter mile from his makeshift home. Slowly, I approached him, talking to him and wondering how close I would get this time. I kept talking and walking, and he finally let me pet him. I could see immediately he needed help and soon! He was losing a lot of blood from his mouth. He was very weak.

Early in the morning of the 24th, Hooey received needed and urgent help from local veterinarians. Kobold came quickly and transferred him to her local vet in Woonsocket. Frankly, I must tell you I expected the worst. This animal was inches from death. It’s impossible to know exactly what happened to bring on the rapid decline in Hooey. Was it a fight with something? Did he eat something he should not have?

But, by nothing short of a miracle, Hooey showed improvement by evening, Wed., Feb. 24.

I am glad to share today, Hooey is home and recovering with his loving family. We want to thank so many people who shared the post and showed goodness and humanity. Thanks also to those who chipped in and helped with medical expenses, and especially to Kobold, whose compassion and love for Hooey is evident.

If only a dog could talk, I'm pretty sure he would relate a story right out of a children's picture book. I wonder if he would say, “What an adventure, and I’d do it all over again!” I know for sure Kobold would tell him in the strictest voice, “Don’t you EVER do that again!”

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