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Thu, July 09

Clumsy dog waits alongside<br>road for ride to our house<br>

If there’s one thing about Grand Canyon that seems to be consistent, there are plenty of puppy stories to go around.

Just the other day, I heard about six puppies that had been found by tourists in a duffel bag at Desert View. Four of the pups are approximately four weeks old while the other two are a few weeks younger. The bottle-fed puppies ended up at our local kennel.

It’s hard to believe someone would stuff six puppies into a duffel bag and leave them somewhere. Well, I guess they at least didn’t throw them into the Canyon.

I have a puppy story of my own. For the past several weeks, Marley has been staying with us. He appears to be a black lab pup and by the size of his feet, I think he’ll end up being a pretty big dog.

Marley came into my possession through a trip into the Woodland Ranch area. While driving on Woodland Ranch Road, we came upon a black puppy sitting alongside the road.

As I later told Stacey, it appeared as though he was sitting there waiting for a bus. He had a dog dish full of water and a big bag of dog food. Somebody obviously didn’t want him any more and left him there.

Stacey asked me to stop, running over to him to see if he was OK. Moments later, we had a dog in the backseat. We couldn’t just leave him there.

Stacey already has two dogs, so he couldn’t stay with her. I didn’t have a dog and wasn’t really looking for one, so I had a plan to take him to the kennel to see if someone would end up adopting him.

Of course, this clumsy, lovable dog grew on me. And he was good to Brandon, giving him an unconditional friend who is there to lick him in the face and go for walks.

Over those first few days, I kept a good eye on the puppy, making sure he was safe and wouldn’t hurt Brandon. I can’t comprehend why someone left the dog alongside the road like that. He could’ve been killed by coyotes that night.

Day after day, I couldn’t make up my mind about whether or not to keep the dog. Weeks later, he’s still here and has become a part of our family.

From the way he was sitting next to his dog dish alongside the road, we figured he was either extremely intelligent or really stupid. The early returns on that suggest the latter.

Marley needs training, the type Sara White can provide. He jumps on people and can’t quite go for a walk without tripping me. But he is a cute pup.

I haven’t had a dog since I was 24 years old. That year, a little chihuahua my dad gave to me when I was 8 years old died. Her name was Sandy and she was my best friend through childhood.

I went through my parents’ divorce and changed school a dozen times with that dog. And she was there when I went to college and when I got my first job. At age 16, she ended up with an inoperable tumor and I had to put her to sleep. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

In fact, I had to take the day off work because it was so stressful. After that experience, I just haven’t been interested in getting another dog.

Perhaps I was meant to end up with Marley. If we hadn’t come along that day on Woodland Ranch Road, who knows what would have happened.

From my own childhood, I know what a good friend a dog can be. Brandon is age 8, the same age I was when my dad brought me Sandy late one night.

Now it’s back to dog hair on my clothes, spending money on dog food and shots, and finding a sitter when we leave town. But we also have a new friend.

(Brad Fuqua is editor of the Grand Canyon News).

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