Bernice Karnett, a physician and volunteer staff member with Tails of the Trail, shares her recent post-hike experience with Baxter (a.k.a. Joey), a dog hidden in the back corners…
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On December 12, 2015, Tails of the Trail hosted a shelter dog hike at Metro Nashville Animal Care and Control (MACC). After helping to bring out several dogs to partner up with their companion hikers from Belmont University, I went to the back room and saw this sad boy in his pen. I knew I just had to take him outside. It was a beautiful sunny day and when I showed him to Lisa Thomas, co-founder of TOTT, I told her he had no name on his kennel. It’s probable he was a recent street pickup. We decided to call him “Joey.” He was sweet, affectionate and oh-so docile. He had a lot of scrapes, especially on his face, no doubt from being a stray and was bone thin, but still he wagged his tail in friendship, all the while shivering in fear.
That day after I left the shelter I couldn’t stop thinking about Joey. I knew then that I would return the following weekend to MACC and volunteer to walk the pups; I just had to see him again.
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Upon my arrival I made a bee line to his cage. My heart melted as soon as I saw him. Not only was he wagging his tail in excitement–I think he remembered me–but his whole body was in full action. This time the tag on his kennel had a name, Baxter.
So out Baxter and I went into the play yard where we spent a wonderful time cuddling and enjoying the fresh air. I couldn’t help but bring him a special treat, a piece of baked chicken. After all, he needed a little meat on his skin and bones. My initial thoughts were that he would quickly devour the meal and my hand, but I was so wrong. He very slowly and gently ate each morsel with such delight!
Now I confirmed in my heart that I had to help sweet Baxter any way possible. I was on a mission to save this wonderful pup!
As luck would have it, when I entered the waiting room of MACC, there were several people inside and I started talking to and introducing them to Baxter. I described this wonderful sweet boy and everyone became excited to meet him. In fact, one couple had specifically come to MACC to look for a cat but they ultimately decided to spend some time with Baxter, my sweet dog, in the socializing room.
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I spent the rest of the weekend thinking about Baxter. Was he lonely and waiting for my return visit? Was it possible that someone would fall in love with him just as I had done? I could only hope so.
Upon returning to work on Monday I immediately logged onto the MACC website to check the status of adoptable dogs. To my amazement, there was no Baxter listed. As I started to cry, my nurse walked into the room. I told her the story of Baxter, while tears ran down my face. They were tears of JOY! Baxter had found a forever home just in time to celebrate the holidays and I was forever grateful. For me and Baxter, this was truly the best Christmas present ever!
I believe everyone should spend their free time loving an orphaned pup. And who knows what miracles may happen. I feel like my few hours with Baxter helped calm him, helped him feel loved, and hopefully made him a better fit for his forever family!