Maleah Stringer

THB Photo/John P. Cleary 7/29/03 LFS Studio shots of Maleah Stringer for column.

Allie found me. She could be the poster dog for Heinz 57. A German shepherd type head stuck on a squat, box-like body with stubs for legs. Her jaw, broken at some point had healed at an odd angle creating the illusion that her head and body are struggling to go in different directions. This is re-enforced by her only having one eye. Obviously some neglect and abuse in her history. We don’t talk about it.

She found me early on a Saturday morning when I was walking three miles from home. People in a car informed me my dog was following me. I turned to look and sure enough a dog was barreling toward me as if she’d been looking for me all her life. She sat inches from my feet and stared into my face. I petted her and informed her very firmly that she had to go home. It shames me to say this, but I left her sitting by the side of the road consoling myself that she belonged to one of the houses that dot that road. She had no collar or ID tags. I kept looking back over my shoulder; she watched me for a long time.

Sunday night I was walking my greyhound, Nakai, through the neighborhood. Due to the abuse she experienced in the greyhound racing industry I was unable to walk her during the day. At one point Nakai tugged on her leash and then I felt something brush my leg. I saw one lively eye shining in the moonlight. It was the same dog I’d seen Saturday.

Once again I petted her and told her to go home. To my relief she darted off into the night and I quickly headed home. As we came to my driveway Nakai whimpered. The porch light was on giving me a clear view of who was waiting on us. The one-eyed box-like dog.

The next day I took Allie door to door in the area looking for her owner. I then placed an ad in the paper and waited a week before giving into the inevitable. She was mine. I took her to be spayed and vaccinated.

That was 10 years ago. Today Allie is getting fatty tumors faster than the vet can remove them and she’s blind. She always did whack her head into something on her bad side. But about two months ago I noticed she was running into things on her good side. It broke my heart when she’d get lost and cry — she’d finally calm when I and her dog buddies would go get her and lead her back to us. I was concerned for a few weeks when she stopped wagging and eating. Was this it? Was she suffering?

To my great relief she was back to her happy self in a few weeks. She flies through the house as if she has both eyes. The other dogs lead her. It’s as if they know this is their job. I watch the greyhounds in the backyard go get her when it’s time to come in. When she gets confused I walk loudly or clap and she follows the sound. She isn’t afraid anymore; she’s adjusted. I wish I could adjust to life and its ups and downs with as much ease and grace as Allie has. Once again she found her way back to me. She’s the dog of my heart. You never know the treasures you’ll find when you go for a walk. Or take in a stray.

• Prison Greyhounds Sweetie and Generator need forever homes. Sweetie needs to be in a home without kids, but she loves dogs and cats. Generator loves everyone. Call (765) 278-9435.

• If you’re looking for a cat, don’t forget M’s Cat Room. These are Anderson City Shelter Cats who live in my sunroom. They have been spayed/neutered, vaccinated, wormed, and are feline leukemia/aids negative. The adoption fee is $70. As these cats are adopted they will be replaced with more cats from the shelter. If you’d like to help fund this project, send donation to: Animal Protection League, P.O. Box 2242, Anderson, IN 46018. A constant need is litter.

Maleah Stringer, president of the Animal Protection League, is an animal massage therapist specializing in esoteric healing. She can be reached at maleahstringer@aol.com.



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