The following Saturday, I walked in the shelter just as a call came in about a pregnant pit bull giving birth. Karen was running out on the call and I hopped in the cab of the truck, for this was a job that was going to require several sets of hands. It turns out that the initial call was a miscommunication from the caller who had received the transmission over a hand-radio (the neighborhood was conducting a disaster preparedness exercise), and that it was actually for a blue-nosed pittie with cropped ears and a white "collar" running-at-large on Ashby and Adeline. It was Lulu! She had survived the whole week, staying under the radar, managing to preserve her strength, even in the bitter cold of January. After a lengthy pursuit, Karen was able to catch Lulu with her Snappy Snare. This girl could finally relax and stop running.
Her feet were bruised and her legs had some scabs, but she was otherwise in good health. We gave her a kennel with afternoon sun, some food, a Kuranda, and a blanket. She leaned up closely against Karen who went to sit with her in the kennel, as though breathing a sigh of relief and gratitude.
I love Lulu for her independent streak, for her utter confidence, for her willingness to make herself just a little bit vulnerable when I hold her and give her hugs. Eliciting a kiss from Lulu is not easy, and when she bestows one on my cheek, I feel very fortunate, as though I have passed the test of being trustworthy and allowing her to have her dignity. Over time, she has come to respect me, too. She no longer pulls me down the park pathways, but responds to my lead instead. We have taught each other much these past four months-- she has helped me to become a better, more patient handler, and I have let her know that the world can be a good place, where people will love you and treat you well, show you tenderness and keep you safe.