Wandering Around Out There With A Canoe On My Head

Meeting Nancy 3/10

Nancy skinny at the shelter

by Preston
December 21, 2022

I first met Nancy in 2007. When I think about how long ago that was, it seems simultaneously so long ago, and also just like the other day. When I think about the differences in me, my life, where I am or even what I find important between then and now, it’s staggering.

But her life had already changed so much by that time. No one knows where she came from, but it was somewhere near New Orleans a year or two before Hurricane Katrina, which left Nancy on the streets, finally picked up by a local shelter, then sent to another shelter, and another. As you can imagine there were a lot of dogs suddenly in need. Luckily for me, she was transferred away from a shelter on the Friday before she was going to be euthanized after the weekend. Thank you Boudreaux’s Animal Rescue Krewe, who through a generous anonymous donor, brings dogs from Louisiana and other areas with too high of a supply to areas like mine in Hamilton, where there is much more demand.

Nancy arrived in Canada just having given birth to puppies (her second litter apparently), and while they were quickly grabbed up by eager adopters, Nancy remained in a little cage out in the hallway of the Hamilton SPCA because of how many available dogs needed homes. She was 13 lbs at some point, far, far below her healthy weight of 30 lbs.

I was volunteering at the attached dog park at the time, which was basically walking around picking up poop, so I would end my shifts by going inside to wash my hands, which I used as a great excuse to meet and pet some dogs. One in particular caught my eye, not only because of how sweet she looked, but she reminded me a lot of my childhood dog, Sassy. I don’t know why I didn’t just take her home right then and there. I already had a dog at home and she would no doubt be adopted shortly, but I could spend some time with her while she waited for her new owner.

If I’m being honest, she didn’t really take to me right away. I’d do, as far as a companion when no one else was around, but what she really wanted was all the attention younger kids would give her. I think she liked all the “aww-w”s, and would move away from me at even the slightest hint that some girl passed by and would flood her with the kind of affection she deserved. (This is the kind of thing I’d learn not to take personally over the years.) For me though, she gave me the claw. I would reach into her cage and hold her head while petting her. She liked that. I knew this because her little bent paw would grab a hold of me like a little claw, especially tight when I had to let her go, which was heart-breaking. (She’d of course also let go when the kids passed by, but again, I’m sure that wasn’t personal.)

I decided at some point I was going to help get her adopted. She was just so sweet. I talked to some friends and even my parents. I told them I just had a feeling this was a great dog that was just so sweet. For a while there were no takers, and I started to feel bad. Then, someone suggested they might want to visit, just maybe to see for themselves, and strangely, that made me feel even worse. It was a sudden realization that as impractical as it might be right now, there was no way I was going to let these people take my dog. Sure, technically it may have been my idea. Maybe. But I had decided. And now the clock had started. I needed to figure out how to take this dog home. And hey, you kids! Get away from my dog!

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Preston and Nancy the dog pose with a Paddle in the Park Contest paddle
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