See yesterday’s post for the beginning of Annie’s Story, continued here.

Annie’s Story: Part 2

A week later, I was wrapping up morning appointments at the clinic when our receptionist called to the back, "Dr. Coates, there are two dogs waiting at the front door." I sighed. Walk-in appointments at 1 p.m.; there goes my lunch break.

"O.K., Royann. Please put them in a room and tell the owner that I’ll be right in," I replied.

"No, Dr. C, you don’t understand. It’s just two dogs, no people, and now they’re starting to head for the road."

“Go get them,” I yelled through the intercom and ran for the front door. The clinic was situated on a busy, four-lane road that was responsible for many of our trauma patients. Thankfully, before I could even make it up to the reception area, Royann was herding the dogs back through the front door. I stopped short. In front of me were a golden retriever and a disheveled black terrier.

"I may be crazy,” I said, “but I think these are the dogs that were at Richard’s office last week." The clinic staff was aware of the story and everyone looked at me with disbelief. We all wondered what could have happened to them at the shelter. What were the chances that they could have found both Richard and me in a town of 34,000 people when our offices were separated by five miles?

Needing to know if my hunch was correct, I brought the dogs home with me after work. As I pulled to a stop in the driveway, our dogs Owen, Duncan, and Boomer sensed I was not alone in the truck. The sounds of five barking dogs brought Richard to the kitchen door.

"Hey, babe," I hollered over the din. "I’ve got some folks here that I think you might know."

He made his way to the back of the truck and peered through the window. He stammered "What? How?" and gaped at the dogs; I had my answer. We let them out of the truck to investigate their surroundings and they scampered around the yard, tails wagging. I grinned thinking how lucky they had been to escape harm during their recent escapades. The circumstances were too eerie to disregard, and Richard and I decided they could stay with us until we figured out a long-term solution to their predicament.

The next morning, I left for work with the newcomers relaxing in the fenced yard. My "old-timers" stared forlornly out of the front windows of the house as I drove away. I promised to come back at lunch for some more supervised introductions and play.

Returning home a few hours later, I could hear dogs barking but was a little surprised when nobody greeted me at the gate. As I pulled up to the kitchen door, I could hear that all of the noise was coming from inside the house. A search of the yard revealed that the gates and fence were just as I had left them — intact and latched — but the retriever and terrier were nowhere to be seen. My heart sunk. What was going on here? We had been given a second chance to help, but now that opportunity was gone — along with the dogs.

Tomorrow: The conclusion of Annie’s Story

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Image: JPagetRFphotos / via Shutterstock