Doggy dilemma

Three of us were roaming about in the forgotten area between Pyramid Lake and Gerlach called the Buffalo Hills, searching for insanely huge batches of wildflowers. Two weeks earlier, I had driven through this wild and uninhabited country, stunned by the non-stop display of thousands and thousands of plants strutting their floral stuff in the eternal quest for pollination.

So we were out there—which was pretty far out there—a botanically inclined trio about eight miles beyond the last ranch, which was 10 miles beyond the next-to-last ranch, inching down the brutally lumpy, rocky road … and we spotted this dog. A big, beautiful female dog, maybe a Great Pyrenees, and one that was obviously in a lactational mode, as she sported these worn, dangling dog teats.

We stopped the car and got out, and the dog came over, a bit sheepishly, but perfectly willing to be befriended. After a few seconds of enjoying her patability, we all began to wonder: Just what the hell was this mama dog doing way the hell out in these wild weeds? And where were the pups?

She wore a collar with no tags. She was friendly but not particularly energetic. In fact, she could accurately be described as lethargic, interested mainly in lying on her back and begging for belly rubs. We scanned the hills looking for somebody who might be her owner, but nothing. As far as we could tell, we were the only humans for miles.

Well. Quite a Kung Fu moment we were having. You know, “expect the unexpected, grasshopper,” and all that. And now, a question was hanging in the air, or more accurately, lying in the dirt, and it wasn’t going to get up and trot away. Ten minutes ago, the three of us had been completely carefree, larking about with our good, clean fun. Now, suddenly, we had to make a call, one that just might mean life or death for this beautiful if somewhat bewildered creature.

Do we take the dog or leave her here?

A clear, clean answer was eluding us, sitting squarely on the middle of the fence. How did she get out here? Not a clue. Where were the puppies that she was suckling and why wasn’t she with them? Total mystery. Did her cruel owner dump her here to be easy meat for coyotes or cougars? Possible, although to just dump a quality dog like this bordered on the unthinkable. Was there some perfectly reasonable explanation, even though we were having a difficult time imagining what that explanation might be? Should we take her with us on the compelling grounds that we might be saving her, or should we assume that all is well, no matter how odd it appears?

Our triumvirate pondered, mulled, discussed, weighed, hemmed, hawed and groped for the key that would push us in one direction or the other. Meanwhile, the dog laid in the dirt, ready for endless belly rubbing, even if those teats were fairly beat up.

Which call would you make?

Oh, drat. I’m out of space.