Dusty the Hobo Dog
IT'S PRETTY INTERESTING THAT WHEN YOU GET LOST, YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO FIND THINGS.
And sometimes, you find a little buddy struggling to live in the hot desert sun. Dirtbags Mike and Callie found a little dirty friend with four legs in the city of Tuba City, AZ, near the halfway point of their latest 6,000 mile road trip. No, we're not talking about an orphan child that grew up next to a radioactive test site, who sprouted a second set of legs, we're talking about the newest addition to the Mister Lost dirtbag family: a fluffy little mutt who goes by the name Dusty the Hobo Dog, or Dusty for short.
While journeying toward the Grand Canyon, the Dirtbags made a pit-stop in Tuba City, AZ, to buy some groceries and cook up lunch in the van. The smell of boiling pasta seemed to intrigue some hungry roaming dogs.
"There's a dog by the van!" Callie shouted.
Mike got a little excited, and quickly traded positions with Callie and fed the dog a few scraps of stale bread.
"Theres a whole bunch of dogs all over the parking lot!" Mike expressed, with a curious and somewhat thrilled tone of voice.
A woman returned from the store to her car which was parked next to the Mister Lost van. Mike asked, "What's the deal with all of the stray dogs?" The woman explained that the reservation could not afford to keep the animal shelter open, and that there were an estimated 480,000 stray dogs, and an average of 25 dogs were put to sleep each week. While letting their pasta salad cool down in the mini-fridge, the dirtbags grabbed some stale bread and took off on foot toward a pack of stray dogs. All of the pups seemed to be very nice, but very scared of people.
"WE FELT LIKE WE NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP THE SITUATION, EVEN THOUGH TWO DIRTBAG KIDS IN A VAN WERE RENDERED NEARLY USELESS."
Surrounded by packs of four or five dogs, the dirtbags did what they could, managing to get within about 10 feet of any of the lonely creatures, eventually spotting a pack that had several small puppies in it. The emotional weakness of the Dirtbags naturally kicked in, leading to racing thoughts of helping out a homeless and hungry puppy.
Their sights were set on the puppy pack, so they followed them around for nearly a half hour. While getting relatively close to the pups, they were absolutely out of reach. At one point, the entire pack ran through a hole in the fence of a construction equipment yard, leading to thoughts of throwing in the towel and hitting the road. In one last effort, Callie saw that a little fluff-ball sneaking her way under a fence, then quickly dropping to her belly panting, just 2 feet out of reach. This little pup looked to be in poor shape, appearing very malnourished and covered in dust and clay.
Callie sat near the pup, hoping she would come out past the fence and warm up to offerings of fresh water and bread. After about 15 minutes, they decided to leave her alone and see if the pup would come out to find its pack. While Callie turned the van around on the one-way dirt road, Mike noticed that the fluffy little puppy was no longer behind the fence, and nowhere to be seen. Mike and Callie were hit with an instant pang of sadness, as they knew that the cutest little dog they've ever seen chose to continue wandering in the scolding hot sun without any food or water. But then Mike shouted "Callie, hurry over!"
The pup found her pack and they were running right behind Mike. As he turned around to lure the dogs with a piece of bread, the fluff-ball puppy immediately fell to the ground while the others ran off. While laying on her back in the thorn-covered brush and dust, the puppy opened her mouth and panted. Callie quickly ran down the alley to see the lifeless puppy surrendering from the chase. Both Dirtbags looked directly at one another, with open eyes, thinking the same exact thing.
Without hesitation, Mike scooped up the pup while Callie pulled the van closer. Using a spare blanket as a dog bed, the Dirtbags laid the helpless doggy down to rest in the back of the van. They filled up an empty black olive can with water, and the puppy immediately lapped it up like it had never seen that much water in one place. After three cans of water, the pup's eyes looked more full and excited.
THE DIRTBAGS PURCHASED A CAN OF DOG FOOD AT THE LOCAL GROCERY STORE AND FED THE PUPPY HER FIRST REAL MEAL THAT WAS NOT MADE FROM STREET SCRAPS. SHE DEVOURED THE DOGGY-DISH LIKE A CHAMPIONSHIP SPEED EATER.
The dirtbags decided to get a veterinarians help in Flagstaff, AZ, about 1.5 hours away. The pup slept soundly the entire way, while the Dirtbags pledged that they would keep the dog if the vet found her to be decently healthy and free of any major disease. Along the way, they were petting her as she rested between the front seats. Upon each pat of the hand, a large dust cloud sprung up.
"She's so dusty!" Callie exclaimed. Again, Mike and Callie locked eyes and the dog's name became to be: "Dusty."
Upon arrival at the animal hospital, the Dirtbags waited nearly four hours outside to see the 24-hour veterinarian. After a blood and stool tests for Parvo (a common virus found in the stray reservation dogs), all results were negative and the little pup proved to be perfectly healthy! Mike and Callie yelped in excitement when they heard the good news. They left the animal hospital together as a happy little family and stopped at a local pet store to acquire a collar, leash and dog tag.
For the first day, Dusty refused to walk. When Mike or Callie would stand her up, she would flop directly back to the ground. On the second day, Dusty took her first few steps, but still had a hard time going farther than 3 feet at a time. On the third day, Dusty got groomed and wagged her tail for the first time, plastering a huge grin on the dirtbag's faces. On the fourth day, Dusty's body recovered well enough to start running, leading to a fifth day of romping around a park in California for hours on end. It was such a great feeling to see the progress of a homeless desert dog recover into a bountiful puppy feeling bright green grass between her paws for the first time in her life.
From there on, this newly established relationship proved to be absolutely perfect. In Laguna Beach, CA, Dusty went on her first ever mountain bike ride. While she was 100 percent off the leash the entire time, she followed her parents down steep rock rolls with a gigantic puppy smile.
THE DIRTBAGS ARE SO EXTREMELY THANKFUL THAT THEY'VE FOUND SUCH A PERFECT DOG THAT LOVES TO SLEEP IN A TRAVELING VAN AND FOLLOW ALONG ON MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDES AND HIKES.
Now that the Dirtbags are back in the Pacific Northwest, Dusty truly appreciates all of the rain we get here, because where she's from, there's barely any precipitation. She loves to roam around the woods, chase sticks and chew on her Mr. Potato Head toy. And more than anything, Dusty loves sampling from every visible puddle.