This is Tag, my faithful friend who walks with me every morning. She appeared in my neighborhood about 5 years ago as a starving waif less than a year old. She had gone feral after running loose for nearly 10 months with another dog I nicknamed “Brown Girl.” Tag wouldn’t let me touch her, but was eager to eat the food I’d put out everyday in my front yard. I watched her eat acorns, grasshoppers, leftover pizza in the campus parking lot, the occasional bird, mice, rats and whatever else she and Brown Girl could scrounge from a trash can or catch. Brown Girl was the alpha and always ate first, leaving mere scraps of scraps for Tag. Throughout that winter, I watched Tag and Brown Girl curl up together in the freezing rain nestled deep in a pile of leaves that had accumulated against a fence in the lot across the street. I put various shelters out for the dogs, but they perceived them as traps and would have nothing to do with them. Every morning, when I walked my German Shepherd, Romeo, Tag would follow us staying a safe distance behind. She became our tag-along and thus her name.
Over time, Tag and Brown Girl became possessive of my neighborhood and began chasing and nipping at certain people who threatened them in some way. Animal Control was working with me trying to catch both dogs, but one day they told me they were going to have to shoot the dogs because they had grown aggressive. They gave me one more day to catch them. On that day, I rigged up a trap in my yard and lured Brown Girl in with a broiled chicken, but once Tag realized it was a trap, she wouldn’t come. As fate would have it, that afternoon a college student who lived nearby was walking home and Tag was following her. The girl sat down in the vacant lot across the street from my house and Tag amazingly sat in her lap! I walked to the edge of the lot and asked if she would hold Tag while I put a leash around her neck. The girl, who was pre-med veterinary, said “no problem” and so we caught Tag, who bucked and reared like a wild mustang as soon as she realized her life of freedom had ended. I had hoped the girl could adopt Tag, as there was obviously some kind of connection. But she was headed to vet school and could not, so I decided to keep her as a “play toy” for Romeo and they became best friends. He has passed on now, but she remains my steadfast companion. Tag has adapted well to domestic life. She is very laid back and rarely leaves my side. I believe she just needed to be loved, as all stray dogs yearn to be. I couldn’t imagine life without her.
And what happened to Brown Girl? I took her to the vet and she had a microchip in her neck! The vet called the phone number on the chip and a nurse from Dallas, 60 miles away, answered. She immediately began crying and said her dog had been lost for almost a year after her ex-boyfriend had taken her dog and dumped her, but she had no idea where to look. She got in her car and rushed to my house to claim Brown Girl who’s real name was Sadie. What could have ended in tremendous sadness for those two dogs turned out to be a very happy new beginning.