Woman's World

You Deserve Good Things!

We count on them to protect us and keep us safe. And sometimes, these brave men and women do even more; going above and beyond the call of duty, proving there’s no limit to their courage and compassion!

- —Bill Holton

Engine Company 14’s Chunk of love! Rain sloshed over the frightened pup tied to the fence. But then firefighte­rs arrived. “You’re coming with us,” responder Mike Thawley said. And now the feisty pup has a new “furever” family!

Lights and sirens blaring, Sacramento firefighte­r Mike Thawley arrived at the medical call with his crew.

Fortunatel­y, the patient was soon cleared. But before they could leave, a woman approached in the pouring rain.

“There’s a dog that’s been leashed to a fence for hours. Can you check on her?” she asked

Mike and the other members of Engine Company 14 followed.

“Be careful—it’s a pit bull,” fellow firefighte­r Peter Vandersleu­s warned when he spotted the pup tangled in her leash.

You’re coming back to the station house with us!

“It’s actually a Staffordsh­ire Terrier,” Mike corrected. “I had one for 17 years, and he was the best dog ever.”

As Mike approached, the pup was standing on her hind legs, barking. But her ears were down.

“You’re scared, little girl, aren’t you?” Mike cooed, and when he untangled the leash, the pup leapt straight into his arms!

Her paws were swollen; open wounds and scabs riddled her nearly hairless body.

“You’ve really been through it, little one,” Mike sighed as he cuddled the soaked, shivering 15-pound pup. And he made a decision: “You’re coming back to the station house with us.”

The pup stretched a gentle paw to Mike’s chin as if to say: Thank you. I didn’t know what was going to happen!

Back at the station, Ann Kemp ran a hot bath. Peter collected towels while Dave Seals fetched a bowl of fresh water and Mike began cooking up some hamburger from the station fridge.

Rain pelted the roof as the baby girl the engine company dubbed Chunk rolled onto her back for belly rubs. When Mike sent pictures to his wife, Carla, she texted back: She’s already won your heart!

But now that the pup was warm and fed, it was time to address Chunk’s medical issues—and when Mike looked up possible causes of her hair loss on the Web, he learned she probably had mange.

“One kind is easily controlled, but the second is scabies—and it’s infectious to humans,” he told the others.

“We can get her tested at the shelter,” Ann suggested, but Mike was reluctant to let Chunk go.

Still, the department couldn’t afford a station-wide epidemic. So, he loaded Chunk in his truck and hurried to the Front Street Animal Shelter.

As they arrived, a faint whimper emerged as if to say: Please don’t leave me here! I want to stay with you!

Mike dashed inside just as the shelter receptioni­st was about to lock the door.

“I’ll ask the vet to take a look,” she said, and Mike paced the waiting room until the doctor emerged smiling.

“Everyone’s going to be fine!” the vet said.

Still, Chunk would have to remain for treatment. As soon as he could, Mike returned to the shelter.

“She whimpered all night. I think she misses you,” the vet told him. And the instant she spotted Mike, Chunk leapt into the air and buried her snout in his chest.

I knew you’d come back! her grateful kisses seemed to say.

Shelter rules required they keep a stray for at least three days, in case the owner appears.

“If no one comes for her, I want to adopt her,” Mike declared. Mike counted the hours and finally, the call came. “She’s yours!” “You guys are getting a new friend!” Mike told his two dogs, Bubbas and Lola, and when Chunk arrived, she was soon padding over to say: Let’s play!

“People say I’m a hero for rescuing her, but the truth is, we were meant to be,” Mike says of Chunk, who never fails to make him smile—like how, on walks, she holds her own leash clamped in her jaw. “I think she just wants everybody to see that she knows the way home!”

Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen. Orhan Pamuk

 ??  ?? “I don’t know how anyone could have abandoned her. She’s such a sweetie,” says Mike. Inset: Chunk lounging at her new home.
“I don’t know how anyone could have abandoned her. She’s such a sweetie,” says Mike. Inset: Chunk lounging at her new home.
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