The Harlan Chronicles 2


Harlan's Stash
It took three neighborhood volunteers to stuff Harlan snug in his crate and I was quite content and proud of myself. After all, for someone who was as afraid of dogs as I was, we seemed to be getting along just fine. Harlan, cozy in his crate, looking every bit the pill bug and I, completely oblivious to all things canine.

It wasn’t long into this bliss that I detected a foul odor coming from the den. The question about him being housebroken was answered. The good news was that he didn’t relieve himself on my carpet, the bad news was that he wouldn’t come out of his crate. I tried coaxing, leashing, demanding him to come out. No Luck. He stayed in the crate. Refusing to eat or drink (who could blame him) and remaining in the crate was just not an option. With a little help from my friends, we picked up the crate with all 50 lbs of Harlan in it and brought him into the backyard.

After a moderate struggle we were able to get him out of the crate, hose him down and create a new home for him in the backyard garage. A quilt was placed in the corner of the garage and a side door was propped open so that Harlan could come and go as he pleased. Harlan was home.

Sometimes I would watch Harlan by peeking out of my kitchen window where I had an unobstructed view of him and would notice that he would only come out of his garage at night.

Although I would routinely give him treats, he would never take them from me nor would I see him eating them. He would not eat his food or drink water if I was around. He never made eye contact, in fact he would turn his head away from me when I approached. He didn’t bark or growl. Everyday was spent in silence, staring, jaw clenched. If I tried to pet him or scratch his ears, he would visibly tremble. Sure, friends and family would comment on my basket-case of a dog but I being the proud new parent, was unflappable.

A week had passed since I brought Harlan home and I decided that it was time for me to change his bedding. Bravely walking into his garage, I clipped the leash onto his collar and proceeded to drag him out of the garage and tie him to a tree.

When I picked up Harlan’s quilt, I was surprised to see that he had stashed all of his doggie treats under it. Interestingly, I remembered learning somewhere that neglected and abused children will hoard food for fear that they will not be fed again.

It was then and there that I realized Harlan was a soul that needed love, food and a safe place to live. So what if he wasn’t “normal”? Do parents with afflicted children return them? No. They deal with it. Harlan and I would be together for a long time.

Part 3 The Doggie Shrink

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