Bee Bentley’s voice came over the phone, “I’ve got this dog here and I think you would best know how to take care of her. She looks just like your dog only she’s a she.”
I hopped in the car and took off for Stephenville’s animal shelter. The year was 1979 and the Humane Society had been formed but without a building, was working with Bee and the city at the old location.
When I drove up to the shelter, I was surprised to see a gorgeous Harlequin Great Dane stomping around the pen with a bunch of mixed breed puppies. As a breeder, I recognized that this dog was a show winner and very valuable dollar wise. I had, so far as I knew, the only Harlequin Dane in a 100 miles and Bee was well acquainted with my Attila. That was the reason he called me. He was pretty sure that this dog just had to be stolen and not a stray.
There was an ugly scrape along the dog’s back that needed attention. I motioned to her and she leaped in the back seat of my car. All the vet offices were closed at this late hour on a Monday and knowing that I had medications that would be OK for her wound, we headed home.
A dog like this doesn’t just run away but she had neither collar nor tags so I had to rely on newspaper ads to find her owners. I had to guess but because of the wound along her back, I guessed that someone had picked her up from close to her home, brought her to Stephenville in their car and she had managed to escape by wiggling through the space of a partially rolled down car window. They had probably left her in their car with the window part way down for air and she escaped before they could think what to do with her.
I began to check the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News daily until the third day when this small ad appeared in the News. “Lost in Richardson area Harlequin Great Dane (white w/black spots) pregnant. Answers to the name of Mascara. Please contact…(phone number).”
I read the ad and walked to the back yard kennels where my Dane, Attila and the lost female had already become acquainted. “Mascara,” I called. “Come.”
She wagged her long tail and raced to cover me with kisses.
“I think I’ve found your home,” I told her.
On the phone I could hear the happy shouts from Richardson as Mascara’s owners asked, “How do we get to Stephenville. We’ll be right there.”
It took almost three hours for the happy couple and their small daughter to get to our place but once they were reunited with their Great Dane, their joy was wonderful to behold. The gentle giant ran in circles from one to the other and finally back to me as if to say, “See here they are! Thank you, thank you for finding them.”
Mascara’s owner turned out to be Drew Bondini Brown, former Harlem Globetrotter and son of Mohammed Ali’s well-known trainer. Drew was a sports promoter for SRA Associates in Dallas at the time and traveled back and forth between Dallas and Las Vegas. Mascara was a gift to him from a client. She was valued at more than $2,000 and had been bred to a show winner. I told them I would be interested in one of the pups when the litter arrived and Drew immediately told me I could have my pick as a reward for getting Mascara back. This was a promised gift that kept me smiling for days.
Drew and his wife sat in our living room and talked about the dog and their drive to Erath County. Tom was interested in Mohammad Ali so he and Drew touched on that. Mascara stretched happily on the floor at the couple’s feet.
At last it was time to go and our new friends got up from the couch. We walked outside together. The night was beautiful with a star-filled sky and a stillness that can only be experienced in the country. Drew stood thee a long time, his face intent, gazing at the sky and walking slowly away from the house. Finally he turned to us and whispered,” Listen.”
We all stood still.
“Just listen,” he repeated. “It’s so quiet here. This is so beautiful. You are so lucky to live here where it is quiet. Sometimes the noise of the city is almost more than I can stand. Out here you can feel closer to God.”
After Mascara left with her little family, Tom and I sat outside in our lawn chairs maybe with a fresh appreciation for where we were and how we lived. Sometimes someone else has to call attention to the things you have taken for granted.