Monday, December 24, 2007

Stray Dog Treated As Royalty

VALLEY CENTER ---- For the past two months, residents in an east Valley Center neighborhood have collectively cared for a stray ---- or abandoned ---- aging, mixed-breed dog that they have anointed "King" and pampered as royalty.

The dog, perhaps a Labrador/Chow mix, weighs about 80 pounds and has survived living on and around a street corner in the rural area since shortly before the October wildfires, or long before then, depending on whom you ask.

While neighbors may debate where King came from and when he first arrived in their neighborhood, they are mostly in agreement that the dog needs to go to a good home, not to an animal shelter.

But the dog has proven elusive to residents who want to catch and deliver him to a new home, and to at least one animal control officer, said Sharon Murphy, who lives on the corner where King has taken up residence.

"Right now, we have two people nearby that want to adopt the dog," said Murphy, who has provided food and water for King.

She has also helped make King more comfortable, buying him a doggie-pad for a doghouse that another resident recently dropped off on the corner.

As of Sunday, Murphy was the only person known to have had direct contact with the dog.

"He came up to me and licked my hand the other day, and then on Saturday he laid down next to me, but I didn't think he was quite ready to have a leash put on him just yet," Murphy said.

"We're getting closer and closer to him every day, and we think that real soon we're going to be able to a leash on him. That's what we're hoping for in the next few days," she said.

Cathy Robinson, a resident of the area for 40 years, said she recalls the dog showed up "right about the time of the fires and he hasn't left since." She, too, has given the dog food, water and a blanket for his doghouse.

"We've given him some food and water and cared for him some, but not nearly as much as Sharon has," Robinson said.

"Sharon has been here every day giving him food and treats, and now the dog is beginning to allow her to approach him."

The dog has proven to be as durable as he is elusive, Robinson said.

"A while back when we had all that rain, he dug a hole and just stayed right in his area," she said. "Nothing seems to affect him. He's a survivor."

If the dog outlasts animal control officers for another day or so, he likely will find himself in a new home, perhaps by Christmas, neighbors said.

"It may take a few more days than some people would like; some people want to tranquilize him, but I don't think that's a very good idea right now," Murphy said.

Because of the dog's age and wariness ---- "He might not be the most adoptable dog out there," Murphy said ---- would-be owners may be more likely to opt for a younger, friendlier dog.

"He's not young, he's got calluses on his front legs, so he has been around for a while," says Debi McSwain, who lives in the neighborhood and is married to North County Times managing editor Dan McSwain.

"I really don't want him to go to the dog pound," Debi McSwain added. "The best thing for him would be to go to someone with a big yard."

Two residents have offered to take King when he finally decides to move from his corner spot.

"He's been hanging out down there for so long that he's become somewhat of a constant in the neighborhood," said Geary Buydos, one of the residents who have offered to take in King.

"When they said they needed someone to adopt him, I told them I'll take him, I've got the perfect place for him," he added. "The trick is going to be catching him, but I think Sharon's the best person for that. The dog seems to like her and sooner or later he'll have a new home."

If the dog is taken in, some residents said they will miss what he brought to the neighborhood.

"People have brought him treats and food for so long, I'd say we've had at least 20 different people care for that dog," Murphy said. "I've met and gotten to know more people around here in the past couple of months because of that dog, than I had in the previous seven years. This has been a very good bonding experience for this neighborhood."


  1. hmmm.... speaking as a light worker, and a proponent of the universal consciousness, this is one situation that needs to be left AS IS. unless there is evidence that this animal is in distress, or poses a threat to children or adults, then i say, let it be free to live as IT pleases.

    if it is as old as you say it is, let it be happy and live out the remainder of it's life in peace. bring it not distress and bondage. who are we to determine this creatures road, where it has survived to this point all on it's own. when clearly it has brought joy and happiness, and has become a meaningful fixture and characteristic, even a part of the involved consciousness of the community in which it lives.

    i say, if you remove it from it's current circumstances, you separate it from some of the friends, and some of the love it has already made, and the life it already values. and that is a harm against this creatures autonomy. and we as a species have GOT to start learning that just b/c we possess a higher consciousness, does not give us a right to manipulate the fates of lower creatures that we share the planet with. . . .

  2. I hope King is now in a good home where he can be treated like royalty for the rest of his life. Nice story. Thanks for sharing it.