The fact that Marsha lives with me, and that her life turned out much different than intended is a tale of crime, neglect, and late night barking. To explain this I’ll have to diverge a bit and talk a little about the neighbor situation.
As is typical for the Western U.S. my back yard shares fences with the houses next to us. The house to the north of mine has been owned by a man who doesn’t live there. In fact no one lives in there. For reasons I’ve never been privy to (but have speculated about) it remains unoccupied. This lack of occupation invites trouble.
The uncharacteristic barking frenzy Hershey engaged in one evening was a result of that trouble, though I didn’t know it at the time. I figured a cat, or possum was doing catty/possumy things, and called her in and went to bed. It wasn’t until the next morning when I notice the next door gate was ajar, and the back door was left wide open.
Not having anyway to contact the owner, I called the police who responded with unusual speed and numbers. It took a total of four officers about 20 minutes to determine that yes it had been broken into and that no one was in fact in the house. They wired the back door shut, left and contacted the owner.
I was on a nodding only acquaintance with this elderly man for several reasons. The first of which was we didn’t speak each other’s language. The second was he was only at the house occasionally, and usually not when I was at home. The third (and most important reason for this story) is that I didn’t like the way he treated his animals.
Over the years, there had been a string of benignly neglected animals there including one I had the vet put to sleep on my own; as well as a mama cat who’s kittens I found homes for and who I adopted and named Eris.
So in April of 2014, several months after the break in, when I heard unfamiliar barking from that back yard, my heart sank as I looked over the fence to see the new dog he’d bought, presumably to guard the place.
That was the first meeting I had with the dog who would become my Marsha.
In Part Two of “The Stealth Foster,” we actually get to the stealth fostering!