Lulu Belle was the third to join our package. For several days, Melissa had seen what she thought was a coyote lurking around our farmhouse, so when she arrived home on a rainy moonless night around midnight, she saw a shadow at the front door and thought it was a wild thing.
Troy was sent to investigate, and on closer inspection, the “coyote” turned out to be a gait, a damp, spotted dog that had been driven inside by the rain. The plan was for the stray puppy to spend the night in a bed by the door and for us to look for her owners the next day. Thirty minutes after her arrival, she had huddled with the other dogs in our bed, full of stomach, and sound asleep.
The next morning, Melissa printed “Found” posters with the picture of the dog and took the skinny, wormy girl to the vet to check for a tattoo or microchip. Our veterinarian found no identifiers and said the dog was young – about 6 months – and had a blue dot in it, as well as some unnamed genetic contribution that gave it a long, lush tail other than a raccoon. No one ever showed up to ask for our girl, despite our best efforts, and after one of Melissa’s yoga students said that Lulu Bell would be a great name for the fiancé, she was home to stay. .
In her youth, Lulu Bell was stubborn, refused to obey basic commands, and was a dressing challenge. He left a large mound right next to the door every day until he was two years old, and on a memorable trip he entertained the other drivers by taking a long poop in the back of the jeep, a hunched and long striped tail straight for several exits. From the very beginning, Lulu Belle has been a “walking” girl who loves trucks, canoes, RVs and her own hiking, walking and running paws.
She always looks out the truck window or pushes her head forward between the front seats for better visibility. Although mostly deaf, she watches who is near the front door, and if she sees the shoes walking on their feet, she barks with a big “wave” and jumps her front paws in the air.
Once a great long-distance runner, she is now a walker, but she still accelerates when she sees someone running, as if she remembers what she once loved to do. At 15, her runs are limited to a short daily trot up the hill near our home and to paw races while dreaming of sleeping old dogs who still remember what it’s like to be young.