Weeks ago the Broward County Animal Control division had been called to capture Pretty Girl, but she would outsmart and out maneuver the animal control specialists. Along with her new given name ”Pretty Girl”, “phantom dog” or “ghost dog” described her silent passes through the yards and landscaping on our street. “Did you see Pretty Girl, the phantom dog?” “Maybe, not sure. I saw a large tan something disappear into the bushes.” That was before, now she no longer played phantom. She took matters into her own “hands” and made a home for herself under the foreclosed, for sale and empty house next door. Too bad we can’t give squatter’s rights to dogs.
Pretty Girl rarely left the crawl space under the house. When she did she would come out, stretch her long legs and look around for food. She no longer roamed more than 20 feet from the hole under the house. The neighborhood Pretty Girl watch patrol developed a feeding schedule. I took early morning and late evening. Linda took mid-morning and afternoon. Bob took lunch. The rest of the time, Pretty Girl lived under the house, even when unsuspecting realtors showed the property to their clients. I watched protectively from across the property line as daily human traffic increased next door. They must have dropped the price, because now that Pretty Girl claimed the house as hers, more and more buyers were interested too.
I wanted to tell the interested buyers that this house was a 3 bed, 2 bath and came furnished with a dog. No need to go get a family pet, the house already had one, or two or ten. Pretty Girl was a mother now, Linda and I were certain. Not everyone was as convinced. There could be ten puppies or there could be one, or there could be none. Doubt surfaced because there were no little sounds of puppy squeaks coming from under the house. Pretty Girl gave low, gentle warning growls when we got too close to the hole, so no one could enter to check it out. Clearly she protected something and told us as best she could. All we really knew was that Pretty Girl was skinny now, had big breasts, lived under the house, no longer roamed the streets, and refused to allow anyone near her entrance.
When Animal Control had tried to capture Pretty Girl, an Officer showed immense compassion and left a direct phone number. Time to try once more to get Pretty Girl off the streets and into a possible better life. We called the Officer, who suggested the humane trap. Would Pretty Girl go for it, she was very smart? Would she bolt? First the realtor needed to give permission for the trap. Days passed, more house showings, more potential buyers. Finally the Officer called us and said that the realtor would allow the trap and hold off house showings. The Officer would be there the following morning with the humane trap.