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A Special Visitor

PROCTORVILLE — She was a stranger who appeared out of nowhere — that white dog Karen Musser saw one afternoon, wandering around in a field near her Proctorville home.

“I knew she wasn’t a neighborhood dog,” the Chesapeake Middle School teacher, said.

Sadly she seemed to be just one of thousands of animals abandoned each year, left to meet her death from starvation or worse.

But this stranger got lucky as did the eight surprises she brought with her.

That’s because making sure Mama Dog and all eight of her puppies have good homes has become a labor of love for those whose paths have crossed with that of this special Christmas visitor.

“I would leave food for her. I would yell for her, but she wouldn’t never come until I left,” Musser said. “I don’t know if she was afraid or abused.”

That was in the weeks before Christmas and the weather was reasonable warm.

“Then it started getting cold and I was panicking. Where is she sleeping at night,” Musser said.

The answer came on Christmas day when the gang in Musser’s neighborhood saw the dog again.

Another neighbor tracked her down to a shed where the dog had dug a hole in the dirt underneath the shed to make a makeshift bed for her and her babies.

“We took a flashlight and could see there were three puppies,” Musser said.

Neighbors got plastic to block out the cold drafts where the dog and her puppies lay.

Next, they pushed straw back as far as they could into space. Soon the dog moved her babies up to the straw. That’s when it was discovered that three had become eight.

Slowly by coaxing her with bowls of food and milk, the dog and the puppies would come out of the shed.

Now the children nearby come down after school to play with the puppies.

“It has become a little neighborhood project,” Musser said. “Some one just dropped that mother off knowing she was pregnant.”

Some have already come forward to offer homes for the puppies that can leave the mother in about another two or three weeks.

Finding homes for the rest has become a neighborhood mission, Musser said.

“I cannot send them to the pound,” she said. “They are going to get good homes.”

As to the mother, who still carries the psychic scars of apparent neglect, Musser wants to take her in, if the dog will let her.

“I don’t know if she has been abused or is afraid. I call to her and she gets close enough for me to pet her head,” she said. “I am definitely going to end up spaying her. If she will stay, I will keep her.”

At first, Musser would get angry thinking about how the dog was abandoned.

“But she is better off with us then with the people who dropped her off,” she said. “She has touched the hearts of a lot of people in this neighborhood.”

Anyone interested in adopting the puppies can contact Musser at 740-886-6016.