Stinky's Humble Beginnings
(written November, 2004)
The day before Thanksgiving in 2001, while driving in their van on County Road 630 in Polk County, Florida, Karen Lee and her husband, Jim, rescued an abandoned, abused, sickly puppy. Speeding trucks full of oranges from the morning's harvest dodged her as she sat waiting for them, on the white line marking the edge of the two-lane highway. The Lees didn't see her at first, as they zoomed by at 60 miles an hour. Simultaneously, they turned to each other and exclaimed, "It's a PUPPY!" Half a second later, "It's a border collie!" Jim pulled over onto the shoulder of the road, and Karen leapt from the van. Having had several extremely unfortunate experiences with attempts to rescue dogs, cats, and gopher turtles from highways, Karen was cautious. She was concerned that the puppy may have been feral, and afraid of people. Approaching the puppy might have sent her directly into the path of a multi-ton mass of racing fruit truck. So, Karen crouched down, more than ten feet back from the edge of the highway, down into the sandspurs and briars of the typical roadside scrub of central Florida. She called, "Here, Puppy, Puppy, Puppy!" The little dog evidently couldn't see Karen, but she heard her and immediately started air scenting to find the source of the human voice. The puppy ran into the center of the road, heading in the general direction of the Lee's van. Karen had a severe attack of panic, thinking that in the last few seconds before her rescue, the puppy would be hit by a truck. Just in time, the puppy spied the crouching human and ran toward Karen, launching into her outstretched arms. The puppy squealed with evident relief, joy, and ravenous hunger. She bit at Karen's ears and face maniacally.
Karen had a very strong stomach and was not prone to vomiting, but the smell of that puppy caused her to retch. The puppy smelled like diarrhea and decaying flesh with the essence of kerosene. What a little stinker! The Lees immediately took her to a local veterinarian (one that was unknown to the Lees, at the time), thinking she would have to be euthanised. As they entered front door of the vet office, all other patients and their humans cleared the waiting room due to the overwhelming stench from the mongrel in Karen's arms. The receptionist asked, "What do you want us to do with that?" Karen replied, "We found this puppy, and we want to see if you can help her!" The only response from the skeptical clerk was a sneer. Karen said, "We have money, we're going to pay!" The receptionist asked, "And then, what?" To which Jim replied, "Of course, we're gonna keep her!"
After besting the reluctant receptionist, the Lees were allowed to see the vet. Much to their surprise, the doctor examined the pitiful wretch and proclaimed her to be a "Diamond in the Rough!" He diagnosed her as having a severe total-body case of highly-contagious scabies and mange, and told the Lees that she had recently been dipped in burned motor oil, a common redneck treatment for mange. Horrified, the Lees told the vet that they would take responsibility for the puppy and that she would join their family. Karen mentioned that, after her recovery, maybe she would even become an agility dog. The vet looked at the little dog and said, "Stinky little puppy, I think you just won the lottery!"
Eight weeks of quarantine and several medical treatments later (Karen had to take a shower each time she touched the puppy, which was four times a day, for eight weeks!), little Stinky grew to became a healthy dog with a beautiful coat! She is now Panther Lake's Lucky Stinker, CGC, OA, NAJ, AD. Stinky is the apple of Jim's eye, and is Karen's canine freestyle (doggy dancing) partner. Stinky is quite a ham in front of an audience, she absolutely loves to dance, and also loves dog agility.
The Lees travel all over Florida and the USA, attending dog agility events with Stinky and their other dog, a Border Collie named Carly, when they're not at home in Islamorada in the Florida Keys. They support Karen's dog agility habit by working as mortgage brokers in their mom & pop mortgage business, Conch Republic Mortgage Corp. (November, 2004)