Someone has to be missing her; she’s too well-behaved, too calm and too healthy not to have been someone’s beloved pet.
She doesn’t jump, she stays off of the furniture unless she’s told she can get up, she’s chill on car trips and greets everyone.
She’s gentle with children and kind to adults and other animals (save for squirrels; they drive her nuts).
“She was well taken care of,” Leigha Messick, the volunteer and outreach coordinator at the Humane Society of Charles County, said of the white and fawn-colored boxer/bulldog mix dubbed Fancy. “She was obviously loved.”
On Jan. 21, Fancy was found near Pisgah, limping out of the woods to a man who had stopped because nature called.
The dog, estimated to be about 5 or 6 years old, had a bear trap clamped on her left front leg.
The limb was all but severed.
The man called Charles County Animal Control and the dog, who was wearing a collar but no tags, was taken to VCA Specialty Animal Hospital in Waldorf where she underwent surgery.
There was no saving the leg and it was amputated about where an ankle would be on a person Fitted with a prosthetic leg when asked what color it should be Messick said it was a no-brainer, “She’s a girl, so pink” Fancy was taken to the humane society where she was sure to be adopted or reunited with her family immediately.
After all, everyone loves an underdog, right? One-eyed cats are snapped up in a heartbeat, Messick said.
Fancy, with her housebroken ways and charming personality, would be the perfect pet for a family with kids whom she could roughhouse with, or a person who was seeking companionship with such a well-behaved dog, Messick and the other shelter staff thought.
But it didn’t work out that way. Fancy, like so many other sweet, good dogs, just didn’t click with potential adopters, didn’t catch anyone’s eye, but she did with temporary foster family the Brambletts of Waldorf.
Because of their lifestyle up and out of the house in the early-morning hours, city jobs with travel required Rick and Ruth Bramblett don’t want to officially adopt a pet because they wouldn’t be able to devote the time needed to give the animal the attention it deserves.
So instead, to fill the need of helping animals the Brambletts volunteer at the humane society. For more than a year, the couple, originally from Southwestern Virginia, as their drawls prove, stop by the humane society to walk the dogs, donate dog treats or drop off home-baked cookies or brownies Rick whips up for the staff.
They started fostering Fancy on the weekends, taking her on walks around their neighborhood. She only wears the prosthetic during walks; she can get around without it pretty well now, although at first she was a little wobbly.
“There is nothing she can’t do,” Rick said. “And if she sees a squirrel … do you want to see her fly?”
Ruth added, “She’s very adaptable. … She’s extremely smart and knows her commands like sit, lie down. She’s one of the smartest, well-trained dogs we have ever known.”
The couple usually picks Fancy up on Thursday night and returns her to the shelter on Monday afternoon.
Although Fancy arrived at the shelter well-socialized, Messick said fostering an animal helps it become ready for a full-time family.
But fostering isn’t the only volunteer opportunity at the shelter, she said.
For any age, any skill set, there is work that can be done.
“There are tons of volunteer opportunities,” Messick said.
Walking dogs, spending time with the cats, doing the filing, helping clean, wash and fold towels or volunteering with the group’s yard sales, the humane society staff can find a job for anyone who wants to help, she said.
“Every skill you have, we can use,” Messick said.
Shelter staff are devoted to finding loving homes for the animals and are hopeful Fancy will be taken in, despite having three and a half legs.
“She doesn’t think she’s disabled,” Rick said.
Ruth runs her hand over the caramel-colored fur of a half-napping Fancy, who lifts her head to look at her, sighs and goes back to resting.
“She’s a survivor,” Ruth smiled.