Hudson -- the Lovable Dog -- and How He Created the Perfect Life for Himself
by David Yarian, Ph.D.
Hudson wanted to tell his story in his own words, so here it is:
I waited quite a few days for David and Sandi to discover me. My previous owners had shoved me out of the back of the truck at the Wilscot Gap parking area on the Dahlonega highway in the North Georgia mountains. I was bewildered -- why were they driving away without me, their dearly loved dog? The children were looking out the rear window of the pickup as I dashed after them, but then they were gone.
I paced up and down and sniffed all around the parking area, and finally settled down on a patch of grass under the big shade tree to wait for them. They'll be back soon, I thought. Although I'd never been pushed out this way before, they had left me at home sometimes. They'll be back for me. I just knew it.
They never returned. I stood by the road and watched each car and truck as it roared by. Whenever someone pulled into the parking area, I trotted over to them with my tail held high. Most of them shooed me away, but a few petted me and talked to me. But then they drove away too.
After many days and nights of worrying and trying to find food, several trucks came to park in the parking area. I went over to investigate, my stomach rumbling. I was thirsty, and the bugs and termites I had found to eat had left me very hungry. Workers piled out of the vehicles and began to unload their mowing equipment. Maybe my family sent them, I thought. But they chased me away, and didn't offer me anything to eat, even though I could tell they had plenty of food with them.
By that time it was getting hot, so I crawled under one of the trucks to lie in the shade. That way I could be close to the men, but they couldn't reach me to try to kick me. They went off to do their mowing, and when they finished, they came back and stood around the truck, drinking water and smoking and telling jokes. I crawled out to try being friendly again, but one of them tried to kick me so I went back under the truck to wait in the shade.
I saw David and Sandi before they saw me. They parked their car under the tree where I slept in the heat of the day. I watched them take their daypacks out of the trunk, lace up their hiking boots, and head out across the highway to the trail on the other side of the road. I had caught a mouse over there yesterday, so I knew that trail led down to a little creek.
I made up my mind. The guys in the trucks weren't going to feed me, and probably would try to kick me again. Forget them! I loped across the parking lot and headed across the highway just as Sandi and David disappeared into the woods. I followed them for a few minutes in the cool shade, staying several steps behind them in case they didn't want to be friendly.
Suddenly Sandi saw me and said, "David, look! That dog? From the parking lot? He's following us!" They stopped and I stopped and gave them my best smile. I wagged my tail a little, trying to be respectful and not seem overeager. David took a few steps toward me and said "Shoo -- go on! Get back there!" I tucked my tail and turned and took a few steps back towards the road. I did look over my shoulder, just in case they might change their minds.
Sandi said, "Look, he's starving! What are we going to do?"
"Take him back across the road where he belongs," David said. "What do you mean, what are we going to do?"
"I don't think he belongs to them," Sandi said. "Look at his ribs. He hasn't eaten in days." I smiled at her. She was smart, and understood things.
"Well let's go see. We can't have him following us." David headed back towards the highway. Sandi went with him, and I went too. My head and tail were low as we crossed the road again.
They walked over to the workmen. I stayed behind with my tail tucked. I knew those guys and they didn't want to have anything to do with me. "Hi," David said. "Is this your dog?" He gestured back at me.
The guy with the big belly laughed and spit. "Naw -- he ain't ours. I been seeing him up here the last few days, each time I drove by. The first time I seen him, I thought he was a deer, running across the highway." The other guys leaned on the truck and grinned at his cleverness.
Sandi said to David, "We can't leave him here. We --."
"Why not? We can't take him with us."
"Well, let's just let him walk with us if he wants to. He's not hurting anybody."
"Okay, all right, but let's get going. It's getting later and we've got six miles on this trail." David headed back across the highway. Sandi and I followed behind. I was thinking she was really smart, for a person.
We walked across the road and into the woods again. The narrow trail wound around the curves of the foothills, going deeper and deeper into the forest. Pretty soon you couldn't hear anything from the road. I was a little scared to leave the parking area, but by then I was pretty sure my family was gone for good.
After we walked a long time David and Sandi stopped to rest and relace their boots. I sat down and watched them.
"David, he's so hungry. Let's give him some of our food." I liked this woman! I smiled hopefully at them, first at Sandi and then at David.
"What? Then he'll never leave. You give him some food and he's never going to . . . "
"I'll just give him my boiled egg. He's starving, look at his ribs. He doesn't even have a collar. I wonder who let him out way up here?"
I couldn't believe my luck. Sandi opened her pack and unwrapped this shiny white thing. When she held it out to me I cautiously came forward and sniffed it. Food! I took it from her and swallowed it in a gulp, wagging my tail gratefully.
"Wow, did you see that?" Sandi said. "He's really really hungry! Don't you want to give him your egg too?"
"No, I don't -- well, okay, you can give it to him." David rose a bit in my estimation in that moment. Sandi unwrapped the other white thing and I wolfed it down. She shook her head as she put the papers back in her pack.
I followed them for six miles that day, up and down hills, all the way up to the summit of Brawley Mountain and back again. My feet hurt and I thought I would faint from hunger, but I sure didn't want to get left out there. So I followed them all the way back to their car.
That's how it began, with Sandi and David and me. I think they're my family now. It's been six years now and they show no signs of wanting to get rid of me. I escape from the back fence occasionally and they seem to want to get me back. It's a little complicated -- when I escape I don't want anybody to catch me, but at the same time I'm desperately frightened about being left alone. So far, each time I get out we've managed to get back together. It's only been a few times anyway, like when the lawn guy leaves the gate unlatched and I have to check it, and the next thing I know, I'm out. But maybe I'll stop checking the gate, it's not really so much fun when I escape.
David and me resting after yoga
Life is good. I get to stay in the house, and I sleep on my bed in the music room or on my bed in the yoga studio, or on the couch in the living room that has my sheet on it. Sandi lets me come to yoga class, and I greet everyone and then we all do yoga together. David takes me for a walk every morning and every night. Sandi gives me lots of special treats. My current favorite is chicken stock poured over my kibble.
On Thursdays I go to Pup Scouts and visit all my friends there. I stay all day and we play and run a lot. I come home tired and collapse on my bed. On the weekend David and Sandi take me to the Dog Park and that is really fun. There are always new dogs there and I get to rip and run with them and have a great time.
Whenever Sandi or David run errands I usually go in the car, although I have to ride in the back seat. I like going to the drive-in bank best -- they give me treats when they send the little tube thing back. In the summer we go sailing on the boat. I like chasing the ducks on the dock when we get back.
Sandi and me posing for the photographer
I'm a happy dog with lots of friends and no more worries about food and being left by my family. Every time I hear a motorcycle go by, I remember something, but I'm not sure what. I look at them, but they always keep on going.
P.S. I like listening to Sandi's new CD. Sometimes I sing along with her during the song part. I think you might like it too.
Thought you might like to see a picture of me that ran in an issue of All the Rage! This was an article about one of my favorite places to go, the East Nashville Dog Park in Shelby Park.