After we bought this place in the summer of 2005, I went back to work to finish up my final project at UCLA, while Errol took time off to fix up this run-down house that we had bought. Sometime that winter, a dog was wandering around, looking for food and water at the Donkey Rescue and also at our house.
Glenn had bought a house in town here and the guys spent their nights there. One day, as they left our place, the dog began to run after the truck. It was winter, snowy, and even though Errol knew we had enough dogs, a cat, and a bird he stopped and let her come with them. For some strange reason we named her Princess.
Errol brought her to Los Angeles to meet me and our dogs, Angel and Bandit, our cat, Sindbad, and bird, Pippi Birdie. All went well and Princess was added to our pack.
While in LA, our neighbor said she thought Princess was a black Lab/border collie cross. Later, she proved herself to be both and saved a life. Bandit's life.
Princess spent the winter with Errol and Glenn. Errol took this series of photos of Princess. He was standing below a steep cliff, with Princess up above.
Some years later, on another winter's day, we took Bandit, Angel and Princess for a hike in the hills to the east of us. The dogs were off leash, as they usually were and all was good. Then, in the blink of an eye, Bandit was gone. By now, Bandit was an old dog, hard of hearing, with practically no fur on his tummy, so would not have survived a cold winter's night outside.
We were beside ourselves, how could we be so stupid? He couldn't hear us calling, it was getting late, it was getting colder. I was so upset, I felt I wasn't helping any and told Errol I was taking Angel home, maybe that would give him and Princess a better chance of finding Bandit. Errol agreed and we left, Angel and I. I felt worse than I think I ever had.
After what seemed like forever, they came back home, all three of them. Errol told me a fabulous story of a rescue. The landscape where we hiked consists of steep hills. After searching for a while, Errol thought to go back to where he last saw Bandit. Once there, he somehow managed to get Princess to understand she was to find him. Once she got it, she set off up a completely different hill from where Errol thought Bandit may have gone. She ran straight up to the top, looked down the other side, and waited.
Errol climbed up the hill as fast as he could and, sure enough, there was Bandit in the canyon below. Doing what he did best, what any good hound will do, sniffed and sniffed, with not a clue about how dire his circumstances would have become had he not been found.
From then on, this marvelous dog became a real Princess to us, or better yet, our Hero. Our hero dog who could do nothing wrong.
Princess was with us for four and a half years, I wrote in my obituary for her here on the blog. She was about 11 or 12 when she suddenly started bleeding internally. Our vet diagnosed her with a gastric tumor and felt it was too late to save her life with surgery.
The vet had a sad call with Errol, who was in Los Angeles, and then I had to say goodbye to this wonderful dog. I cried so, I went to my car and just cried my heart out. One of the women in reception came after me and just held me and told me how sorry she was. I will never forget that.
During the time Princess lived with us, we found out from a friend that her original owner was a strange woman who lived up above us. She was thought to use meth and was known to drive around our country roads at night, without her her car lights on, looking for aliens descending from the sky above. We also learned that she had left Princess alone for two weeks to go up north for the holidays. The guy who told us this said he would never let her know we had her dog because he thought it unforgivable to leave a dog in the cold, with not enough food and water, for that long. Apparently Princess agreed with this and decided to find a new home for herself.