Preparing to take her daughter to school in San Jose, Jisela opened her garage door, and in walked a large, friendly dog. She opened the car door, and he jumped in. He had a new collar and no tags, but he seemed like a good dog, so she decided to take him to her vet at Canyon Creek Pet Hospital to see if he was microchipped. Yes! He was registered with 24PetWatch.
We got the 24PetWatch call at 8 a.m. Monday morning asking us to first call Canyon Creek Pet Hospital, then Jisela, the lady who brought him in. Sure enough, it was Tyson. A dog lover herself, Jisela offered to meet me half-way at Starbucks in Los Banos.
Tyson appeared in the Madera Tribune around Jan. 4 on behalf of the Madera County Animal Services Adoption Center. Accustomed to having two or three dogs at a time and being down to only one, Bill (Jantzen) and I decided that if the dog was still at the shelter on Monday, we would go have a look at him. Our little Oreo needed a buddy.
It was love at first sight, even though he was much larger than we expected. Advertised at 45 pounds, he is a strapping 68 pounds of muscle. The shelter billed him as a cow dog. His origin was unknown — a stray runner that nobody claimed. The vet’s office called him a Catahoula, so we looked it up and he fit the description to a T — Catahoula Leopard Cattle Dog. Very friendly; hates to be alone; loves to run; sure enough that is Tyson (the shelter named him). He loves to ride in a vehicle and will jump into anybody’s car or truck if the door is open.
After only a few days, Tyson and Oreo became fast friends. Then came the fateful day, Jan. 21. Bill was walking both dogs in Lions Town and Country Park when two unrestrained, very large, mostly white pit bulls challenged them. Tyson decided to accept the challenge and dragged Bill in their direction. They broke away from their owners and attacked Tyson (Bill’s letter ran in the Tribune). Little 12-pound Oreo, seeing the fray, charged in to help. He jumped one of the pits. It turned from Tyson and went after Oreo, tearing open his throat and side, cutting the jugular vein. Oreo died on the way to the vet; Tyson had one bite on his neck and ear but was okay.
Now Tyson was the lonely, only dog in the house, mourning the loss of Oreo along with the rest of us. On Feb. 8, we went out to dinner at the home of some friends, leaving him alone in the house with access to the back yard through the dog door. His only possible escape route was a jump from a sawhorse to the top of the fence and into the neighbor’s yard where he dug out under their gate. About 9 p.m., a woman called my cell phone saying she had Tyson at Starbucks on Howard Road and would be there for another 15 minutes. My ringer was off, so I didn’t notice the message until after 10 p.m. By then, she was gone and Tyson was on his own.
We had heard nothing of him until now. His name and number were on his tags along with his license and shot tags. He was due for his next Trifexis tablet on March 7. As friendly as he is, we were perplexed that nobody had called us or the police or the shelter, dead or alive. Because we heard nothing, we feared the worst while praying for the best. Now, Monday March 10, Tyson is “home” once again. We are hoping this article will encourage pet lovers to microchip their animals so their stories will have happy endings like our story. Jisela refused the reward we had offered, so we will make a donation to the shelter’s microchip fund instead and maybe get another companion for Tyson.