I drove through Yosemite, but all the forests and camp grounds were closed. There seemed to be many hovering rain clouds, making patchwork in the sky. I stopped plenty of times to capture the crazy atmospheric clouds that were shaping around mountain tops and over many lakes.
I was driving in between two mountain ranges, for what seemed to be a few hours. On the right to me, facing west was the Sequoia National Forest, and to the left facing east was Death Valley National Park.
I decided it was that time to find a spot to park for the night, so happened to be in a small town named Lone Pine. Population 2,035 recorded in 2010. It was safe to say that I wasn’t missing much in this town, so I almost immediately crashed in the back of Stan for the night.
The next morning I opened my curtains, and there had been farm animals scampering on the other side of the wire fence. A mini horse trotted right up to me, and I saw baby lambs prancing back and forth onto one another. My morning was made after seeing such bliss, and I was back on the road.
Half way out of town, 2 blocks and some feet, I saw a dog running around the neighborhood, close to the only main road this town had.
I pulled over, got out, and called the dog closer to me. The dog didn’t hesitate, and frolicked over for a friendly hello. He was a black lab pit mix, I noticed he was a full grown pup, and then he had jumped right into my van. The pup made himself comfortable by laying his head down, ready to hit the road with me.
He had a collar that was too tight for him by a notch, and he was hot and hungry. However, he seemed to be healthy and happy, and just looked like he could use some human attention and affection.
What the heck am I going to do about this dog now?
I went around the town asking the few people who popped out of their houses about any recollection of this dog, or the owner of this dog. Each time I would get out of Stan, the dog came out after sniffing hello and getting pet on the head and then he headed back in the van.
Nobody knew who this dog was, or who he belonged to. The next step was to go the Sherriff’s substation, which was no more than 6 blocks away. I arrived, and nobody was at the substation to answer the trailer door. It was a ghost town in the heat, and nobody was there.
The next thing I did was called an animal shelter, the closest one Google could find me. A lady answered the phone and asked me some questions about the dog. The breed, color, healthy, unhealthy, malnourished, ect….Then she said she was 15 minutes away, gave me directions and then we hung up. I was confused by the directions she gave me, so I called her back. “We don’t actually have a real address”, she said. I was confused, but eventually we figured out that I wasn’t in the town she thought I was in. The shelter was actually a hour and a half north of Lone Pine, and I was headed south. “Why don’t you try on going to the Sheriff’s substation in town?”
I said “I already went there, and nobody was around” hoping that she had another resource in mind. “Oh.” She said in a devastating non-hopeful response. “We could get someone there in 3 hours? Maybe? Let me call the Sheriff’s department just to make sure”
We both hung up the phones, and felt despair.
I saw two men standing near the intersection that I first saw the dog running down. I drove to the end of the street, opened my door to ask them, and then the dog came piling out from the back and straight out of my driver side door. I hadn’t even unbuckled yet.
I told these two guys about my morning, and how this dog jumped in my van and I am trying to find the owner. “It could be a res dog”, one of the men said. “What is a res dog? I replied. “A reservation dog, where people that live way out in the mountains, have many dogs, and some just get away and go off on their own adventure.” I told them I was on my way to L.A., and I had a scheduled photo shoot the next day, so I couldn’t stick around town time around. Immediately the older man said “I already have 3 dogs, I can’t take in no more…” and the younger of the two said “Damn. I can’t take a dog in, but what we can do is keep an eye out for this dog.” I felt like that was all that could have been done, and that was my out, and had to take it.
While driving between the mountains for a few hours, I was hoping this dog was going to get some love. Rolling into Los Angeles with this sad mindset was something I wanted to shake off. It just never went away.
My time in LA - next