Early Monday morning, as I was walking down Prospect Street on my way to campus, I caught sight of an emaciated dog trailing behind a student, weaving in his footsteps. The student was shouldering a cello and in a hurry. I saw several people glance at the dog —who had no collar — with concerned expressions, but they seemed unsure about what they should do. In the end, they did nothing.
I caught up to the creature at the intersection of Trumbull and Prospect streets, along the site of the Prospect Street bridge repair. A couple of construction workers and I coaxed the dog towards us and kept her close. She appeared to be an American pit bull terrier and very young, her coat a brindled charcoal and orange. Her head reached to about my knees. She nuzzled against my leg and looked up with quizzical eyes set in a pleasant face, her muzzle wide like an alligator’s. She was astonishingly gentle and trusting. But her protruding ribs, spine and hips made it clear that she was starving; either she was a stray or had been terribly neglected.
She made a strong impression on all of us. One of the construction workers seemed particularly smitten; he kept remarking how friendly she was. But he also seemed particularly troubled: he brought up a show on Animal Planet about mistreated animals and wondered how anyone could be cruel or negligent enough to let this happen.
I called the Yale University Police Department and explained the situation. Though it took a transfer to another part of the department and second call to Yale Police, eventually, I was told an officer was en route. We tied up the dog, who was now sipping water from a dish brought over by a woman from a neighboring building. I hung around for a while and chatted with the two construction workers and the woman, who assured me that they would wait for the officer to arrive.
The dog seemed to be in good hands, and so I left. After all, I had somewhere to be. But a few minutes later I felt a pang of remorse that I hadn’t stayed. I wondered what would happen to the dog. To be honest, before I left, I had thought about taking her home. If the dog did have an owner, I reasoned — barring extraordinary circumstances — the owner didn’t deserve to have her back.
A desire to learn the dog’s fate, and a sense of guilt, brought me back to the construction site on Tuesday. It turned out that, while a few people had expressed interest — the construction worker among them — the police officer ended up taking her in. His wife saw the dog and was in love. Her name was now Daisy.
Stray animals are uncommon on campus, but every so often one appears. It’s easy to keep walking and ignore them, but I would encourage people to make an effort on their behalf. Of course, one should always exercise caution when approaching an unknown animal, but it’s often possible to help without risking one’s safety. You too could end up with a heartwarming story, knowing your actions brought Daisy a home.
Edward Pickering is a graduate student in the English department.