Turns out I’m both a very good wrangler and a lousy one. Details to follow. Hoo boy.
The day started sedately and normal enough. Except there was this strange haze in the air. Like smog or fog that wouldn’t burn off. Yep, turns out there are forest fires somewhere here. That’d be all over here in northern and central Wyoming. Hopefully, I won’t be bumping into any up close and personal. So, that meant that all my photos have a kind of dull rusty horizon background. And a good part of the day, despite the sun’s trying, it could barely filter through. By the time I got to Cody, it was sort of ridiculous. Very thick and irritating to breathe.
Here’s the hazy horizon that I’m talking about — from first thing this morning in Lander:
More from Lander:
On to Jeffrey City for this one — not much else there. Not even a gas station which I had sort of counted on. But I had just enough to make it back to Lander. See that brownish haze on the horizon?
A Sinclair ghost sign in Hudson:
From Shoshoni. The motel is gone but this sign remains:
From Worland. I believe this was a Neo-Lectra Jr.:
I don’t know what happened to that arm on the bottom:
A couple from Greybull, WY as the sun was nearly gone:
OK then. Today’s big adventure — or misadventure — depending on how it all turns out. To be continued tomorrow. No, Sparkle’s running just fine, day after day, hour after hour.
So, in the metropolis (not) of Thermopolis, it all went down. As I was shooting the A&W Family, I noticed this little black & tan dog with a red collar, scurrying about. I watched to see if anyone was paying attention — it crossed the road — 4 lanes — supposedly 25 but lots of cars going faster. Not good. I watched for a while, then put the camera in the van and knew what I had to do. I got some cheese and a leash and followed the dog slowly around through people’s back yards, front yards, a trailer park, a car service place. Asking folks if they’d seen the dog, anyone knew the dog. Nope.
So definitely a stray situation — and a very timid dog. Not overly skinny but I definitely had a feeling he’d been on the streets more than a few days. And the clincher: absolutely my type. One of the cutest dogs I’d ever seen. A purebred MinPin but longer legs than my Grem. Narrower face. Agile and FAST. I’ll admit, had it been a fat Cocker Spaniel or a big German Shepherd, I would not be as determined.
I managed to bring the dog in to me by lobbing bits of hot dogs and cheese ever closer. And rather than approaching, I walked away slowly & encouraging the dog to follow me. Talking softly and praising when he did. Letting the dog make the choice. After about an hour, I had the dog nearly taking food from my hand. Every time I’d move my other hand though, he’d scurry off. I had a leash looped for a noose if he got close enough. But the slightest movement of that leash and he’d scamper. So, finally, I saw my chance, I put my index finger through his red collar (no I.D. by the way) and the wrestling match began. I had a spinning, flipping, screaming baby gator on my hands. Quite literally. I don’t have a photo of the dog but I’ll share the gore with you:
Uh, yes, it hurts to type. Yes, it’s swollen. About three punctures — one very deep next to the base of my thumb. But I’ve had worse from Gripper when she was younger. It’ll be alright.
So, I thought I’d gotten the noose around his neck but it slipped off and that was that. He won. Or actually, we both lost. All in about 3 seconds, everything had changed. He no longer trusted me and I kicked myself all day about how I’d only made matters worse because there’s NO WAY he was gonna ever get close to a human again.
I continued trying but he was even more frantic. He even dove in the nearby river and began swimming upstream. I have never seen a stronger swimmer before, any size, and my lust to catch and own this dog only tripled. All together, I probably lost about two hours of prime shooting time. And then I thought about him all day. When it the road signs said “steep grades ahead” and it was in the direction of all the smoke, I thought better of it. I looked at the map and decided I would try to catch that damned dog, again. I worked out a new route that wouldn’t involve mountain passes.
Arrived back in Thermopolis at dusk — asked folks, yep, they’d seen him just a half hour ago. So at least he wasn’t hit by a car today while I was hauling butt back down here. His strategy seems to be getting snacks from the A&W and the McDonald’s — and hanging out about mid-distance between. There’s a river for drinking and some green grass which he seems to like sleeping in. The cops all know the situation (and me now). They ARE the animal control in town. And they seem both uninterested and unskilled at dog-catching. I’ve spread word with the neighbors who’ve gotten used to my presence on their properties. Although I saw him a few times when I got here tonight, I didn’t want to push it since cars were driving faster on the road and there was less visibility. Tomorrow, I’ll give it my best shot for a couple hours. He’ll be hungrier then. I’ll set a deadline and then hit the road for Casper, either way. I think my odds of catching the bugger are very, very slim at this point — but just something I have to try.