Five Minutes Either Way

A lot can happen in five minutes. Five minutes either way.

Five Minutes Either Way
Stewie & Blanca

We have a new dog. No, not our other new dog, a new new dog. But our newest rescue dog is Facebook's fault. And partially your fault too. Got five minutes? Let me explain.

Some of you know we rescued a pit bull name Stewie a little over a year ago. And before Stewie, there was Leo, our first "rescue". Stewie was discarded under a bridge in Georgia because his owners no longer wanted him. Leo was rescued because his owner couldn't (or wouldn't) care for his mother after she became pregnant. Fortunately, others saw their value, rescuing Stewie and Leo giving them an opportunity for new lives.

Leo and Stewie
Leo and Stewie

I’m not on Facebook much. A while back, I deleted the apps to remove the temptation to "check Facebook" every five minutes. So whenever I use Facebook, I'm forced to connect with a browser which means I have to log in every time. The requirement to “log in” every time has been life changing, pretty much destroying any inkling of a desire I have to be on Facebook, so my visits are few and far between.

Despite my not frequenting Facebook, this week I needed that part of Facebook where you can buy and sell, Facebook Marketplace. I can sell the hay we grew this season on our ranch. Besides, I'm told Facebook Marketplace is now the cool place to buy & sell. No more onerous Ebay fees or the inevitable creeper meetups of Craig’s List of yore.

So I fire up FB Marketplace and before I list the hay, I get lost in the listings of used stuff you all have for sale. You know what I'm talking about. You have a lot of stuff. And that's probably why you're selling some of it. Five minutes later I find a listing for two steel assembly tables priced at 1/4 the cost of new. Could these be the shop tables I didn’t know I needed five minutes ago?

I contact the seller, they are still available, although he has several interested buyers. They appear to be in good shape, and the seller assures me photographically that they are. I jump in my truck and I’m off to the seller’s home. Turns out they are indeed the tables I now need. Sturdy, well built and gently used. With a fresh coat of paint, these will serve for years to come. Talking with the seller I learn he rescued them from the trash heap at work. He saw their value, despite a few minor scratches and scrapes.

This is why we can't have nice things, like an accurate inventory count, or complete packages of bolts, washers and nuts.

As I look around for the parts needed to reassemble them, the seller informs me that some of the hardware is…missing. I quickly look at the nuts & bolts and determine that I can get replacement hardware at Home Depot. Should take five minutes, I tell myself, simultaneously anticipating the agonizing task of sorting through the morass of bolts, washers and nuts in the dreaded hardware aisle. To those of you that act upon the hardware aisle with the equivalent of gale force winds, have you evernstopped to take a look at the mess you leave? Didn't your mother teach you to put things back where they go? This is why we can't have nice things, like an accurate inventory count, or complete packages of bolts, washers and nuts.

Because you didn't put things back where they go, my trip for hardware required a side trip to Lowe's to procure the remaining items. More time spent digging through bins to find the nuts and bolts you didn't put back in the right spot, and the extra trip to Lowe's, meant that I would be getting home close to dusk--much later than I planned. It's hard to remember a time when I've found everything I needed at Home Depot or Lowe's, but that's a story for another time.

On my way home with hardware in hand, I'm cruising down our country road when I see something moving. Mind you, most folks are doing 50-60 mph along this stretch of road because well you can. And it's not unusual to see movement on a Florida roadway, nor uncommon to see roadkill armadillos, snakes and even gators. But this movement seemed different. It wasn't crossing the road, it was moving along the road.

As I get closer I slow down to make sure I don't hit whatever it is, when to my surprise I see it's a puppy. A puppy? In the middle of this road? A road crossing a stretch of pasture land with nary a home in sight? But it's true. As I continue to slow down, moving to the side of the road, the puppy seeing my truck, crosses over the yellow line just as I pass. It's now heading towards me. My heart races. Is this puppy injured? Where's the owner? Why is it here and how did it get here? At this point, all I have are questions.

I pull over and stop to see if the puppy is ok. She isn't. As she scurries over to my truck, she does her best to raise herself up to meet me, lifting her small body up to the side step of my F-250. She can barely reach it. I can see she's hungry, dirty, has no collar and looks like she may be hurt. And those eyes. They're begging for help.

Blanca looking up at me
Oh those eyes. Blanca at the veterinary hospital

I sweep her up and put her in the back seat of my truck. Five minutes and we can be at the ranch, where I can try to patch her up, find her owner and to get her back to her home. Arriving at our barn, my wife and I check for injuries and identification. What at first looked like an injury, turned out to just be a lot of ground in dirt. Good. She is thirsty and very hungry. We give her water and a little bit of food. Not seeing any way to identify her, we call a 24-hour veterinary hospital and ask if they can scan her microchip and check her for other injuries. They can. I rush her to the veterinary hospital.

While awaiting her examination a nurse scans for a microchip--nada. No collar, no chip. I tell the nurse where I found her and that it's at least a mile from any homes, and there's no way to know from which direction she came. My desire to reunite her with her owners had hit a speed bump. The hospital staff searches Facebook. Nothing. They search various online lost pet forums in our community. Nothing. Animal Control. Nothing. We are rapidly approaching a dead end.

The veterinarian arrives and the examination begins. We don't wait long for the results. She has fleas, two ear infections, is dehydrated and exhausted. Wait...did you say fleas? Yes, fleas. In fact, two kinds of fleas. I didn't see them when I picked her up on the road. I didn't see them as we examined her at the barn. I didn't see them in the waiting room. But sure enough, there they are. The vet gives her a dose of medicine and assures me they will be dead in five minutes.

But it's what he says next that changes everything. He asks me to stop looking for her previous home and owner, telling me her condition is due to being left outside in the Florida summer heat. He sees signs of mistreatment. She is malnourished, dehydrated and hasn't had even basic veterinary care. She had been left unsupervised or ran away to search for food and water. No animal deserves such treatment. I wonder how could her previous owner allow this to happen to any animal, especially such a sweet one. With little hope of finding her home and a waning desire to do so, the advice of the vet still ringing in my ears, we head home.

As a general practice, we crate train our dogs, so we had a crate at the ready. As we arrive home, she settles in and immediately falls to sleep. Exhausted from her ordeal, she sleeps through the night. The next day a trip to the pet store for food, bedding and toys. Lots of toys.

Weeks like this one cause one to reflect. Five minutes. Five minutes either way and this week plays out very differently.

With the previously procured hardware installed, the shop tables are now complete. With a fresh coat of paint, they'll be just like new. Over the next few years, they will support dozens of farm and ranch projects. These are the tables where I will work with my grandsons and granddaughters, where we'll learn how to build things and repair the equipment we use to run this ranch. The table's previous owner believed these were nothing more than trash, but why? Could he not see their value? All patched up, these tables begin a new life.

Speaking of patching up. Blanca will be on medication for next few days to ensure she is healthy and happy. Her big brothers, skittish at first about this new creature, have by day four accepted her as part of their pack. The next day we decide to heed the vet's advice and we adopt her. To celebrate, we name her Blanca. Blanca has captured our hearts, just like Stewie and Leo before her. It's infuriating to think that someone saw so little value in each of them, that they were easier to discard than care for. Each left to a fate similar that which awaited these shop tables. In her new home, with her new pack, a new name, and a family that sees her as more than something to be discarded, Blanca begins a new life.

Leo, Stewie & Blanca

Weeks like this one cause one to reflect. Five minutes either way and this week plays out very differently. If I log on to Facebook five minutes later, these tables likely go to the other interested buyers the seller had lined up. If I don't buy these tables, I don't end up at Home Depot. If you don't mess up the hardware aisle, I leave Home Deport with a bag full of hardware and I don't stop at Lowe's. If I am on that road five minutes earlier or five minutes later, I don't see Blanca in the roadway.

I guess I owe Facebook my thanks for starting this chain of events and I owe you my thanks for messing up the hardware aisle. And no, I won't be reinstalling Facebook on my phone. By the way, let me know if you need hay. It's finally listed on Facebook Marketplace. I haven't sold any hay yet, but who knows what will happen in the next five minutes.