Jackson families bound by love for abandoned dog
Jackson — An abandoned female dog that was on the run in Jackson for about a month has now found a forever home, thanks to the efforts of two families who didn’t give up in their efforts to find her and give her the care and the new life she desperately needed.
Pamela Marcouillier, speaking with The Republican Journal Friday afternoon, Sept. 21, recalled the story of how the little dog that was seemingly fearful of any human contact has since chosen her new owner, 15-year-old Kris Duquette, who has aptly decided to name his new companion Hope.
Marcouillier, who has experience with rescue dogs, said she immediately felt the need to help Hope when she and other neighbors first saw her sitting alone, abandoned in the turnaround at the top of Dixmont mountain in early August.
“What was left of her rope was there, and the dish that was left with her,” said Marcouillier.
While Hope stayed within a few miles of the spot where she was abandoned and returned to that spot often enough for locals to leave food and water to sustain her, Marcouillier said she was a challenge to capture.
“The more we tried, the more she ran,” said Marcouillier.
Marcouillier said the person most persistent in the search for Hope was Duquette, who spent countless hours in the woods around the mountain trying to make contact with the animal. Eventually, Marcouillier said, the boy’s efforts paid off.
Once Duquette started school earlier this month, Marcouillier said, Hope met the boy each morning when he boarded the school bus, and she was back again when he returned home from school. But even though Hope allowed herself to be seen, Marcouillier said, she would bolt any time Duquette tried to get near her.
Fast forward to Sunday, Sept. 16, when the Marcouilliers returned home from their wedding and honeymoon. That was when Marcouillier said Duquette was able to capture Hope in a large Have-A-Heart trap borrowed from Jackson Animal Control Officer Cindy Ludden.
The dog was severely underweight, had apparently had puppies fairly recently and suffered from a series of wounds in various stages of healing. In addition, sudden movements, loud noises and the sight of a leash would send the dog into an instant state of panic. Marcouillier said that it was clear she needed lots of love and a fair amount of medical attention before she would be ready to go home to Duquette, who by this time had decided he wanted to be Hope’s new forever owner.
Marcouillier said a trip to an area animal shelter proved disappointing, as there the families learned the cost of treating Hope would have been too great for the shelter to bear. Shelter officials suggested it might be best to euthanize her.
But Marcouillier and Duquette refused to give up, and Marcouillier said she took Hope to her family veterinarian at Belfast Veterinary Hospital. There, Marcouillier learned that Hope is between 2 and 3 years old and is likely a cross between a yellow lab, a German shepherd and some kind of hound. Marcouillier also learned that treating Hope’s injuries, updating her shots and spaying her could be done for about $500, so Marcouillier reached into her own pocket to start the process of treating Hope so she could go home to Duquette.
Aside from the vet bills, Marcouillier said, the Duquettes live on a busy road and would need to have their yard fenced in so Hope would have plenty of room to run without having to face the trauma of being hooked to a run or leash. After a statewide media outlet reported on Hope’s story early this week, Pine Tree Fencing in Litchfield offered the families 170 feet of fencing at half of their cost, and two of the installers, who are also dog lovers, agreed to donate their time to get the fence in place.
Donations for Hope have been trickling into the vet’s office as well, and though Marcouillier said they have a way to go before they reach their goal of raising enough to cover Hope’s medical costs, she said she is grateful for all the community has done to help.
Hope is adjusting quite well these days and now warms up to people easily, though she remains skittish around Marcouillier’s other two dogs and refuses to let Marcouillier out of her sight. Marcouillier and Duquette have shared the job of sleeping with Hope so she won’t be alone at night. Each day when Duquette returns home from school, he goes to Marcouillier’s home to visit with Hope, a time of day Hope meets with hops of joy and a wagging tail.
Marcouillier said Duquette celebrated his 16th birthday Saturday, Sept. 22, and planned to take custody of Hope the following day.
Marcouillier still gets emotional when she recalls how Hope got her name. Duquette asked friends at school to offer suggestions, none of which seemed to fit. Then one day, Marcouillier asked Duquette what he felt when he thought of the dog that had captured his heart.
“He said, “I feel a lot of hope,’” remembered Marcouillier. “It fit. She held hope; she held on. She gave us a chance to show her people aren’t all bad.”
Donations for Hope's care can be sent to Belfast Veterinary Hospital, 193 Northport Ave., Belfast, ME 04915 or call 338-3260.