Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Tom and Jerry, and the Ghost Town

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Newlyweds Jerry and Liz with "a few" of their blended family!
Gus, a Yorkie; Daphney, the Border Collie; and their famous new sister Fancy the Pomeranian whose harrowing story of survival is featured in today's pet story.


Liz, an animal lover, moved to Cottage Grove three years ago. She was widowed and wanted to meet like-minded people. She surmised that volunteering at the Humane Society's This 'n' That thrift-gift shop, at 8th and Whitaker would introduce her to wonderful people.

At the shop she told us this fur-raising story about her dog, Fancy, when they were living in Bullhead, Arizona!

"My friend and I, along with his dog and mine, drove to a remote ghost town for breakfast.  When we arrived it was 90 degrees so rather than leaving the dogs in the truck's cab, he parked in the shade and leashed the dogs in the truck's bed.  I was uncomfortable leaving Fancy where anyone could nab her, but he assured me that his dog would protect her and not let anyone near the truck.

After breakfast, we returned and discovered Fancy's leash and collar hanging over the side of the truck.  I was relieved to know she had not strangled herself jumping out of the truck's bed, but horrified to think this fluffy, spoiled dog was lost in coyote country!

My friend and I formed a posse and spent hours trying to hunt her down!  I posted two LOST signs on the post office's bulletin board.  The town's Events Coordinator announced Fancy's disappearance over the loud speaker that they use when staging mock gunfight shows.  We were hopeful, but Fancy remained at large!

Another danger for Fancy was her thick fur coat.  The day burned on to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Knowing that Fancy was not street smart and that she was running loose as night fell in a coyote area, I was devastated and cried all the way home.  The odds of ever finding her alive were slim.

Early the next morning, I drove back to the ghost town. By now, that name was haunting me!  I called "Fancy", walked the streets and checked in at the post office. One of the LOST notices was missing, so I drove home hoping someone would phone saying that they located her.  Once again, I cried all the way home.

A voice on the answering machine said, "I think we may have found your dog!"  The dog's description sounded a bit like Fancy, so I anxiously drove back.

No wonder their description did not resemble my dog!  In 24 hours Fancy was barely recognizable!  She had encountered a vicious cactus and it's painful stickers were embedded into her coat, feet, and mouth!  She was limping and thrilled to see me! 

The couple told me that Fancy had been hiding under a car.  They tried to coax her out, but she would not come to them.  They kept going back, but she remained under the vehicle, probably because she couldn't walk, but eventually she hobbled out for food and water.  They rescued her and phoned me.

I drove her home and boy did she look pathetic!  Her matted fur was full of stickers. I painstakingly picked hundreds of them out of her coat, gums, tongue, and from in between her toes and foot pads.  They were in her mouth because she was trying to pull them out of her feet.

I almost lost this 1-1/2-year old dog that I've had since her birth when a relative's dog had a litter of Pomeranian puppies. I told my husband, Tom, "I want a fancy dog"; thus, her name, Fancy.  (My daughter's horse's name is Fancy,also, so it is a family pet name!)

Fancy is spoiled so it is a miracle that she survived the wild west, the coyotes and that vicious cactus!

Liz's happy news, after the tragedy of losing Tom 4 years ago, is that she was a June bride with her  Cottage Grove neighbor!

"Jerry is a gem-a rare find," proudly announces Liz. "He is the kindest man.  We were both widowed, and love children and pets.  We are grateful for finding love and companionship."

Because this is a pet column with a sense of humor, it can't go without mentioning that Liz  married both a Tom and a Jerry, names synonymous with cat and mouse cartoon characters!

Liz and Tom had 5 children; their two boys are named after Tom and his best friend, Jerry.

"At the time, we hadn't thought of the connection to the cartoon names! As it turns out their names are perfect!  A houseful of children is filled with crazy and humorous events!" laughs Liz.

Jerry has 9 children, including a son named Jerry. He arrived into the marriage with Matthew, his 11-year-old grandson whom he has parented since Matthew was 11 months old; Matthew's two dogs, Daphne and Gus; a lizard, Liz; 3 frogs; a fish; and a bird.

"It is a zoo around here!" laughs Liz.  She doesn't mind that Matthew's lizard is her namesake because it adds another dimension of name humor to their family.    

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