Hailey, The Invisible Dog. Or Ninja.

Thursday night I picked up Hailey, my second foster, freed from her death sentence by Half-Way Home Animal Rescue in Orland Park IL. They were worried that Riley, the basset hound mix that I was supposed to be getting that morning, would become anxious and hyper-stressed for the 8-10 hours a day he’d be alone while I worked.

So Riley went to a foster family with another dog for company.

Riley, Basset Hound mix, rescued from an open admission shelter in West Virginia by Half-Way Home Animal Rescue in Orland Park, IL.

Hailey was a last minute addition, and I agreed to both foster and sponsor her. She’s a tiny 12-lbs, cute-faced, silky-haired spaniel mix (now thought to be a dachshund mix). And when I picked her up Thursday, indeed, she was/is a cutie patootie.

I talked to Hailey all the way home, petting her from time to time. Hailey seemed at ease, napping peacefully on the ride home.

Sure she acted a bit reactive when I picked her up to get her from car to house. Okay, she absolutely freaked out at being outside to potty. Sure, Brittany did have to pull her reluctant (but non -shaking) body out of the kennel crate for the hand-off while telling me that Hailey was scared.

Of course, Hailey would be a bit scared out of her wits.

On foreign soil. Moving but stuck in yet another enclosure, surrounded by new strangers–some cats, some dogs, a human or two.

One day, you got a home. Maybe not the best place or the kindest humans, but familiar.

Then poof. Life upturned.

” WTF did I do to deserve this crap.”

Enduring a very long a** van ride from West Virginia. Surely a ride that must have felt like being kidnapped and wearing a blindfold (Can’ t see a da*n thing). Light turning to dark. Dark shadows. Then hands grabbing you and pulling you. Where now for god’s sake. Oh frack, thrust into the arms of another unknown human. Blurry shape: Oh heck, the one that’s taking me from the other human is ginormous. And she’s talking gibberish (though she knows my name). What accent is that? People don’t sound like that where I come from!!

H*LL. I’d be tired, confused, and scared as all get-out, too.

Where is an invisibility cloaking device when you need one?

Did I pack a ninja suit for disappearing into the darkness?

Chihuahua in ninja costume
Make Like a Ninja when in strange lands. Image Credit: Kisspng


When Hailey jumped up on the bed, after the unsuccessful potty stop outside, I was encouraged. I praised her. Lavishly. Okay maybe overdoing it some. But she looked at me as if to say, Yeah I’m a beast. I got this.

We settle into bed (I decided to let her sleep there as a reward for her trials and tribunals). She lays (if not nestles) into my arm.

She falls immediately into sleep.

When I awake for my own 4am potty break, I stroke her fur and tell her we have to go back to sleep.

After which something goes terribly wrong.

Around 5 am I hear a thud and immediately wake up. Lift my ostrich pillow off my eyes. Pat the space next to me. No Hailey.

I call her name. No Hailey.

I get up and start searching room to room. It’s a very compact living space–an open concept or studio type design (though both the bedroom and bathroom are individual rooms).


No Hailey. NO WHERE.

I am thinking. OMFG@#%$@! this dog has disappeared into the night (okay early morning). Poof.

Disappeared into the proverbial thin air. While I friggin slept.

I panic. Sure, it’s barely 7 am where my daughter lives…and she often sleeps in. But this is an emergency. [Besides, she’s used to her crazy a** mother calling, panicky high voice about the latest thing to have me spooked.]

Daughter theorizes that Hailey must have gotten out of the house. Because I mention to her that the back door was unlocked all night. I thought it shut tight. But after going up and down the backyard, searching the landscape, birds in morning song, I come back in and notice that the door can get caught, not closing all the way. Egads.

Oh NO, I scream into the phone. Hailey, my new foster dog, a dog I have had less than 24 hours musta gotten out. Maybe the door was open a bit after all and she broke free.

Yeah, it sounds crazy now.

The dog is all of 12 lbs. Most of it hair. And the doors are very, very, heavy.

But you get crazy thoughts when you’re in high alert, panic mode. All you know is that when you went to sleep, there was a dog right next to you. You remember petting her throughout the night for reassurance.

But now, there is no dog.

Hailey is invisible. Cloaked from human eyes. OR, a ninja.

At my wits end, I think that I’m going to have to call my rescue and fess up. I know it sounds crazy, but Hailey went missing while I was asleep. I checked my closet. The bottom kitchen cabinet to see if she jumped aboard the lazy Susan.

For a thrill ride, of course.

My daughter asks me if I am sure she is NOT under the bed. No. Well. She can’t be. Hailey is as tall as Candy was, Candy, my spirited, very smart, first foster dog, who never once tried to go under that bed. And I figured could not get under there in a million and one years. The clearance space under my bed frame is small. Maybe a chinchilla could make it, but not a dachshund-spaniel mix dog. Besides that was the first place I checked.


My daughter suggests that I turn on the flashlight app on my phone and look again. So I do it. I so am dreading calling the shelter to tell them I lost their dog.


I think I see some movement this time.

Now, two eyes peering back at me.

Oh frack, she was under the bed the entire 1 hour plus time I was looking for her. Screeching. Near tears. Frantically calling “Hailey.”

Hailey must have made like a chinchilla to get under there.

And there she has been since early Friday morning.


The only evidence that she has living form is the empty bowl of food. And the left-behind evidence that the dog needed to go out. Not on the ga-zillon potty pads that dotted the house. NO! Hailey jumped the makeshift barricade I created to cordon off the living room to deposit a trail of poop on the carpet and a bit of pee (yeah, TMI) near the front door.

Hailey, my new foster. Obviously a master at invisibility. A ninja.

Which is why I have ZERO pictures of her, excepting the one below that the rescue sent me in hopes I would take her in lieu of Riley (or the border collie, Shadow, which I hesitated over).

Rescue dogs from open intake shelter in West Virginia.
Hailey, Dachshund-Spaniel mix, visible here (far left corner) but showing her invisible dog, ninja talents since arriving in the Chicago South Suburbs

It’s Saturday early evening. I haven’t seen Hailey not once. Okay I thought I saw a Hailey blur. Venturing out but scrambling back to her safe house upon spying me. She’s a stealth artist too. The bits of chicken breast I put out to lure her out are gone. Didn’t see her. Didn’t hear her. My best guess being that she went swoosh, roll, and land (like a ninja) while I was in the living room on the phone.

How did she know when to make her move?

Right. Ninjas got skills.

When It Comes to Rescue Animals, You Probably Have It All Wrong (though not about many of the human animals who dump them)

Shadow, Border Collie mix, whom Half-Way Home Animal Rescue, Orland Park IL would like to “free”

Unless you have adopted or fostered a rescue companion animal. Then you probably know this:

Myth 8:  I’m unsure about getting a rescue dog, because I’m afraid he won’t bond to me.

That sound you hear is all the people with rescued dogs falling over laughing.  Because the exact opposite is nearly always true–your rescue dog will CLING to you.

Look at it from the dog’s perspective.  She’s spent the bulk of the last year on a 6-foot chain in someone’s back yard because she committed the unconscionable sin of no longer being a puppy.  At some point during the day, someone may remember to bring her food and water.  The only attention she gets is when they yell at her for barking.

Finally, they take her for a car-ride–dumping her in a wooded area where she can have a “fighting chance.” Despite everything, she waits there for their return or tries to get back home.  She finds water somewhere.  She raids trashcans and gets sick.  If she’s extremely lucky, she survives long enough for an animal lover to find her and bring her to the shelter.

Then she sits in the loud, scary shelter run, starting to lose faith that her family will ever find her.  The kennel people are nice, but she is one of a hundred needy dogs they have to care for.

Finally, the shelter calls us.  And you take her home.

You not only bring her into your house, you give her her own bed and bowl, and a crate where she feels safe.  You speak quietly.  When she messes on the carpet, you don’t seem to mind–you just take her outside and then clean it up.  You feed her regularly AND give her toys and treats and Nylabones.  She sleeps in your room.  She may even have a big brother or sister to play with.  She gets kisses.  And when she goes out in the car, she always comes back.

Your rescue dog’s biggest fear is that you will spontaneously combust.

She’s not going to let you out of her sight for one minute.  People with rescue dogs learn to function with a 70 pound shadow following us everywhere.

That said, there are some dogs who just never learned to connect with people, but that becomes apparent very quickly–long before we place him with you.

Source: Myths About Border Collies

I tripped across this article researching a possible foster. I was texting back and forth with Angie about Shadow, a border collie. By the time I saw the plea on the HWHAR FB page, all the smaller dogs had been taken. Shadow was one of the only dogs left that Half-Way Home Animal Rescue wanted to “free” from a high-kill shelter.

But then the family who had committed to one of the small dogs couldn’t do it.

So hooray! Tomorrow pm. I’ll now be picking up Riley, a basset hound mix. I don’t have any other particulars yet, other than this (not age, not weight, not what the other parts of “the mix” are.

But no matter.

I think Shadow made the “manifest.” I hope so. Like many animals, Shadow had a “due date.” Euphemism for being euthanized. And as often is the case, simply because there was NO room at the inn.

As of 2:00 this afternoon, Tasco had not.

Image may contain: dog
Tasco, a Dalmatian and ??? (Australian Shepherd maybe) with the sad, pleading eyes of a dumped in a shelter animal.

update: as of 10:00am July 7th, Shadow was not on the list. Tasco made it out alive.

As I have argued, there are many reasons why people give up their animals. Life is unpredictable, and sh*t happens. For many if not most people, giving up their animals is one of the hardest things they have had to do. Including even those who just dump their animal at the shelter or on the side of the road.

Okay maybe more than a few are just heartless people who just grew tired of the responsibility and see little wrong with dumping a living, loving animal like you would an old couch.

Which fries my a** @#!%$#@!! And sends me into one of my “human animals can be such a-holes” rants.

Besides spray and neuter (whose why not and why forths I won’t get into for now), it would help if more people would adopt homeless animals. Or foster if they can’t adopt. Part of the problem is the many negative myths about shelter/unwanted animals and adult animals in particular. It’s bad enough with dogs and cats. Now I am seeing more guinea pigs, chinchillas, reptiles, and of course rabbits, than ever before.

Which fries my a**.

But enough about that. Let me put on my smiley face and open my heart so Riley [Riley is out, more on that later] Hailey, a two-year old spaniel has a wonderful experience with us. One that helps him in her quest to become adopted. And one that reassures her that not all human animals are heartless a-holes.