Over two years ago, a puppy was seen running around in the woods and swamp land in North Myrtle Beach-Cherry Grove area just off 24th Avenue. I watched the paper and called the Humane Society, hoping someone would be looking for a lost dog. No one was looking for a lost dog, therefore I thought the Humane Society would try to rescue the dog. This did not happen as the dog was in the woods, and the Humane Society claimed they could not set a trap for the dog. I continued to watch for the dog from day to day and began leaving food in the woods for him. Sometimes, it would be a week or 10 days before I would see the dog and was unable to get it to come to me. Time passed, and the dog was growing and was no longer a puppy. He was very afraid of people. I continued to put food out for him and called to him, calling him "good boy," and he started to pay attention to me. Later, I decided to call him Hobo, and he began to come when I put food out for him.
Over time, I contacted rescue organizations and asked for help in getting Hobo rescued. No one showed any interest, and some did not even bother to respond. After a year and 6 months passed, I was able to get him to come to the side of the road to eat. I was feeding him twice a day, and he would come and wait for me to take him food. I talked to him and would try and get him to come close; however, I never tried to touch him, as I did not know what illness he might have, or if he would be calm with me.
This past winter was so cold and one of the worst we have had in a long time. I was so concerned about Hobo staying warm and let people in the neighborhood know of my concerns. A wonderful neighbor came forward and gave me a large igloo dog house, which I put in the woods, with a blanket and cedar shavings in it. Through the winter I cooked chicken, took all the bones out and warmed it every day to mix in dog food for him, as I felt the warm food would help him survive. Hobo began staying more and more beside the road on 24th Avenue, and people began stopping and trying to get him to come to them. People began leaving food out for him, and sometimes it was used to try to get him to come to them, which he would not. There were times he would come up in my driveway, and without fail he would always come in the mornings and afternoons, and wait for me beside the road to take him food. I could get very close to him but still never tried to touch him.
The last day I saw him was April 27. Prior to that he was coughing and would choke and gag, and his eyes were running. I figured he must have heartworms, so I mentioned it to someone, and they brought me heartworm pills to give him. On April 27, he did a strange thing. He came all the way up to me, walked around me, touching and rubbing against my body, and then I noticed he was having a hard time breathing. That afternoon, he did not come for his food, nor did I see him, and he would not come when I called. After two days, I took one of his paths into the woods, went to one of his favorite spots where he laid, and called and whistled for him. He never came; it broke my heart.
I made a sign and put it beside the road on 24th Avenue that Hobo was gone, so people would not continue to put food out. I did not know so many people had been watching him, stopping and talking to him and leaving food, until I put the sign out. Over the past year and half, there have been many neighbors who brought me dog food to give Hobo, and many neighbors who had concern for him. I can't thank them enough for showing kindness and caring for Hobo, and for helping me feed him.
Hobo is missed by me and many other people who did all they could to help him survive. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart. I feel sure he must have died in the woods, all alone. I just wish if he did, he picked a good spot. I believe that last day I saw him, he was telling me good bye, and letting me know he trusted me.
The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.