I got up this morning and walked downtown, which is a good 35-minute schlep down to the Post Office, Basha’s (grocery store) and the Laundromat. It was hot. I was sweaty. I put my clothes in the washer, went to the Post Office, and as I was walking back to the Laundromat I passed a dog. Dog was sitting in the shade under Basha’s awning. Dog was very, very hot, panting, and incredibly thin and bony. Dog was also exceptionally friendly, so I patted Dog and went and put my clothes in the dryer.

By the way, the dryers at the Laundromat next to Basha’s? They have two settings: Tepid and Nuclear. I actually couldn’t hold my clothes for more than a few seconds when they came out of the dryer because they burned my hands. I am not kidding. But they were dry (fried).

Anyhow, before I knew that my clothes were potentially deadly weapons, I put them in the dryer and walked over to the Kayenta Visitor Center, met the owner, bought a map (finally! I know where I am!), picked up some tourist brochures, then swung over to McDonalds and bought a #7, which is a Chicken McNuggets meal. Then I walked back to the Laundromat, thinking I’d eat my lunch while waiting for my laundry.

There was Dog. In the middle of the parking lot, begging for food. I patted Dog. I went into the Laundromat. I had my epiphany (a.k.a. moment of weakness, but whatever). I thought, as I folded burning hot laundry, If Dog is out there when I walk out, it’s my Dog.

Dog was there.

I ducked into Basha’s and bought some bottled water and some Milk Bones. As I was checking out, the cashier smiled and said, “What kind of dog do you have?” I wanted to say, “I’m not quite sure yet, I’m just about to charm it with these Milk Bones,” but I just smiled and said, “Classic mutt.”

I went out and called Dog, and Dog followed me. I gave Dog a Milk Bone, and she snatched it from my hand and gobbled it up. I gave her another, and she did the same. While she was chewing the second milk bone, I grabbed an old McDonald’s cup out of the trash and poured the water into it. Dog slurped up water. I offered Dog another Milk Bone, but by then she was taking a strong interest in my to-go bag from McDonald’s. I looked at her curiously, and dug out a French fry. “Want a fry, Dog?” She was not interested. She kept nosing at the bag. I pulled out a Chicken McNugget. “You can’t possibly want –“ And dog gobbled it out of my hand.

So I gave my lunch to the dog. All six Chicken McNuggets. Dog slurped more water, and we walked home together. I stopped by the Trading Post and bought actual dog food, and then set up a huge water bowl and a huge food bowl for Dog on the little porch we have. Dog drank and ate, and then lay down on the porch by my feet. As she lay down, I realized that she was so skinny that she was essentially sitting on her rib bones and her hip bones, because all she had covering them was a thin layer of skin and fur. So I went in and grabbed some old sheets and towels that had been left here by prior residents and made Dog an impromptu dog bed. She liked it. We hung out on the porch for a while.

And then I realized, naturally, that her name is Basha.

Or his name. I think she’s a Her. Regardless. I have a dog, and I’m not discussing reality yet. I have a dog, and I love her, and she lives on my porch.

Pictures of Basha

There’s my girl, on her bed.

Drooling while napping. You can see her ribs sticking out.

You can really see how skinny Basha is in this picture. I wonder if her coat will change color when she’s in better health. As you can tell, Basha is cute in an ugly way. Really. If there was a dog the color of dirt, this is the dog. Perfect.