I’ve never wanted a small dog, so I’m not sure why Pearl showed up and wormed her way into my heart. (Kind of like heartworms, but hopefully less lethal.) Scabs left from ticks and fleas and mange are beginning to flake off her skin, and I’m hoping to God that the more circular-shaped scars aren’t an indication of ringworm, which would indicate a whole ‘nother level of trouble and transmissibility, unsurpassed only by bedbugs and zombies. I asked Pearl why she showed up under our house–which is a miracle in itself, so it has to be a SIGN, right? She said that she came to us “because you’re the only ones around here who would listen.” She then showed me images of the nights she’d spent calling out to neighbors—and their dogs—for help, only to be ignored. Unanswered by anyone she hoped would help, she ventured deeper into the woods until she heard our dogs (okay, just Fred) barking. Fred’s barks sound happy, because he’s just trying to get everyone else to play ball. Unlike barks of “go away or else,” the dogs around here sounded, if not welcoming, at least not threatening. And dogs’ voices, to Pearl, sounded safe. So, she came here. And thank goodness she did. I don’t know if we’re her forever home, but if we’re not, at least we’re the next safe step she needs to take to get there. Pearl and I are both thankful for that.