My Little Man
How a Two Pound Pooch and I Escaped a Drug War Zone
A few years ago, I took a job on the other side of the state and decided it would be the beginning of a grand adventure. I found an apartment, started work, and quickly realized I had made a big mistake. Far from being an adventure, this “opportunity” quickly turned into the darkest six months of my life.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, where I was moving to was coincidentally a hot bed of drug activity. The town, let’s call it Drugville, was a major layover point in which large shipments of various drugs would be passed to the next courier in the chain. The exit that I lived off was constantly covered by a swarm of D.E.A. agents in marked and unmarked cars, heaving large plastic wrapped cargo out of trunks and placing people under arrest. At night, I would attempt to jog only to hear the pop of gunfire in the distance, the dark side of Drugville. I was in a war zone of battling drug lords on the daily.
The funny thing is, Drugville looked nothing like what you would expect. My apartment complex was gated in a seemingly nice area. A neighborhood of equal niceness and a elementary school flocked the gates. Clean sidewalks flowed down equally clean streets, and after a couple blocks and a grocery store there was nothing but cow pasture for miles. Across the bridge over the highway, a lone truck stop sat across from more fields, rotting hay rolled up in big bales on the side of the road. Definitely not what you would think was ground zero for the drug trade, more like a scene from Deliverance. But it was.
After about five months, I decided enough was enough. The crucible to my decision was discovering my neighbor across the hall was a drug dealer through a terrifying incident. I lived alone, and at night spent my evenings curled up on the couch watching CSI or Bones and vegging out with some ice cream. I had always felt safe in my apartment, until this night. A knock came at my door, I assumed the knock was on my neighbors door to my right, as our doors were very close together. I knew no one in Drugville, and was not expecting guests from anywhere else. The knock came again, more persistent this time, and I got up to look out the peep hole to see if it was maintenance or something.
A large man with a face tattoo and a 9 mil in a hip holster stared intensely at the peep hole from the other side of the door, and I gasped at his menacing appearance. I did not know this angry looking man, and why he was knocking on my door at 10pm on a Tuesday was beyond me. He suddenly began beating on my door, slamming fists against the cold metal, shaking the whole wall with his banging. He yelled and screamed at me to “Give him the stuff, or he would kill me.” I froze, not knowing what to do but heavily considered calling the cops would be of no help when I heard the door across the hall open. Jake* the odd fellow that lived there, poked his head out and yelled at the man terrorizing my door. “You idiot! I said 307, not 305! What the hell, do you want the cops to come? I got your dust right here.” Angry man stopped torturing the now dented metal door of my apartment, and quickly followed Jake into his apartment, slamming the door behind him.
I sunk to the floor, resolute I would not stay here any longer then I had to. This incident was the last straw, and I put in for a transfer to an office back home within two weeks. Thankfully, it was approved and I began to pack my few belongings with glee as my moving day approached.
One afternoon as I was cleaning out my fridge in preparation for the move, I found a small business card that had fallen down from being stuck to the fridge with my giraffe magnet. It was from a dog breeder, a reputable place that I had seen advertisements for online. I had emailed the woman, let’s call her the Dog Lady, for more information and she has sent me her business postcard by mail. I was aching for a dog of my own after living alone for some time, and decided since I was about to move anyway to a place that allowed dogs I might as well take the plunge to fur parenthood.
A quick call and one appointment scheduled later, I agreed to meet Dog Lady at her home in town. Remember how I said I lived in Drugville right? Well all the businesses in town had some connection to the drug trade. But I figured, Dog Lady said she lovingly breeds a few litters of chihuahua’s a year out of her home. she must be legit. How wrong I was.
Upon arrival to the address given to me, I realized immediately this was not someone’s home. At least someone who had a decent understanding of what the description of “home” ought to look like. A small concrete storefront greeted me, with blacked out windows covered in what looked like tar and graffiti. I stupidly decided to knock anyway, and met a much less then pleasant Dog Lady among what looked like a construction site on the inside. She said she was “renovating,” but two inches of dust on every available surface made my believe that ship had sailed long ago.
She went into a back room, and brought out several puppies one at a time, for me to look over individually. I was not interested, as all the puppies acted as if they had been drugged. Super sluggish and just out of it. I had a bad feeling, and wanted to get out of there. I made a mental note to report her as soon as I could to Animal Control.
When she brought out the last puppy however, my heart melted. He yelped from the moment he saw me and physically fought to get out of Dog Lady’s grip and into my arms. He licked me ferociously, and even growled when Dog Lady tried to give him an affectionate pat. This little guy had guts and a will to live, he was coming with me. I tucked the red and white fluff ball under my arm and without asking how much he was I handed over a stack of hundred dollars bills. She took the money, and then brought over a contract stating I could only use her vet for the puppy’s checkups. “Yeah right,” I thought to myself, as I signed an illegible signature and made my way for the door.
Dog Lady had good reason to want me to only use her back water vet. Little Man, as my poofball of a pup was christened, had parvo. Months of treatment and sheer determination on Little Man’s part got him through it, but it was a rough patch for sure. An anonymous tip to Animal Control insured that Dog Lady will never sell another puppy, nor her vet ever cover up another puppy being sick.
While I will never buy another dog from a breeder as long as I live, I like to think that Little Man was a rescue. Not from a shelter, but from the bowels of something far more sinister. All in all, we are both happy to have escaped Drugville, and to have found each other in the process. Little Man is the lone token from that dark period that I have kept, a reminder that out of every dark place something good can arise. He is a four pound hellion a lot of the time, but he’s also the best dog and friend I have ever had.
Georgia Caroline is a wife, believer, and fur mom chronicling her journey as she and her family move to a new town and begin a new career — all in the name of giving in to the impossible. Follow her at Georgia Caroline on Medium or email her at email@example.com.