Phil and Jake met several years earlier, when Jake was a mere pup. At that time, Phil was busy with our cabin-building project in Ohio. He accepted an offer to stay in a neighbor's cabin for the weekend. Arriving after dark, when everything was pitch black, he was startled to hear ferocious barking from the direction of the darkened cabin. It sounded like a dog to be reckoned with, but when Phil beamed his flashlight on the porch, all he saw was a scrawny little mutt, no bigger than a fox.
That's what he called him: "Fox." Fox was guarding the cabin with fierce loyalty. He might have been abandoned, dumped out of a car on Route 514. Somehow Phil managed to slip through the door without being attacked. He spread some stale bread with mayonnaise and tossed it out on the porch. Fox inhaled it. He then wedged himself into the tiny space between the window grille and the glass to be as close as possible to the his new friend inside the cabin.
The next morning Phil drove six miles to Danville for dog food. Fox gobbled it up and stayed close to Phil all day. On Monday, Phil had to return to Maryland. What to do with Fox? He could hardly come home with Phil. At least not that day. We already had a crotchety, old beagle, Arlo. Plus my Mom. Mom was very protective of Arlo's rights as a senior citizen. She would certainly have objected to "upsetting" him by introducing an energetic, new puppy. Mom also had an ancient cat that couldn't stand "too much noise and confusion."
Phil discussed the situation with his sister, who lived in Marietta, OH. She and her husband already had two dogs and about a dozen cats. Nevertheless, they agreed to keep Fox temporarily. Fox rode all the way to Marietta with his chin resting on Phil's knee.
A few days after Phil got home, he called his sister for a report on Fox. His sister said that they had changed Fox's name to Jake and that he was doing just fine. He was getting along well with his four-footed siblings. So Fox had found his new family. But he never forgot Phil.