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Dog, lost in the Hualapais, finds a campsite - and a home

Lady smiles up at her new owners, Jim and Jan Summers, who took the dog earlier this month after it showed up at their travel trailer in the Hualapai Mountains. The couple, who discovered Lady’s former owner died in August, has given the dog a permanent home with them and their other two dogs, Shylo and Sadie, and their cat, Mojo. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

KINGMAN - For years, Jim and Jan Summers have had a soft spot for stray animals.

They found Shylo, their 9-year-old Labrador-Doberman mix, in the desert, a walking skeleton at the time, and brought her home. Sadie, their 3-year-old beagle-shepherd mix, was passed to three owners as a puppy until the couple took her in for good. And Jan rescued 12-year-old Mojo, their cat who is blind in one eye, from the jaws of a pit bull when she was a kitten.

So when Lady, a 9-year-old shepherd mix, showed up Sept. 1 at their campsite in the Hualapai Mountains, the couple didn't hesitate to open their hearts and trailer to the dog. Jim and Jan, who spend two months in the mountains each year, said Lady's feet were raw and almost bloody from walking and her right front paw had a tear in it.

"This is not our first rodeo," said Jan as she and Jim sat in their dining room in the Walleck Ranch subdivision. "We've lived here for 10 years and we've had five stray dogs show up on our porch during that time. We've taken them all in and either located their owners or found homes for them. When we saw Lady, even though she was in bad shape, we could tell she once had been well-cared for and loved."

A tag hanging from Lady's collar showed she was registered with the Western Arizona Humane Society, and when the office opened after the Labor Day holiday, Jim called and was given the owner's name, address and phone number. After finding the phone disconnected, the couple drove to the address in the Butler area and discovered an abandoned trailer. So Jim began knocking on neighborhood doors.

"I had Lady in the car and a neighbor across the street recognized her," said Jim. "She said the dog's owner, Lyal Reed, had recently died and Lady had been given to one of his friends who lived in the Hualapai Mountains. She gave me his phone number and I called the man, who said Lady had jumped his fence when a storm scared her the night before we found her."

After meeting the man on the roadside at the bottom of the Hualapai Mountains, Jim reluctantly handed over Lady. At the time, the man told Jim he really didn't want the dog and asked if he knew of anyone who did - including himself. Jim said he needed to ask Jan and drove away, then stopped to call his wife. When Jan agreed to take Lady, Jim met the man at the same location and made the transfer.

"I had searched the Internet for Mr. Reed and found his obituary, but there wasn't much information in it," said Jan. "I was curious and the whole situation just didn't set well with me. I wanted to find Mr. Reed's family to let them know Lady has a home with us until the day she dies. This was meant to be. We weren't looking for another dog, but Lady found us."

David Reed, who lives in Oregon City, Ore., and is Lyal Reed's son, said he visited Kingman for three days after his father's death Aug. 16 to tend to the man's affairs, including finding a home for Lady. David Reed said the dog refused to enter his father's house again after he died, although the son tried to coax Lady in repeatedly while he stayed there.

Lady was a replacement for Lyal Reed's beloved dog, Gretchen, said David Reed, noting a caretaker bought Lady years ago to cheer up his father after Gretchen died. David Reed said Lyal Reed relocated to Kingman in 2002 from Prineville, Ore., after retiring as a policeman. David Reed said his father was estranged from most of his family but was well-known and liked in his Kingman neighborhood. And he loved Lady, who loved him in return.

"I couldn't take the dog back to Oregon so I gave her to one of my father's friends who said he wanted her," said David Reed. "I'm glad Lady has found a home where she can be happy, treated well and loved. My dad would be very pleased about that."


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