Most dogs would have stayed put after the bacon and barbecued chicken. But a skittish hound, first spotted making the rounds of Daufuskie Island two weeks ago, wasn’t quite ready to be caught — not by the Daufuskie Island Fire District and its enticing meals, and not by the cast of concerned residents trying to coax her to safety, several said.
But all involved were determined there would be a happy ending for the collarless, skin-and-bones dog, seemingly abandoned on the island.
Enduring mites, ticks and freezing temperatures, the dog wandered about a mile and a half from the fire station into a fenced field in Haig Point, and the community followed.
The Daufuskie Island Utility Co.’s property may be the nearest thing the island has to an animal refuge. For the past year, a deer has taken up permanent residency on the property, Fire Chief Eddie Boys said. It doesn’t seem to care that it could take its grazing beyond the property’s open gates.
Firefighters had to contend with the deer when they arrived at the field a week ago to catch their skinny friend, Boys said.
“There was the doe and there was the dog, both of them scared to death,” Boys said. “And the deer jumping all over the place didn’t help any. It was kind of comical. We didn’t know what we were doing.”
But after just a half-hour of careful attempts to wrangle the dog, she simply stopped running. Cold, tired and hungry, the hound let a firefighter pet her and slip a leash over her head, Boys said.
“These firefighters were just fantastic,” said resident Deborah Smith, who helped name the dog “Daisy.”
“They’re kind of our local heroes, and they certainly ended up being Daisy’s hero. It’s almost like she knew where to go, where there were people who would help her.”
Smith said Daisy has been treated for ear infections and parasites.
Her vet bills were paid for with about $400 in donations from Daufuskie residents and a discount from the Animal Medical Center on Hilton Head Island, Smith said.
“She’s really kind of captured the imagination and heart of the Daufuskie community,” she said.
When she has fully recovered, Daisy will live with one of the firefighters who rescued her. The chief initially thought about keeping Daisy as a station dog, but the district didn’t want to risk her running off again.
And in her new Bluffton home, she’ll be spoiled rotten, Boys said.
“She’s not going to hunt anymore or live in a cage,” Boys said. “She’s going to have it made in the shade.”