Looshie on the Rocks

Illustration by Rick Quemado

Illustration by Rick Quemado

The dog was first spotted on a hot day near the end of May, meandering along the majestic sandstone cliffs. She had been abandoned at the Calico 1 Trailhead, the first stop along the 13-mile Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive. With the temperature reaching triple digits, it was essential to round up the dog as soon as possible.

Animal Control was immediately called, which is the protocol, but had no luck spotting the stray. Hikers who happened to come upon the dog tried to lure her with food and water, but also without success.

After nearly two weeks of futility, and with the dog getting thinner, Animal Control suggested leaving a trap out to catch her. She was losing weight fast, and officials didn’t think she would survive if she were tranquilized. Kirsten Cannon, a public affairs specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, says this was the first time a trap had been used at Red Rock to corral a stray animal.

The trap was placed near the Calico 1 parking lot on June 5. Calls were placed to staff and Friends of Red Rock volunteers. Because of the heat, they were prepared to check the trap every hour. Within 30 minutes, the ploy proved successful.

She was a black-and-brown, 2-year-old female Australian Cattle Dog mix. The volunteers named her Looshie. She had no tags, nor had she been reported missing. Looshie was taken to the Las Vegas Animal Foundation, where she was kept for 72 hours before becoming eligible for adoption.

Looshie would have probably been euthanized on June 15 if no one had claimed or adopted her. But this story has a happy ending: On June 12, Erika Colon-Nieves adopted Looshie after hearing about her from friend Shauna Leahy, a former Red Rock volunteer who had received an email about the dog. Colon-Nieves changed Looshie’s name to Lucy and brought her home as a companion for her other Australian Cattle Dog, Bettie.

Colon-Nieves reports that Lucy has quickly recovered from her ordeal at Red Rock, gaining more than five pounds since coming to her new home, which has a big backyard and doggy door for easy access, and even snuggling up with Colon-Nieves’ two cats after initially chasing them around the house. “When I got her, you could see all her ribs and her spine sticking out,” Colon-Nieves says. “But now she’s looking healthier. She’s been eating a lot. She’s doing great.”

It seems Lucy has had enough of braving the elements. After getting heated up while running during a recent trip to a dog park, Lucy turned her attention toward a shady, muddy part of the park to cool off, and had to be hosed down before leaving.

She wasn’t hard to catch this time.

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