In our profession we meet many different people during our travels. There are times when we also meet some animals that make an impression on us. Some of these friends from the animal kingdom can be quite interesting and brighten our day.
Recently I have come across a cat that I call Freddie. I first met Freddie at a hotel which I often use as a layover. On one fateful morning I was walking out to the truck to gather my laundry and as I was gathering my laundry this cat came strolling over to me and kept brushing up against me legs and following me around the truck. Poor little fellow looked like he needed some affection so I reached down and petted him and then continued on my way to do my laundry. After I finished my laundry and, on my way, back to the truck here comes the cat once again to walk with me. After I finished putting my laundry in the truck I sat down on a bench to talk with the tabby. A friend of mine saw the picture I posted on Facebook and quickly named him Freddie and then took it a step further and called him Freddie, the free loader. I talked to the hotel staff about Freddie and soon Freddie became part of their family as well. Every time I stop by Freddie has an ample supply of food, water, care and lots of affection. Now I look forward to seeing Freddie each time I visit Laredo.
There have been other animals that have crossed my path as well this one was a Collie in Orlando, Florida. One fateful morning I woke in the customers yard and got up to see this collie lying next to my door with a tennis ball. As I exited the truck to unstrap my load of chain link fence from my flatbed trailer the collie came over and dropped the ball next to me. I picked up the ball and threw it and the collie returned it, the process repeated itself numerous times. I assumed this dog was the fencing companies yard dog. This particular establishment was a place I delivered to regular and I got to see this dog often. Each time I would get there and the collie would be lying next to my door ready to play when I woke up. After this continued on for some time I talked to the owner of the establishment and commented what a nice dog they had. This is when they informed me that the dog was not theirs and only showed up when I was making a delivery. As fate would have it this was also the last time I delivered to that location.
Another creature who used to make my day was a bald eagle. Every time I was on US route 17 south of Georgetown, SC I would see a bald eagle flying about six feet from the passenger side of my truck. This eagle would stay there and pace the truck and I thought was odd until I saw that it was merely a strategy for hunting prey. What the eagle was doing was letting the truck stir up critters in the brush along the side of the road. One of these days I finally saw the eagle dip down rapidly while flying next to me and snatch a rabbit out of the brush. I thought it was pretty ingenious that this bird was using the truck much like a hunter would use a hunting dog to flush the prey. A few years later where I used to ride dirt bike there was a hawk that used to fly along with the dirt bike. It was funny as every time I would stop the hawk would land in a tree and wait for me to continue on down the trail.
Finally, this is more a pack then an individual animal. I have seen this same pack of dogs at two different truck stops in the Lincoln, Al area. This friendly pack of dogs has learned the art of mooching for food. They wander around these two different truck stops in a pack and when you observe this group they are far from going hungry. They simply walk up to a truck and look up at the window with puppy dog eyes and soon you will see the drivers giving them food out of the truck. One of these non-descript dogs will follow you all the way up to the truck stop entrance, stop at the door, and wait for you to come back out to accompany you back to the truck. This group of dogs is friendly and look as if they live as one big family, I have never witnessed any scuffles between the dogs or viciousness towards any of the patrons of the establishment. They simply have mastered the trade of panhandling.
This is a sampling of different encounters that have broken up the monotony of being out here on the road alone. You never know where you might meet your next new “friend”.