FAIRFIELD — The dogs in Disney’s “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” have nothing on Pokey.
Pokey started the month in El Paso, Texas. Last week, she was separated from her family and placed in a kennel. By Thursday, she was being looked after by a woman who found the pup wandering around on Thanksgiving Day.
The story behind how it all happened is fodder for a heartfelt movie.
It all began when Pokey’s family came to California at the beginning of the month. Steve Murphy of Fairfield was hosting his sister and her two daughters. Murphy’s sister has lymphoma and was planning to be admitted to Stanford Medical Center for an extended period of time.
Murphy’s Doberman and Great Dane didn’t hit it off with Pokey, but they made the best of things. When Murphy’s sister was told Stanford was no longer an option for treatment, she and the daughters went to Houston to get the care she needed. Pokey and the family’s other dog stayed in Fairfield.
With the family gone, the animosity between Pokey and the two larger dogs became too much to handle. With his sister’s health in question, Murphy didn’t know how long Pokey would be at the house and put her in a kennel for 10 days.
He eventually decided to ship both dogs to Houston and brought Pokey home the night before the flight on Nov. 19. As he was letting her out of the car, Pokey took off.
“She just leaped out of the car. She was gone,” Murphy said. “We were going to put up signs, but we were dealing with my sister, which was day-to-day.”
It was a couple of days later when Jane White noticed the dog in her court near Hilborn Road. With no tags to identify her, White took Pokey to the veterinarian, where they scanned a microchip and realized Pokey was far from home.
“We named her Princess, then we heard her name was Pokey,” White said while smooching her new friend. “She doesn’t look like a Pokey.”
After trying a few days to get in touch with El Paso animal control officials, Pokey started to cozy up to her new digs. Pokey had some issues with White’s two dogs, but that was remedied by letting her hang out next door with another dog, while the neighbor was away on military leave.
So by day, Pokey ran around in a backyard with a new companion. By night, Pokey was curled up on the couch next to White while she watched television.
White eventually put up signs in the neighborhood, which Murphy saw Thursday.
“I don’t know how much guilt I was going to have, but I wanted it to go away,” he said. “Then at 5:30 this morning I saw this sign. I said ‘That’s Pokey.’ ”
After waiting as long as he could, even calling when he knew it was too early, Murphy rang White. She had been waiting for the call and was ecstatic when Murphy responded to the found-dog signs.
“As soon as he said ‘Pokey,’ I knew it was this dog,” White said. “I’m just so glad I found her. People said I was going to have to take her to the pound. And I wouldn’t do that.”
At some point the two will meet, but for now White will keep Pokey. The outlook for Murphy’s sister doesn’t look good and Murphy may have to leave for Texas soon. That’s fine with White.
“She’s so good. I’ll keep her until he’s ready,” she said. “I’ll even pay to ship her to Houston.”
White said she hopes reuniting the girls with Pokey will help raise the girls’ spirits.
“Something sad is going to be something good,” she said. “It’s meant to be.”
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.