Whenever Lydia Puhak went to White Rock Lake , she always looked for Teddy. She didn’t know his name at first. She just knew he was the chow dog that lived at the park near Sunset Bay .


Normally she found him in good shape.


“Teddy’s sort of like everybody’s pet down there,” she says. “He’s very friendly, and he’s better fed than I am. People bring him food all the time.”


          But one day, Puhak noticed the dog limping and stopped to take a look.


“He had a 4-inch bolt in one side of his ankle and out the other,” she says. “I later found out that kids put those things in their air guns, and he must have gotten shot with one.”


          Being afraid of dogs, she began looking for a group to rescue him.


“I think I called everyone in North Texas ,” she says. “I found out that even though all these organizations work with dogs, they don’t catch dogs. So we mounted a community effort and finally caught him ourselves.”


          A community of walkers, cyclists and joggers at White Rock Lake , that is.


As Puhak tried to rescue the dog, she met more than a dozen people who had known and fed him for months. But Teddy knew a leash when he saw one, and he wanted no part of it.


Finally, after three weeks of trying, Teddy let Puhak, who had a leash hid in her sleeve, close enough that she could harness him. Then another White Rock regular, Teri Park sat with him until more help arrived.


“The ironic thing is, is actually terrified of dogs, and she was the only one Teddy would let come near him,” Park says. “She was shaking and had to leave after she leashed him, so I sat with him until Bob came to help us get him in the car.”


Bob Walton, whom Puhak found through Operation Kindness, had agreed to come on his own time to help get Teddy to a vet, though he had to come from Addison to do it.


As Park waited with Teddy, several others stopped to help. One of them was Nancy Pinkston, who been trying to rescue the dog for nearly six months. Finally, the whole group, which also included a couple who had been feeding Teddy, loaded up to take him to the vet. Afterward the group, none of whom had known each other before, all went to dinner to celebrate their accomplishment. They traded e-mails and phone numbers, deciding to stay in touch.


And Teddy?


Pinkston, who plans to adopt him, says he is doing well.


“He’s in amazingly good health, considering how long he was out there,” she says.


Also amazing, she says, is the community spirit found in helping an animal in need.


“It’s almost been a religious experience,” she says, “to see the effect one stray doggie has had on a group of people.”


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