Behind her, she could sense fear, feel the heat of the canine edging closer. Then in a heartbeat came a touch as gentle as an angel's kiss. In that sweet moment, their unpredictable journey had begun.
"I'm not a dog person, scared to death of them other than my own," Kim Jasper said of the stray. "When I was a little girl, I was bitten."
But this anxiety has never stopped this Moses Lake, Wash., pet lover from trying to help homeless animals over the years. Kim has accumulated 20 pets on her five-acre plot of land, including two rescue pigs, a llama and a lone goose, along with a few dogs in the mix -- all neutered and spayed.
So when she noticed a weary border collie across the road from her place one summer, she thought it might be abandoned.
"I'd never seen him before," Kim said. She had arrived at home at the end of the day after a fundraiser for homeless pets. "Next morning I went out to try to get him to come to me -- it was the end of June and a 100-degree-plus weekend -- but he was too afraid."
Early on she called the sheriff hoping they could rescue the stressed dog, but they were unsuccessful. She called her husband, Jan, who was working in North Dakota and he told her to "keep trying, honey. You'll catch him."
Even though there was a good chance the stray could be anything but angelic, Kim couldn't bear to see the black and white pooch suffer in the heat. At first, she carried water and some food a distance hoping to keep the canine from the highway, splashing the cool liquid to get its attention.
"I did this early Saturday morning through late Monday night and still couldn't get close to him," Kim said about moving the dish every two hours. "By then I'd brought the water and food up by our home."
Still the border collie mix cowered near the railroad tracks just shy of Kim's property. Making one final effort before her work week was to begin on Tuesday, the determined woman sat cross-legged on the ground, her back to the frightened dog.
"I sat quietly with my head down and after about 45 minutes, I felt a breath over my right shoulder," Kim said. "And he slid his head down my arm and licked my wrist."