But as Cranford has learned over the coming months and years, Bones’ spirit is nearly as strong as his love for his owner; a love that helped him find his way back home 18 months after he was placed with a new owner.
“He was determined to stay with me,” said Cranford, only two hours away from the duo’s afternoon constitutional up Stonewall.
That determination was the result of one incredible journey and an equally inspiring story of love between pet and owner.
“I wasn’t planning on having any pets,” Cranford said.
Cranford had already raised her family, and even though she had “always had dogs and cats throughout my life,” she decided against pets for the timebeing.
That was until she got a phone call from a Don Henson in north Georgia. Henson had spotted a pitiful pile of puppy beside a stop sign.
“He was skin and bones and barely stuck his head up,” Cranford said. “Don took him to the vet and the vet said he wouldn’t live through the night.”
Like so many times in the future, Bones proved everybody wrong. So when the puppy made it through the night, Don knew exactly who to call: Cranford.
“I asked him if (Bones) needed a home,” Cranford said, “and so I said, ‘I’ll take him.”
Bones was skittish. And by the looks of things, particularly his wariness of men, the vet and Cranford were certain the dog had been abused before ending up on the side of the road.
Cranford and fiance, Bill Adams, started working with Bones, trying to show the dog love that had been sadly missing from its earlier years. And slowly but surely, Bones began to warm up to both and became less scared around people.
Unfortunately for Cranford, a move from East Dublin to Dublin would mean having to give up the puppy she had worked so hard to rehabilitate. At her previous home, a fenced-in back yard was a perfect patch for Bones to call home. But at her new Dublin address, the lack of a fence meant she was going to have to find Bones a new home.
Just as Henson had found Cranford to take Bones a couple years earlier, Cranford looked to a friend to keep the dog in a safe, happy environment.
“I gave him to Benny Bridges,” Cranford said. “He used Bones as a guard dog. He had him for like a year and a half. I’d visit him occasionally; bring him some treats.”
Toward the end of that 18-month period, however, Bones started getting a case of the jumps.
Bridges noticed Bones was getting out of the fenced-in area at his Marcus Street business, but there were no holes or openings.
“He finally caught him jumping the fence,” Cranford said. “He’s got a six-foot fence. He’d look up and down and all of the sudden, flat-footed, he’d jump over the fence.”
“He’d make it to the top every time,” Bridges said. “He’d make a good Olympian.”
Bridges and Adams would find Bones roaming on Bellevue Avenue, or in other neighborhoods and bring the dog back to the electric company a couple miles away.
“One day I spotted him around Atlantic South Bank,” Adams said.
Finally one Sunday in April, Cranford felt her phone vibrate during church. She didn’t check the text message until after the service. When she did, she found something unexpected when she clicked to view the message: a picture of Bones.
“My landlord had sent me a picture of Bones,” Cranford said. “He was sitting by my car.”
At which point Adams pulled out his phone and began thumbing through movie files until reaching a clip where the couple happened up on Bones that same afternoon, a mile or two from Bridges.
“That’s why I started calling him ‘Bones The Wonder Dog,” Adams said.