ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Don’t worry about Roy. He’s just fine.
On Saturday, a front-page story in the Journal about a storm that brought winter weather to New Mexico featured a photo of a black-and-brown dog of vague parentage strolling through a snow-covered parking lot at Clines Corners.
Readers contacted the Journal to ask if the dog was a stray and what had become of this unfortunate animal wandering about in the cold and snow at the travel stop along Interstate 40, about 60 miles east of Albuquerque.
“I certainly hope that your photographer located an (errant) owner, and if there wasn’t one, helped that poor dog get to a local no-kill shelter,” said one reader by email. “Not the way that I wanted to start my Saturday.”
Another said, “This is the same dog my husband and I worried about when we stopped for gas at this place on Thursday, Nov. 21st. It was sleeping in a wooden plant container and we feared then that it had been abandoned by someone who stopped there and dumped it.”
Yet another reader wrote that it was obvious “this poor animal in the snow out there would need help.”
“Not so!” said Jeff Anderson, general manager of Clines Corners, which includes two convenience stores that sell gasoline, a 20,000-square-foot retail facility, a full-service restaurant and a Subway sandwich shop.
The dog “just showed up one day about a month ago,” presumably left by a traveler who decided the animal was no longer wanted. It’s unfortunately something that happens every couple of months at the busy travel center, Anderson said.
“Most of the time, the dogs are mean and nasty and we call Animal Control, which comes out and takes them away. Other times, people see stray dogs and pick them up and basically adopt them. But this dog was different. He was cute, didn’t bother anybody and was good tempered. So the employees just started feeding him and saying, ‘Hey, Clines, how’s it going this morning?’ Then the customers started buying bags of dog food for him. Now he’s fed better than we are.”
Pretty soon, said Anderson, the dog became formally known as Roy Clines, named for the founder of Clines Corners, and now he’s informally its mascot – but don’t expect someone to dress him up in a costume.
“He doesn’t let anyone pet him,” Anderson said. “He’s very sweet, but very aloof. He’ll play with the other dogs that pass through with travelers, and some of the 30 employees we have out here who live on the property have dogs and he’ll play with them.”
In addition to being fed regularly, Roy has plenty of places to find shelter from the cold, including a doghouse and several sheds.
“He could always get hit by a car, that’s my greatest concern, but he seems to know where he is all the time,” said Anderson. “He’s a smart dog. He’s just happy to be free and running around.”
Torrance County’s leash law says that a person does not have to restrain his or her dog as long as that animal is on the owner’s property. The bind Roy finds himself in is that he doesn’t technically have an owner.
Suppose somebody wanted to adopt Roy? Not so easy.
“I’m sure he’d make a great pet, but they’d have to catch him first – and then they’d have to arm wrestle the employees out here.”