Monday, February 8, 2016

Found Dogs

Joe has been looking for a house for some time. Unfortunately, the houses in his price range in this area are few and far between, but last week, another possibility landed on the market and we went over to give it a look-see. It has potential, and as we were standing around outside talking to the agent after walking through, a blond woman in a white car drove by and asked if we'd seen two small dogs wandering. She seemed worried; as she drove off, I felt bad that we couldn't help, but didn't think any more of it as we concluded our conversation and started on our way home.

We drove about six blocks - and saw two little dogs running loose.  Those had to be the same ones the woman was looking for - but we hadn't gotten any information from her. So, I got out of the truck to follow the dogs while Joe and Rita-Marie starting circling back around the neighborhood, trying to find the woman who was trying to find the dogs.

The dogs weren't wearing collars, and had no intentions of letting me scoop them up, so I followed them for several blocks while Joe continued the patrol. The dogs left the street, and went off on a park trail, which led to a dead-end point, with me still on their heels. When they got to the point, one of them just sat down, lost, tired, discouraged. The other kept looking back at me - not trusting, but too tired to try to get away. I sat down, and talked to them, moved in some, repeated until I was close enough to reach out and pet one of them. He showed no signs of aggression, so after a few more minutes I scooped him up and started back down the path, hoping the other would follow, which it did. The sun was near to setting, Joe and Rita hadn't had any luck, so we took the dogs back to my house.

That didn't go so well. My cats are generally pretty tolerant of dogs, but not these two.  By morning, the cats were firmly encamped upstairs, unwilling to come down. I didn't want to mess things up with them (I'd be cleaning up cat pee for the next six months), so I set off Monday night to bring the little guys to the animal shelter. I didn't want to do it - I was afraid they'd separate the clearly bonded dogs who would then be even more afraid, and that they'd adopt them out before we could track down the woman in the white car.

I'd sent out notices on the old neighborhood email list, and on NextDoor - a neighborhood general news site - hoping that while I didn't know anyone up in the neighborhood where we found the dogs, that someone else would and so social media could work its magic. There were two women who picked up the torch - one with a lot of contacts in the local animal rescue organizations (Melissa), another who just wanted to help (Susanne).

I'd kept them both up to date, and Susanne sent me a message as I arrived at the shelter, offering to foster the dogs until their owner could be found. So, I stopped halfway through the intake process, loaded them back up and headed for her place - dog heaven. She dog-sits at times - within fifteen minutes they were more at ease at her place than they'd been at mine the previous night. I left them there, knowing they were in good hands.

In the meantime, Melissa was hard at work. She was checking all sorts of found pet sites I've never heard of, contacting the pug rescue group, in case their owners never showed up, putting up fliers in the neighborhood where I found the dogs.

No collars, no chips - if it wasn't for the knowledge of the woman in the white car, we might have quit looking then and there.

The next evening, Susanne called me - the dogs were marking all over her house; she had been thinking about keeping them, but doesn't have the time to housebreak a pair of older dogs. She was going to keep them through the weekend, but Monday, back to the shelter they'd have to go. (That's more than I'd have been willing to do - if they'd have been doing that at my place, they'd have been gone the next day!) The next morning, she called again. Those little guys had wormed their way into her heart - she was talking about getting them fixed; laying in a supply of doggie diapers, taking them in to see if they had some sort of infection causing the behavior. I had to smile.

Then, the next morning, Melissa emailed - she'd found a post on one of the sites that was definitely describing our little friends. Solo and Arlow (Susanne had been calling them Thing 1 and Thing 2 - from the Dr. Seuss books) had escaped their backyard. Their owner was heartbroken, searching high and low for her beloved pets. Susanne called her right away, and she came to pick the dogs up as soon as she got off work that evening. (It was the same lady I'd seen in the white car.) Contrite, thrilled her babies were safe, she promised to get them collars and chips so this could never happen again. (She'd already found and fixed the gap in the fence where they'd gotten out.)

Our team had gotten our little friends home.

I just love a story with a happy ending!

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