My daughter’s daddy had just arrived, and I was taking out the trash when I saw a miniature Pinscher wandering my townhouse complex (which is sort of a long, U-shaped cul de sac–I’m the first building on one end). He had on a collar but no tag. He stopped when I talked to him, but then he started trotting away. I followed him a bit, and I ran into a new neighbor, who didn’t recognize the dog. The dog went behind the buildings, heading towards mine. I followed, and I saw him go out to the sidewalk that runs perpendicular to my development. By the time I reached it, he was way down the road, and I had no hope of reaching him, so I went inside.
I kept ruminating about the pup, but it seemed impossible, so I changed into my gym clothes and hoped for the best. I realized my ex had forgotten something of my daughter’s, so I called him. He was still in the lot, and he said the dog was right outside the house. I lost him again, so I went across the way to my HOA president to see if it belonged to anyone in my complex. She said she’d gotten a call, but she thought he lived in the apartments a block away. Meanwhile, he came back, and he got about 10 feet away from me, but then he took the same route behind the houses. I opened my car door in case he came around and was looking for somewhere to chill.
He headed up the road again, so I followed him down block into the apartment complex. A guy was there walking what was supposedly a cocker spaniel (but looked like an Oreo Shih Tzu mix…cuuuuuuuuuute!). He told me that the dog had turned back, and he thought he belonged to last house by townhouses. He said that he’d seen a dad and daughter walking the dog. I went to go home, but my heart sank when I saw the neighbor from that house was standing outside with a leash. She said the dog had been out since at least that morning. She has a dog that’s aggressive, so she couldn’t take him in, but had been worried about him all day. She loaned me a leash, and we exchanged cell numbers. While we were talking, he just missed getting hit crossing the road, but the driver had been paying attention and going slow.
I decided to try the apartments again…no luck. I started to walk back toward my house, and I saw him going in the same direction. Two guys were walking pitbulls, and I told them that I was trying to catch the dog. After they passed, one of the guys yelled and pointed that he had gone back behind a house. I wandered back, and it was like a second backyard with a fence in front (and kind of woods in back). I approached slowly and closed the fence, and then I snuck in. He just gave up and slowly worked his way over to me. At first, he snarled if I made a move to pet him, but warmed up eventually, and I got the leash on him. Then I took selfies because, holy crap, this dog was freaking adorable. He just stood there, right up against me. I didn’t want to push him to go anywhere, so I just hung out with him and carefully swatted mosquitos from him. The woman who lived next door and her daughter came out, and we talked.
I tried animal control, but no luck. It was after 6:00 on a Friday.
She made a phone call and supposedly an older man in a beat up grey car was looking for him in the morning? I already take well-intentioned, but not firsthand, information with a grain of salt…and after the horsecrap with the guy walking the cocker spaniel, I was cynical.
The pup didn’t want to go anywhere on the leash, and he didn’t want to be picked up, so I stayed put. I called the neighbor who had loaned me a leash, and she came with food and water, which he gobbled up. Then I walked him back up to apartments (now he had a spring in his step!!) to look for a beat up grey car. A woman was walking her cavalier spaniel, and she said she’d know if he lived in that complex, so he definitely did not. I actually believed that information.
I walked him back to my place to shut my car door before my battery died (it had been a couple hours), and he hopped in and just laid down and relaxed while the neighbor and I brainstormed. i called a no-kill shelter for advice, and then I googled non-emergency vets (because the one I go to is basically $150 just to walk through the door), and we found a good one that was still open. They said they could scan him, and she drove while he sat on my lap.
When they went to scan him, he was scared and snarling. I offered to do it, because he was totally fine with me by that point, but they wouldn’t let me. They took him in back to muzzle, and I wasn’t allowed to come. I gave him a quick pet goodbye.
Why didn’t I just take him home? I wanted to…I REALLY wanted to. But I have a 13-year old cat that doesn’t like other animals. I don’t think she’d attack him, but it would be very hard on her. Unless you know your cat is cool with other animals, you don’t just bring one home and assume it’ll be fine. Also, my daughter was coming home the next afternoon, and although I think the little guy wouldn’t actually injure her…again, you don’t just do that and be dumb about possible consequences. You have to prioritize your current pet/kid above any others.
(If I had been thinking more clearly, I could have just gotten a crate so he could be safely confined at my house. I thought about that later that night).
The neighbor had called her daughter, who had a friend that worked at an animal hospital, in hopes that she’d foster, but she was on vacation.
The animal hospital notified the town shelter, and they said they’d keep him until the shelter picked him up on Monday. They assured me that that’s what I had to do–the shelter is where owners look, and I can’t just bring a dog that could have fleas or worse home when I have another pet and a kid.
I knew he belonged to someone, though. When he was sitting on my passenger seat, I went to pet him, and he gave me his paw. It was adorable.
When I got home, I made a public post on my Facebook, two lost/found pet groups on FB, and then on two sites. I looked up a mini Pin rescue group, but I decided to at least give it a couple days, because he doesn’t need to be rescued if the owners show up.
This morning, I got a call from a guy who got my number from the town shelter. It was his girlfriend’s dog, he said. Someone had left the gate open, and he’d been missing for two days. I asked him to tell me what color his collar was (to prove that it’s really the owner), and he said he didn’t know if he had a collar on. I gave him the name of the animal hospital and figured they’d do a better job of verifying ownership. I called the animal hospital an hour later, and they said that the owner and her boyfriend came in, and the dog was THRILLED to see his mommy.
I hope someone else besides me gets a little bit of joy out of this happy ending. 🙂
I found a couple good “what to do if you find a stray” articles. I didn’t know all of this, so I thought I’d share:
And here’s the little cutiepie: