Sunday, January 01, 2012

A dog, not our own

The last thing I wanted to do was stop the car.

I'd just chased one child from the dairy aisle to the lobster case and back while the other kid pretended she belonged to another family. My head was pounding. My eyes feeling as if they were bulging and ready to pop. I was d.o.n.e.

All I wanted to do was go home, unpack the provisions and pop a pair of headache-be-gone.

But a little dog walking alone on the street made me change course.

Now ... it's odd in this day in age to see unaccompanied canines, especially ones of the toy variety.

I tried to see if it was tied up as we passed by, but I couldn't be sure. I circled the block, thinking it may have been a fluffy figment of my imagination and would therefore be gone upon a second drive-by. Nope. It was still there: a cream-colored dust mop on the loose.

The kids were quiet when I stopped the car. I imagine, for an instant, they'd thought I was finally following through on that hollow threat: If you don't stop blankety-blank-blanking I'm pulling this car over ...


“Stay right here. I'll be right back. I'm going to see if that dog any tags.”

As any sane dog would do, it started to bark at me and bear its tiny little teeth when I approached. What to do ... what to do ... what to do? It ran to one doorway and then another. Neither opened to swallow her up and save her from my feeble attempts at assistance.

I paced the street a little, looking for someone who might belong to this little beast. The whole town seemed empty. Stores were closed. All the windows above street level were dark. No one even looked in our direction as they passed by on their evening commutes.

How could I just leave her alone a hop-skip from rush-hour traffic? One jaunt into the street and it would be all over.

I decided I'd take my chances that its teeth weren't sharp enough to break skin. When I returned to the shivering mass of hair and nerve endings, it had already decided it would rather go with with a stranger than stay out alone in the cold, oversized world.

I combed through the hair around its neck, where I discovered a collar, but no tags.

It didn't protest when I picked it up, tucked it into my coat and then handed her over to Ittybit, who was more than happy to cuddle a quaking pooch during the four-block ride home. Even The Champ settled down.

I'd cautioned him to be on his best behavior. This was a dog, not a toy.

“I think it's a boy. I'm going to call him George. … Hi George!”

Ah … yes. The other thing this dog was not: Ours.

Don't get attached. This is not our dog. This dog belongs to someone.

“His name is George. I'm going to call him George.”

Not. Our. Dog.

“You mean yet.”

“No, I mean this dog belongs to someone who misses it. We'll find the owner soon.”

I called the shelter to report a found dog.

I called the dog warden.

We took her picture and made fliers.

We waited for the phone to ring.

As I made dinner, this furry scoop of vanilla ice cream stood silently by the stove, willing a slice or two of steak to fall from the counter. I obliged with a bowl full of shavings.

The bowl was licked clean in the blink of an eye and the dog was already curled up on the couch sleeping in Ittybit's lap. Snoring.

It occurred to me how much I missed having a wee beast to clean up the leftovers.

Stop. It.

Don't get attached. This is not our dog. This dog belongs to someone.

I thought of another person to call. And then another. A little lost pocketbook dog would surely be easy to find if we just asked the right people.

Six phone calls later and we had a likely owner.

One phone call after that and we had an affirmative answer. Her was named “Chloe.”

A few tears after her departure made it crystal clear.

It's time to start looking for our dog. The one that that will belong to us.


Bill said...

Aww... We just visited our cousins who have a dog and my kids were CRAZY for it. They're so ready. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I am. So much work, so much heartbreak.

superpragmatic said...

awe. i'm still waiting for my desire to have one again to outweigh the part of me that doesn't.