Saturday, about an hour before we were going to leave to head to the Bay Area for my Aunt and Uncle’s BBQ, my mom and I ran up to Whole Foods to grab a few things. On the way home, on a busy and highly trafficked stretch of road, we saw this little guy darting in and out of the passing cars.
I don’t know what compelled me, but I was DEFINITELY compelled, to pull over on the side of the road and get this dog out of harm’s way. He was wearing a full harness, so I assumed he would have a collar, but after a quick search there was none to be found. I opened up the back door to my car and he hopped right in, curled up and layed down on the backseat and just kind of exhaled. It melted my heart and made me shudder all at the same time, thinking about what could have happened to him. This was somebody’s dog, and it was in a very dangerous area.
Instead of driving home we drove around the neighborhood to see if anyone recognized it. There were people out doing yard work, we knocked on some doors, but no luck. It was clear he was going to have to come home with us, because I wasn’t just going to leave him. But also? We were leaving for the afternoon and I felt terrible. When we got home we put a couple of postings on Craigslist that we had found a dog, made up a little bed for him outside, put water in various places in the shade and then had to head out. I felt terrible, but our yard is not too bad of a place to be if you are a little dog. At least we knew he would be safe and couldn’t get out, and would have plenty of shade and places to play.
On the way out of town we hung up a bunch of signs in the area where we found him and crossed our fingers. We didn’t get any phone calls that afternoon though, so on the way home that night we stopped and got some dog food and then later some temporary supplies — treats, toys and a leash. Even this was a little stressful though. I don’t know what he eats. What if this is a vegan dog? Maybe is on a strict doggy-gluten-free diet. I don’t know:) You know what I’m saying though, right? I was just hoping we would get the right things, but he seemed happy to see us when we got home so we brought him inside, Garrett made him a dog bed in our room and we all crapped out.
He did pretty well that first night, only waking up once in the middle of the night and we took him outside but he seemed more interested in horsing around than going to the bathroom. Unfortunately I was not interested in horsing around in the yard at 3am, so we ended up back inside. In the morning when we all got up we got to see more of his personality. He is clearly an older dog, super mellow and affectionate and really REALLY cuddly. He wants to be at your feet or on your lap even though he is a little larger than a lap dog.
Sunday we took him to the local vet. There are four in our city (which seems weird to me? only four?) but only one was open this weekend — this holiday weekend was NOT a good time to find a lost dog — to see if he was micro-chipped. We had high hopes because he is well groomed, has a shiny coat, and came with a harness — but no luck. He was not chipped. We filled out a Found Dog report there, took him for a walk, and returned home. Again I was filled with anxiety.
We have gotten a barrage of responses from Craigslist ranging from totally normal people (who unfortunately are looking for other dogs) to serious creepers (we’ll take it if you don’t want it) to people cussing me out assuming that I am “only posting to Craigslist and not taking the dog to a shelter and HOW DARE I???” (Hey, glad of you to assume, ASSHOLE.) So that’s been a little stressful. Also stressful: I can’t stop thinking about the fact that someone is clearly missing their dog. And that breaks my heart.
We’ve reached out to groomers, made more signs, posted updates to Craigslist and so far it’s just radio silence. We’ve even explored what the protocol and options there are with shelters, but that isn’t really like a great option just yet. The thing with shelters is this: first, it is a holiday weekend. There are 3 major ones and it appears they are closed Monday AND Tuesday. Of course we plan to file a Found Dog Report with them, but you have to physically do it, so it appears that is going to have to wait until Wednesday.
Lots of people say to drop him off at the shelters, but there is a very small window that they keep him before they will adopt him out. This is a beautiful, well trained and behaved dog, someone WILL adopt it. We googled all the shelters and read all the reviews but it appears that was as helpful to my stress-levels as googling symptoms when you don’t feel well. All the websites say if they find anything wrong with him, due to overcrowding they will euthanize, and the reviews I read really validate that fact. I can’t even think about that yet. I mean, what if his family is on vacation for the holiday? I WOULD FEEL AWFUL.
Then there are others who say we should keep him. But right now I just can’t think about keeping a dog that is not my own. Of course we would love a dog someday, Garrett and I are both Dog People for sure, but this isn’t ours. And I can’t (even jokingly) think about keeping this little guy until we really give it a good go to find his parents. My mom keeps joking with me that “This is what it’s like having a dog…do you want this responsibility?” But the thing is — this is NOT what it’s like having a dog. This is what it’s like HAVING SOMEONE ELSE’S DOG. It kind of feels like when you are on pins and needles babysitting someone else’s kid, except that you have no idea if the parents are ever coming back and that is an added layer of stress.
But also, in the meantime, this little guy is just such a sweetheart. He is a very clear communicator. When he wants attention he will come right up to you and put his paw on you and give you a nudge. When you are typing on the computer he is laying right down at your feet making sure they stay warm. He is clearly someone’s companion and someone’s friend, and we want to do everything we can to find them. In the meantime we are just waiting and watching, and giving head pats and doggy-hugs. Trying to make sure he likes his dog food and playing fetch with him in the yard. The upside is that his quality of life with us will be good while he is here, and luckily he seems to have made himself right at home.
But I can’t help but wonder if he is missing his own house. And surely, someone out there is missing him. Fingers crossed for us, internet?