Oh, what a day is today.
I've had a total of six... wait, no, seven dogs at and in my house today. You know, the house that normally holds myself and Dukas? I've given a bath to a dog who showed up at my door, led a parade of them around my neighborhood for over an hour, and met 5 or 6 of my neighbors. But wait... let me start at the beginning.
Around 2 PM today, Dukey started whining at the window. Now, barking and growling generally mean that the neighbors are checking their mailboxes or raking their leaves; but whining at the window means we have a visitor of the canine variety. And so we did. 2 of them. A boxer with a collar, and a little yellow mutt without.
Once they were found friendly, I tied the boxer up outside, and called the vet's # on his tag. The emergency answering service could not help me, and I would have to wait until Monday to find out who the dog belonged to. Say WHA?!
So, I think to myself, if these pups are going to be staying at my house for the weekend, they'd better get cleaned up. That little mutt S-T-ANK to high heaven. So I took the little girl into the tub, and left the boxer tied up outside with some water. That little girl turned the water brown, like chocolate syrup brown. Gross. She came out clean, and I dried her off and introduced her to Duke. When I went outside to get the boxer to wash him off, he was gone. Poof. Thin air. My upstairs neighbor explained that someone on a red four-wheeler picked him up, said he had been looking for his pup for an hour. Made no mention of the yellow mutt. And the mystery deepened.
So, I took Little Girl on a leash and started to walk around my neighborhood, trying to find someone who knew her. At the first house, no one was home, but I found another dog loose and muddy. No kidding. Luckily, I had another leash on me, so Fuzzy got hooked up and we continued on our way. Next door, no one answered, but I couldn't blame them; there was a tract from the paired-up men in suits shoved in their door. No one was gonna answer.
This continued on a few more doors. Turns out there's lots of elderly people living in my neighborhood. And I never even knew it. As part of my self-reporting, I did go the extra mile and introduce myself to my neighbors, ask what they did for a living and share some of my own story. And its not even May yet!
Anyhow, as I kept walking and knocking and introducing and trying to find Little Girl's owners, I picked up a few followers. Four, exactly, of the neighborhood dogs, all different sizes and colors. They made it more and more difficult to get to peoples doors and ring the bell, and we made quite a sight. It was like something out of a bad dog-walking movie. RE-diculous. My leashes were twisted, there were dogs walking all in the road and peeing on various shurbs... oh what a day is today.
Finally, I got home with no real answers, and 4 more dogs than I had left the house with. They all holed up in my garage (I can't explain why), and Little Girl took a nap on my floor. I put her up on facebook and craigslist, and finally called Handsome.
See, I had waited so long to call him because he's not too keen on my whole dog whispering style. This may have happened before... This time last year, two pups showed up on my porch. One was a yellow lab with a shock collar on; I kind of felt that if he was determined enough to run through the shocking, he deserved a little fun. Anyhow, a few phone calls and those two got returned to their owner, same day. This time, Handsome wanted me to just let all of the pups go (all but Duke) and shoo them out of the house. He said they'd return to their owners; nothing good would come from me trying to help.
I couldn't stomach that. Then he suggested I take them to the animal shelter. Also not okay with me. I did promise him that I would take care of getting all of the dogs I knew back to their homes. I walked Fuzzy back to his house, and still, no one was home. He has a fenced in back yard, and so I put him in his fence and stinkin' BoBo (one of the tagalongs) ran in with him. As I was walking to Fuzzy's house, I spotted the boxer! He had made a reappearance, this time inside the fence of another neighbor who has 2 German Shepherds (talk about risking life and limb...).
After I walked Fuzzy to his house, I walked up the road to the German's house. Introduced myself to the peoples there (not elderly) and found the owner of the boxer who had absconded with him earlier in the day. Turns out Little Girl and Boxer were not a package deal, although they had arrived together. Also, these sweet Yank neighbors from OH solved the mystery of Little Girl's owners; Little Girl and Fuzzy belong to the same house. At about this time, we also solved the mystery of how these pups had escaped; Fuzzy and BoBo came running up to us. Apparently there was a hole in/under the fence and that was how the escape originally occurred.
So here I am, hanging out with some new neighbor friends, with 5 dogs running all around their in-the-process-of-being-landscaped yard, and none of them belong to any of us. It was crazy. So I gave the girl neighbor my number, and left her with the promise that she would call me when/if the owners of Fuzzy & Little Girl ever got home. I went home (now with about 3 extra dogs trailing after me) and was greeted by Little Girl & Duke. Then, surprisingly enough, not 10 minutes after I got home, Ohesian neighbor calls and says that the owners are home.
As the final chapter in this loooong tail (he he... I'm punny), I walked back to my neighbor's house and delivered Little Girl (real name: Annie). The strange dogs had followed me again to the neighbors, and when I turned to walk away, the neighbors with the runaways were fighting with the tagalong dogs, trying to get them out of their fence. When I realized that there were no dogs following me, I ran for home. Literally, I ran, flip-flops and all. Finally, I was free of the neighborhood dogs. Duke and I have spent the rest of the evening (because by now it was evening) enjoying each other's company, and no one else's.
Handsome will be pleased tomorrow morning and we have only one dog. I am pleased that there are no lonely dogs or owners tonight (that I have any control over), and that I got to meet so many of my neighbors. Now, in May, I'm going to move on to the next step of inviting someone over for dinner. Still a little risky, but after today's adventure, I feel like I can handle things, for the most of it.
Reuniting owners and mutts across the county,