Yesterday afternoon I left the house in a rush, and just a hundred feet from my neighborhood I came upon a little white (but dirty) dog in the middle of the road. He narrowly escaped being flattened by a semi-truck and car, and I felt compelled to pull over. The dog had now moved to the shoulder of the road where he stood filthy and panting heavily, but began to wag his tail when I approached the scared pooch.
I’ve been in the situation a dozen times or so before and usually the dog runs away from me and I try to at least steer it away from traffic. Fred, as my children would come to call him, was different. He whimpered a bit, but bravely came towards me and gave no resistance as I scooped him up and placed him in the back of the Suburban. He was wet, covered in dirt, and smelled gross, but I left all that out when I called home to warn my husband what I had just done. My husband replied with a few curse words mumbled under his breath and asked what I intended to do. My hope was that it was a dog from the neighborhood so I said I would drive around looking for his owner after I had the boys.
Oh, my boys were so happy when I surprised them with the muddy mongrel in the car! They didn’t care if he smelled bad or was all dirty, they just instantly fell in love. As soon as we got home, I let the dog pee in the backyard, gave him some water, and started driving around looking for his owners. I called the local animal shelter and left my information and the dog’s description as I drove. No one had called looking for him yet.
I stopped about 30 adults in the neighborhood and I had about five false identifications. I left my info with everyone on where to find me if someone came looking for the lost pet. After an hour, I came home and let the dog in the backyard again while I tried to figure out what to do. I called a local vet who said I could have the dog scanned the next day for a chip, but that they were closing up then. So as the dog frolicked around the backyard with the kids, I knew I was in trouble. The longer this dog stayed, the worse it was going to be on the kids (and me) later.
One thing was for sure, this little pooch wasn’t stepping foot in my house covered in whatever it was all over him so I gave the dog bath, and was shocked how behaved he was. I’ve never owned a dog that just stood there and let me soap, lather and rinse without a shake or attempt at escape. After his bath we bought some food and he ate his dinner hungrily, but sat quietly while we ate ours.
The dog knew basic commands, went to the door when he had to go to the bathroom, barked to come back inside, and didn’t seem to mind the kids following him around like a lost bunch of puppies themselves. He played with the toys they gave him, but didn’t bother anything else. The kids showered him with belly rubs, ball tosses and Cecilia taught him about Colors and the Seasons by reading him two of her favorite books. They decided to call him Fred, and swore they’d love him forever. I told them we were just helping Fred find his way home, and the kids agreed that if he was their dog and he was lost, they’d be sad so we should help him if we could.
Nighttime came and we decided since Fred was so behaved he could sleep upstairs on an old blanket. He quietly laid on his spot until 7am when he woke to go outside. The kids all woke up happy, even though much earlier than normal, and played with the dog after breakfast. I called the shelter again and still no one called looking for him, so I picked up a leash to take him to the vet to get scanned.
Before that he enjoyed some yard time with Cecilia and Jake and even a walk around the neighborhood. Still no one knew where he was from. After dropping Jake off at school, with Fred flying copilot, Cecilia and I took Fred to the vet down the road. He sniffed around as the tech read his tag and after the second sweep she had a hit.
I have to admit, my heart sunk a little. She checked their system with no luck, but called around and gave me Fred’s address. Actually Fred is really Zippy and he lives just two blocks from my house, in an adjacent neighborhood. I called the contact numbers and dropped Fred, I mean Zippy, off at the owner’s workplace. Apparently, Zippy is known for breaking loose so maybe we’ll see him again one day.
My daughter cried when we got home and she realized the dog wasn’t in the car. She said “where’s my doggy. I wuv him. He a happy dog.” over and over. When I put her down for a nap she cried over the monitor and said “I want my doggy.” again and again.
Things would only get worse when picking up Jake and Joey from school. Joey search the street for our car and I told him I found Fred’s home while he was at school. The poor kid literally burst into tears and cried for an hour after school. Jake said he was too sad to play outside. Too many memories I guess.
So there you have it. Life with Fred was good yet brief. He was the best dog I didn’t own, and I know my kids won’t soon let me forget him. So if anyone want to donate a hypoallergenic dog (my husband and father are both allergic and that’s why we don’t have a dog) let me know. Until then, we have a day’s worth of memories and a handful of photos:
Have you ever found a lost pet? Ever ripped your kid’s hearts out? Leave me a comment so I don’t feel so horrible…at least tell me where to go find another dog. The guilt is killing me. And while you’re here, click on the link below to cast an automatic vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs. Just one click is all it takes! Thank you!