Saturday, February 7, 2009

:: And The Dog Came Back... The Very Next Day ::

A Cautionary Tale

We love animals.  We have two dogs, two cats, four fish and about three dozen sea monkeys. We would actually have more pets, but we are realistic and for the most part practical people, so we realize we have enough critters for now.  
Since we love animals, and since my husband is a big softy for anything cute and furry, we have, on occasion, helped a few stray animals find their way back home.  So, last weekend, when Benjamin ran into the house and yelled "Mama, come see the cute gray puppy Dada found," I wasn't surprised. That was, until I opened the garage door and saw the biggest wolf-shepherd-dog-hybrid creature looking me right in the eyes. This dog was ginormous.  But he was actually very sweet, so I had no problem with Jason putting him the backyard while we waited to see if someone came looking for the lost dog.  After playing with the dog in the backyard, Jason discovered that he can sit, stay, heel and shake. So, someone must be missing this incredible dog, right?
No one came looking for the dog.  So, we drove around the neighborhood to look for lost dog signs and to see if any of the kids playing outside had met someone looking for a lost dog. Nothing.  So, we left the big dog in the backyard for the night.  
The next morning, which was Sunday, we decided to put up some signs announcing that we had found a "German Shepherd Mix?" and listed our cell number.  We got one call... it was a girl calling to see if we had found a Boxer. Sunday night came, and still no news about the big gray dog's owners.
Then, around 10:00 p.m., we get a knock on our front door - it's our pajama-clad neighbors telling us that the stray we were harboring had just chewed a hole in our fence and was running around the front of their house.  I. was. not. happy.  The dog had chewed a huge hole in our gate.  Not cool.
Jason puts the dog back in the yard, and we put up the plastic kiddie gate and our concrete bird bath in front of the hole, thinking this would somehow deter the dog from chewing himself free again.  We came inside and decided it was time to call animal control.  
Guess what?  Animal control doesn't work on the weekends. Fine. We'll call first thing Monday morning.  We go to check on the dog, and we find that he has started ANOTHER HOLE in our back fence - the fence we share with our neighbors. 
That was enough for me.  I opened the gate and the big gray dog ran out.  After all, he was not OUR responsibility.  Right?  He ran off into the dark of night.  I just knew that he would safely find his way back home.  Well, that's what I told myself, to feel better about kicking him out of the yard.
Then at 2:00 a.m. we wake up to a weird noise outside our bedroom window. We go see what's up.... IT'S THE BIG GRAY DOG AGAIN! This time, he chewed his way BACK into our yard. This is NOT our dog! I was way beyond livid, to say the least.
We call back the police non-emergency number to let our friendly, but otherwise useless, dispatcher know that the dog we called about earlier is now destroying our property - and we needed someone to come out and pick him up.  NOW. He says that unless the dog is vicious, there's nothing he can do. Um, hello?!?  He is chewing up our property!!! That's when we let him know that we have a four year old and his safety is our priority and if this otherwise friendly dog will tear down a fence to get somewhere, how can we be sure he wouldn't turn aggressive towards our son or other pets?  He says fine, he'll send someone out.
So, as we are waiting for the animal control truck to show up, you can imagine our surprise when a police car pulls up to our house.  The friendly useless dispatcher sent out law enforcement to shut us up.  The officer (who is equipped with pepper spray, a Taser, a billy club and a GUN) quickly pushes his way into our house once Jason opens the door.  Look, if he's worried about a big dog and he's got that much ammo at his disposal, there's no doubt we should be a little worried, too.  Seriously.
Jason walks him through the house to the backyard.  He sees the dog and walks around our property looking at the damage.  He tells Jason that there is nothing he can do until 8:00 Monday morning.  Jason proceeds to tell him that he has a wife waiting inside (that would be me) and if he has to go back in the house and tell me the dog has to stay until morning, there will be all sorts of hell to pay - for every one involved.
That's when the policeman starts to play with the big gray dog.  And the dog shows him how he can sit, and stay and shake... apparently dog-loving men just can't resist a good dog that can shake paw. The officer tells Jason that he, his wife and their six kids have been looking for a good dog.  And he can't feel a chip in the dog's neck, so it might be that he doesn't have one, and to save the dog a trip to the animal shelter, he will take him.  So, he loads the dog into the back of the police car and takes off to put the dog in his yard where he can stay until he gets off of his shift.  Whew.   That was awesome. What a relief!
So, Monday morning I wake up and get our dogs fed and open the back door to let them out and that's when I see HIM.  In our backyard, sleeping under our son's play fort.  His paws are covered with dirt.  He came back.  Like really bad heartburn or a recurring nightmare.  The damn dog came back!!!
So, Jason calls and leaves a message for the officer at the station, and I do a little detective work and find the policeman's home number.  We call him and that's when we found out that the big gray dog had chewed a hole through his brand new fence and got out before he even got off of his shift.  He didn't want the dog.  But, okay, so in the dog's defense, the policeman saw where he had chewed through our fence, so it's not like it should have been any big surprise. The policeman said he would call animal control as soon as he hung up with us.
About two hours later, animal control shows up.  And being his usual charming self, the big gray dog walks right up to the animal control officers and they put a leash around him and he jumps right up into the back of the truck.  "Oh wow, he's a great dog" the one officer said. Yeah, right, lady.
They run a scan on his back and he did indeed have a chip.  They knew his owner's address and contact information and after a few minutes, they pulled away from our house.  So, I hope that the big gray dog made it back home and his owners were happy to see him again.
But, I still have this fear that one day, I am going to open up the back door, and he'll be there... waiting for me...

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