I've mentioned before how stray dogs seem to find me. Or me them. I'm never entirely sure. I'm a little obsessed with it quite frankly. I was just lecturing one of my softball teammates last night about the importance of attaching her dog's leash to either a choke chain or another collar so that should the dog wrest free of the collar attached to the leash, the poor shlub who finds her dog (me) will still have some identification to check. Nothing is more frustrating than finding a stray dog with no identification. She argued that the dog has a chip, but I explained that I don't have a chip reader. I'm sure I sounded a little crazy to her.
So what do I come upon on my way home from work today? A stray dog. He was on a pretty busy tree-lined street in a nice section of Norfolk. I drove past him and looked to see if his human was nearby and saw no one. And then began a quick debate with myself: "I'm sure he'll be fine. But what if he gets hit? I have to go pick up Bodhi [my dog] from daycare. What if it was Bodhi??" The outcome of this debate is always the same: I drove around the block and went back for the dog. By the time I got back around, he had crossed two lanes of traffic and was just chillin' on the median. There was no place to pull over, so I had to stop in the middle of one of the lanes and turn on my hazard lights. I wasn't sure if he was friendly, if he'd bolt, or bite. But I knew he was OLD. He had two frosted eyes and was moving pretty slow. I approached him and he seemed friendly enough and he was wearing tags. Bonus! Turns out he lived on this very street. I managed to get him up into the car and drove us out of traffic. I tried calling the number on his tag (the first number was almost completely obliterated -- this stray dog business is never easy) but got his owner's voice mail. Or the voice mail of a woman whose phone number was similar to Woodie's owner's. That was his name, by the way.
I'm embarrassed to say how long it took me to realize I had picked him up pretty much right in front of his house. I walked down one block looking for the house number and then decided it was too far and drove down the alley behind the homes. Not all of them had numbers on the back, so I had to go back out along the front of the houses. It was then I found myself right where we started! I returned to the back of his house and was happy to see a car in the driveway. I checked out the house and discovered one dog and zero humans inside. So as usual, I was stuck. I wasn't quite sure what to do with him. Convinced that -- even though the inside dog was barking his head off the whole time and surely would have awakened anyone present -- the owner just hadn't heard me, I walked around front and tried the doorbell. It was then I saw the paper on the front porch and thought, "Lord, I hope they're not dead in there." I still couldn't figure out how Woodie had gotten outside.
When I was walking back to my car, I spotted Woodie's neighbor across the alley. He looked relatively harmless (and it was getting late!) so I asked if he knew Woodie and his owner. He said yes, and that she was away and had some friends watching the dogs. The friends had just left. And this is why I don't leave Bodhi with friends! Woodie's sitters hadn't done such a good job. I explained where I had found him and asked if he would mind watching Woodie until the friends returned. He said he and Woodie (who I discovered was a female) were old friends and he'd be glad to watch her. He was also going to call Woodie's mom and let her know what was going on. So hopefully everything worked out for Woodie. She was very sweet and I'm so glad I went back to get her. I would have been devastated if she had gotten lost or hurt.
Miss Bodhi was none-too-pleased however when I picked her up from daycare and she sniffed the back seat of the car. I tried explaining that it was a one time thing and Woodie meant nothing to me, but I don't think she bought it. She hasn't really talked to me since. I'd do it again though. It feels great to rescue a dog who actually needs rescuing! (Sometimes the Dogs Aren't Lost)