Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Almost Falling in Love

Sunday morning a friend and I were going out to grab some lunch when we saw a big, beautiful American Bulldog running free. Even though the streets and sidewalks were full of snow, and he was white as well, he was hard to miss - a big, gorgeous dog without collar or leash, jumping over snowbanks and running down the sidewalk. We both looked at each other, then my friend said, "I'm going back."

As I mentioned yesterday, its been bitterly cold here and temperatures have been down in the single digits. As we rounded the corner looking for the wayward dog, we were both thinking the same thing - in these temperatures, if he didn't find home soon, he wouldn't live through the night. As we came around the block we saw him again.

My friend stopped his van and got out to say "hello." In short order, I had a big white dog licking my face and I felt myself falling a tiny bit in love.

He was a sweetheart, and obviously very happy to get out of the cold. His coloring was almost identical to the one in the photo up there - mostly white with a few brown spots behind the ears. He leaned against my shoulder as I scratched him behind the ears and along the chest while my friend and I talked about what to do. We drove very, very slowly around the block, looking for someone who looked like they were looking for a dog. The dog appeared well cared for, although there was a scratch behind one of his ears, so we assumed he lived nearby. We attempted to ask him where he lived but instead of answering he just lolled his tongue out and gave me another lick.

As we came around the corner, we saw a few kids playing outside in the snow. My friend rolled the window down and asked them if he knew where the dog lived. It turned out that they did. The pointed down the road to a house where a young man had just stepped out onto his porch, looking like he might have just rolled out of bed.

We drove up, and sure enough, the man claimed our dog and said his name was Kimba. Interestingly, Kimba did not want to get out of the car. My friend opened up the side of his van, and Kimba promptly jumped into his seat. So, he went around and opened the driver's side door, and Kimba went to the back of the van. Going around to the back of the van, Kimba climbed on my lap - and so on. This went on over and over, all the while the owner stood 10' away, doing no more to help than calling occasionally "Here, boy." I'm not sure what it was. Maybe Kimba wanted a longer ride, maybe he didn't want to get out in the snow again, or maybe (and this is what my heart was saying) he really just wanted to stay with us. Finally however, he jumped out over my lap and headed home.

All he left were white hairs on the shoulder and sleeve of my winter coat - and truthfully, that is about all of a dog I could afford right now. But there were a few minutes there while scratching his big furry head that I honestly thought about what might happen if we couldn't find his owners. I'm glad we did find his proper home of course, but I admit, I wish that the owner had seemed happier to see Kimba and that Kimba had seemed happier to see his owner. He seemed like he was such a wonderful dog.

I've thought about getting a dog on and off for years, but for a variety of very practical reasons I haven't done so. My sister, who has a fabulous pooch, has encouraged me on more than one occasion to get one. In the past I have always waived off the suggestion, but had we not found a home for Kimba... well, let's just say for the first time in my life I would have been sorely tempted.*

I have no time or money for a dog right now. My life is too strange. But, it is something I may put on the back burner for when life gets a lot more settled.... we'll see.

Photo by: Nal from Miami

* Granted, I would have contacted shelters and put up posters and that kind of thing before making any sort of assumptions. I'm just saying that had I known for sure that he was abandoned, I might have taken him home.


Fit Wallet said...

Ugh, that's such a tough situation! It's hard to hand over a sweet animal to someone who seems less than thrilled to get it back. About five years ago now, I found an unneutered male cat outside of my apartment building in the middle of the city. He really wanted to come inside, so I put him in my bathroom and put up a few posters around the neighborhood. A day or two later, some people called and identified him as their own. I figured they would want to pick him up right away. They lost their beloved pet! Instead they asked, "can we come get him tomorrow?" I wish I'd said right then and there, "Sorry, I don't think he's yours, and I'm keeping him!" They came the next day and looked at me like I was crazy for picking up some strange cat on the city streets. I'm sure they put him right back outside without a thought about his health or safety.

My rule now is: No collar? No "lost cat" posters? Not spayed/neutered? Then I'm taking the cat to the vet and finding it a good home.

Miss M said...

Aww, thanks for taking him in out of the cold. What will you do to find the owner?

Dawn said...

Fit Wallet - Amen!! I would hate to keep someone's beloved pet - and American Bulldogs can jump up to 6', so it wasn't surprising he leapt the fence, but gosh, I wished his owner had seemed more responsible and loving. I would be frantic if my pet was lost! I like your plan a lot.

Hi Miss M - I think you missed the end of the post (I had it hidden behind a cut.) We found his owner and his home. Hopefully he is happy and well taken care of there.