|Lost and Found|
Oh it's a Monday but today was a special Monday for me, I suppose. I had no idea what would be in store for me when I finally got out of bed at 6 AM this morning.
Ennie and I had a doggie adventure. We went out for our usual morning run, although I had decided it would be mostly walking today because it was very warm and humid out, and Ennie doesn't do that weather very well. Furthermore, my left knee was a mess on Friday night and a bit over the weekend so I am giving it a little rest. The good knee news is that I bought new runners yesterday, and I think that may have been the issue.
Anyway, so out we were, walking around the neighborhood this beautiful Monday morning. As we walked I spotted a large black lab out in a front yard, about half a mile from my house. Oh no, I thought. Readers know that Ennie is a good dog, but she struggles sometimes with dog aggression and a loose dog running up on her is a recipe for a dog fight. And this was a loose BIG dog.
So I stopped behind a parked car, remaining calm (so important), hoping that the big black dog on the other side of the street would keep walking. We ignored it (no eye contact) and when it had passed us, Ennie and I kept walking, picking up the pace a bit.
Of course, the dog spotted us, crossed the street and ran right up on us.
"NO!" I shouted and stepped between the two dogs, as I watched Ennie's fur go up on her back. The black dog got right in her face, and I yanked Ennie away who had gone very still (last step before a strike), and I stepped between them again, shouting "NO!" again to both dogs, and tapping my right foot hard on the stray dog's left shoulder. "Go home!" I commanded.
The dog backed off, but stayed with us. "Come on, Ennie - leave it!" I said as we walked on.
But the black dog followed us, and Ennie started to get tense again.
"No!" I said again to the black dog, "Go home!" I said, posturing.
These commands have worked well in the past for me. Readers, heed: most dogs understand the command "No!" so always keep that in mind.
Now, I have A LOT of training with dogs (especially aggressive ones), which is how I knew where to step and use my body and body language around this dog (and mine). Generally, you need to try to avoid these situations as much as possible. Don't try this at home! lol
But the dog stayed close and he looooooved Ennie, of course. Ennie - bless her to highest of the heavens - realized that I was alpha over both dogs and chilled. And then, suddenly...well, we were a pack.
I tried to get this dog to go away, but he just followed and followed us. I could see he had tags, but we were not friends long enough for me to reach down at his neck (good way to get bitten) and look at them.
He just followed us forever. So then we were like a quarter mile from home and I thought, Forget it - I'll just bring him home, check out his tags, and call the owner.
He obeyed me, like a champ. He tried to cross a busy street and I said NO! again and then I said COME! and he came right to me. He was a smart dog, and a good boy.
So we got back to my house - I put them both in a sit on my front porch (reminding Ennie to leave it) and put Ennie's leash on him so he wouldn't run away. By this time, Ennie had realized he was a big, goofy (friendly), handsome BOY so then she wanted to run and play with him. So I let them (supervised) for a few minutes once in my fenced in back yard - just to get rid of some of the doggie tension.
Then it was drinks all around (one at a time). I finally got to his tags - he kissed and kissed me, lol - and I called the number. It was 7 AM.
Bad news: the owners' answering machine told me not to leave a message unless it was AN EMERGENCY as they were out of town until July 3rd.
Well, it was an emergency. I left my name and told them I had their dog - that he was safe and being a good boy - but that I knew they would not be home until tomorrow. I told them I was going to call animal control so that he would be safe until they could pick him up.
And then I called the police who put me in touch with the dispatch lady. I then became worried - this was a nice, nice dog - a trained pet - and I wanted to confirm that no harm would come to this sweet, old boy. The lady said the officer would just come and take him to the shelter (I know this shelter, and it is clean and safe, which made me feel better) until someone could come and pick him up.
So she put me through to the officer who told me he couldn't get to my house for 90 minutes!!! Auuugggh. OK, what could I do? I couldn't just turn this dog loose again. It was going to be another warm day here, and I was afraid he would be hit by a car on my busy neighborhood streets. So I said I would wait with the dog until he got there.
In the meantime, I called and left a voice mail for my manager. I told her what was happening, and that I had to wait for the officer now, that I was not comfortable just leaving the dog to roam. She sent me an email back a little later and said she was totally fine with it, and not to worry. She has a cat, so I was hoping she would understand, and she did. That was a huge relief, but even if she had given me nonsense, I would have done what I knew was right.
So me and Ennie and "Bear" (as I christened him) hung out in my living room under the ceiling fan for over an hour. We went outside to pee a few times (well, you know, the dogs did), and all the while I kept Bear on Ennie's leash. Ennie knows her yard but I didn't want the lab to get into any trouble or try to escape on me.
And then they played for a few seconds together - not long...again, have to be careful of dog fights when two strange dogs start playing rough - and that got them to shake off the pressure a little and then they stood there licking each other's faces for a bit, hahaha! It was really sweet.
And then we went back into the living room for more drinks of water and a cool down. Both dogs were panting like crazy - from the heat but also from the stress of the situation - so I kept them quiet.
The black dog was well behaved. He understood sit, down, come, and no. He obviously wasn't familiar with stay lol.
I daydreamed that if I wasn't working this week, I may have just kept him for the day and night, fed him, kept him safe until the owners came home. Some day, I will be able to do that.
The animal control guy finally came and took the nice dog. He gave me a card with the shelter info on it, and assured me the dog would be cared for. I watched him help this 100-pound dog into the truck, and there was care in his hands and in the way he spoke to the dog. This officerobviously loved animals, and it certainly helped that Bear was such a nice boy.
I called the owners' number back again and told them where their dog was - and that he was safe and a very nice dog, and well-behaved in MY Home with MY dog. I hope they don't freak out. And whoever was taking care of their dog when they were away...well, I hope he or she does a better job next time, if he/she gets a second chance. I also left my cell phone number, in case the owners had any questions. I stand by what I did; I know it was the right thing. I know those owners will be worried sick when they get the message, but I assured them I was a dog person, that he was a well-behaved boy and that I hoped all was well.
That dog was such a sweet, old boy.
Friends, I was annoyed that this dog kept following us, but I guess he was supposed to. It sucks that he has to spend some time in the shelter, until either the neighbor or the owners can pick him up - but at least he will have shade and water and food if he needs it, and he won't get hurt or killed.
But it gave me the chance to realize how far my OWN dog-handing skills have come, and it gave me a chance to see Ennie really shine in a situation like this. Here she was, hot morning and it's early, and this damn dog runs up on her, sniffs her ass and then decides to come home with us and DRINK OUT OF HER WATER BOWL! Seriously, what the HELL?
But Ennie was perfect. She was more than perfect. She listened to my commands, she did not fight this dog, and most importantly: she looked to me for guidance. I am so proud of her. I can't wait to tell her trainer.
4 years ago I would have gotten bitten, I promise you that. Ennie did not have the social skills or the trust in me, and I did not have the knowledge.
After the sweet dog left, I let Ennie out in the back yard to run around like a crazy girl, and...of course...pee over all of the spots where Bear peed, lol And then we came in, caught our breath and she finally had her breakfast. She had waited a LONG TIME to eat!
And then I finally got in the shower and hurried around like crazy, catching the 9:15 train and got to work at 9:45. It was a full morning! But a fulfilling one, too. I made a difference in this dog's life, you know? I may have saved him from heat stroke or from an attack from another dog, or from getting hit by a car. Maybe I helped save someone's pet, you know? We have rescued two dogs of our own and that is what I find brings me happiness.
Maybe that is my purpose in life. I hope so, because that is what Dave and I plan to do more of when we retire: rescue dogs.
I feel lucky. I don't know why. Maybe lucky that the dog followed me, knowing I was a good leader. I feel lucky that we put so much energy into training Ennie so that she was able to function when something VERY out of the ordinary happened.
But maybe I just feel lucky that I was able to spend time with two big, sweet dogs this morning. What better way to begin the week?