Prepare yourself for a very long story… Yesterday, as I was getting home from work, I stopped to pick up my mail. As I was getting back into my car, a short, squatty pitbull came barrelling down the driveway towards me. He ran up to my feet and immediately rolled over, tail wagging, implying that he was in desperate need of a belly rub. Not being one to turn down a friendly dog looking for some attention, I gave him a good scratch.
I then started to look around my townhome area for his owner. I know all of the dogs that live in my neighborhood, and this guy just wasn’t one of them. He had one of those faces you couldn’t forget. Nice and pudgy, with a mouth as big as a shark. I guess that is one of the characteristics of a pitbull, maybe the reason why some people are so frightened by them. Luckily, my fear level with dogs is fairly nonexistent, and it was pretty obvious to me that this dog was extremely socialized. Unfortunately, there was no possible owner in sight. I talked to a few of my neighbors and they all agreed that they also had never seen that dog before.
Since it was almost 6pm, it was practically dark. There was no way I could in good conscience let this guy keep wandering around in the dark. His fancy leather Oklahoma Sooners collar implied that he clearly had an owner; however, there were no tags on his collar. After calling around to a few vets, I finally found an e-clinic that would scan him for a microchip. I loaded the big guy up into my very tiny car and headed to the veterinary clinic, saying lots of prayers for a microchip on the way. As luck would have it, he wasn’t chipped. But, the vet tech did agree that he looked like a very healthy dog and most definitely had someone out there looking for him. I loaded “Norman” back into my car and we headed back to my house.
Remember how I mentioned my rule with how many dogs I can foster at a time? That their combined weight can’t be more than me. Well, with Norman weighing in at a hefty 62 pounds, I was in clear violation of my rule last night. Wes has a soft spot for pitbulls though, so he was ok with me breaking my rule temporarily.
Since Wilson is currently occupying the one large crate I have, I had to ask my neighbors to borrow a crate. They kindly agreed and sent us home with their extra. Thinking the situation was under control, I let Norman get a feel for his crate while Wes and I took out Wilson and Lizzie. Wilson is also a boy, and although he is fixed, you never know how he might react to an un-neutered studmuffin like Norman.
|I’m sexy and I know it…|
When Wes and I got back from taking out the dogs, we realized the crate system was not going to work. Norman, an obvious genius, had found out he was able to unlock the crate using the power in his shark-like jaw. Fantastic. By the grace of God, all the dogs seemed to get along well. Wilson was excited to have a friend and Lizzie took her usual “pretend they don’t exist” approach to the situation. At that point, we decided that Norman would have to spend the night in Wilson’s extra large crate, and that Wilson was going to get his first shot at overnight freedom. He was going to sleep on the pallet on the floor next to my bed.
I promise I am not cruel. Wilson just has a few chewing issues that I am working through with him. Once he gets those straightened out, he will of course not be spending time in his crate.
Prepared for a sleepless night, I got all the dogs situated and had the lights out by 11pm. Surprisingly, everyone was really well-behaved. Lizzie stayed in her normal spot, above my head on the pillows. Wilson got up to wander once at 4am, and Norman only cried for a few minutes around 5am. Not too bad for three wild animals.
This morning, Wilson and I went on our morning jog, while the other two dined. I expected it to be a pretty uneventful morning considering how well Norman did in the crate through the night. Was I ever wrong. As I was about to walk out the door to go to work, I heard loud, powerful noises, that sounded strikingly similar to a freight train running into a brick wall. On repeat.
Ok, so I’ve never actually heard a freight train hit a brick wall. My experience with the sound is strictly from movies.
Next thing I know, I hear a rapid thundering down the stairs. Norman had ever so delicately found his way out of a second crate. I went upstairs to assess the damage. He had apparently used his body weight to knock down the front portion of the foldable crate. Impressive. Realizing the situation I had on my hands, and my imagination playing out what could happen to my house if I had two large dogs running wild while I was at work, I had to come up with another plan. I managed to get Wilson’s crate back into working order, and had to sadly ask Wilson to return to his crate for the day. Norman was lured into my garage with a nice soup bone. With things seemingly under control, I set off for work.
On my way, I decided I should start calling vets to see if anyone had reported a lost pitbull. Vickery was the first and only vet I had to call. When I asked the receptionist if anyone had came in about a missing dog, she excitedly said “Yes, just a minute ago, let me run outside and catch him.” Within seconds she had me on the phone with Chris, who identified Norman’s collar, and said he had escaped yesterday morning. What a little Houdini. I rushed over to Vickery to meet Chris and give him directions to my townhome. When I opened up the garage door, Norman immediately ran up to Chris, and proceeded to cover him in doggie kisses. They both were very happy.
After a short, as non-accusatory lecture as possible, about the importance of tags, microchipping and neutering dogs, Chris told me a very interesting story.
The dog actually didn’t belong to him. Chris was dog-sitting for his brother who is deployed and has had the dog since August. Obviously this is a tiny, tiny act, but I couldn’t help but feel good that I had helped reunite a dog with his owner on Veteran’s Day. Divine intervention at its finest. Of all the places the dog could have wandered, he found his way over to the home of a self-professed crazy dog lady. I try to look for ways to give back to those that serve, but sometimes ways find you.
The dog’s real name was Duke. Hearing that made my day. Those of you who know Wes know why.