One thing that I’ve noticed when you become a dog person, is that should you spot a dog wandering the neighborhood without a human attached, you become immediately concerned.
Whereas prior to becoming a dog person, I would have just muttered something under my breath about how that so and so dog did not have someone with a plastic bag shadowing it and I’d BETTER NOT be stepping in dog poop.
Over the weekend, as we were leaving for an event and were running a wee bit on the late side, we spotted an elderly dog across the street. No owner. And no visible collar. Only a choke chain. We remembered how we lost our own dog on the one week anniversary of him coming to live with us, and how he didn’t have his collar on at the time. We could not in good conscience leave a stray dog to wander the streets.
We thought the dog might have belonged to a sweet neighbor who lives a couple of doors up the street and we went to check. It was not her dog, but she thought it might belong a few more houses up the street at another retired couple’s house. By the time we had made it to that yard, we were joined by another neighbor with a dog on a leash. Only the dog wasn’t hers. Evidently both dogs with matching choke collars were wandering the neighborhood together, and when one darted out into the street, she grabbed an extra leash from her house. We had done the same thing and now both dogs were on leashes. Searching for their master.
I politely knocked on another neighbors door. By this time we were two dogs, 3 adults, and 3 children strong. The husband answered the door and said that no, these were not their dogs. At this point his wife joined him and stepped out onto the front porch.
While I was in mid-sentence explaining our plight, I noticed out of my peripheral vision that she was void of pants. And then even though I began stammering, I became VERY INTENT on focussing ALL of my attention on HER EYES.
And while I’m certain I was making little sense, I began to console myself in that she was probably wearing a bathing suit under her t-shirt.
And then she turned around.
I was wrong.
At this point I began backing up, trying to form a human shield between my children (particularly Jensen who is not in possession of any type of filter) and my neighbor, excusing our little motley crew as we continued on our search.
Our group was uncharacteristically quiet as we traveled further down the sidewalk. We came to another house that we suspected had dogs, and reluctantly, we traipsed up to the front door. The lady that answered did not speak English, but she was wearing pants. Her daughter came to the door in her pajamas (evidently we have a very relaxed dress code here in the suburbs) and told us that she believed the dogs belonged about 7 or 8 more houses down.
On we went. We knocked on yet another door and was greeted by a man. “Have you misplaced any dogs?” He looked past us to the dogs in question. “Oh. Those are my dogs. You didn’t see a 3rd one did you?” No sir, we’re making it a point not to look up from the sidewalk.
He had no idea that any of his dogs were missing and he wondered out loud if the 3rd one might still be in the back yard.
At this point, we didn’t care and scattered to the safety of our respective houses, having already bonded over two lost dogs.
We were late for our event, but it didn’t matter. Dog people make sacrifices like that. The future intensive psycho-therapy is simply collateral damage.