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Saturday does not quite go as planned

Just another little check-in.


So. I had my Saturday all nicely planned out. Take Ava for her morning excursion. Stop at the library to make a little links post. Come home. Grab lunch. Noodle with a potential book idea.

Then, as we were driving to the field in town where we planned to run … Oh, look! Estate sale!

And Oh, look! Cute dog at the estate sale!

But before I either got to look at the stuff or pet the pooch, half the people there were asking me, “Do you know who she belongs to? She’s been hanging out here. She’s not ours. Nobody knows where she came from.”

“Looks like she has ID, though,” I pointed out as she sniffed a corner of the building.

“Only a rabies tag,” said the man holding the sale, who turned out to be from Wyoming and only here to clear his mother’s estate. “No owner’s name or contact information.”

I called the dog to me. Sweet thing. Maybe a pit bull or boxer mix. Gorgeous brindle coat (I’m a sucker for brindled dogs). Read her rabies tag. It was from an out-of-state vet clinic. She was very skinny, which might just have been because she wasn’t yet full grown — less than a year old, I’m guessing. But her nails were bleeding, too. She may have done some traveling, but she seemed in overall good shape.

I called Furrydoc’s cell. No answer. (Turned out later she was conducting emergency surgery, though her clinic and the others in town are closed on Saturday.)

One of the concerned customers and I conferred on what to do. This was right on the main highway; no way could we let the dog stay loose and lost.

I ended up thrusting a spare leash into the lady’s hands and telling her I’d be back in no more than 15 minutes. Rushed to city hall where I knocked on the door of the police entrance but (no surprise) found no officers at home. (Sorry, anarchist friends, but around here it’s just proper manners.) Rushed up to my place, left Ava, grabbed a crate, shoved it in the back seat of the car, and hauled back to the sale.

The lady with the leash had taken the pup for a walk. Which I thought was brave because that dog was not even remotely leash trained and was headstrong enough to pull a small grownup off her feet. When they returned, I opened the car door, and the lady picked the dog up and hoisted her into the crate without the hesitation I’d have shown in handling a dog whose attitude toward crates and being lifted into the air by strange women was unknown.

Once home, I scribbled down the rabies tag number and clinic phone number. Glory be, they were open on Saturday. Still, it took ages to make myself understood and to understand the woman on the other end over the background noise of what was evidently a busy business. She also insisted that the vaccination number I gave her couldn’t possibly be right, even though I checked it twice.

But bless her, she doggedly (no pun intended) checked list after list until she identified the dog and an owner. Respecting privacy, she didn’t give me the owner’s info. But after making five attempts to reach them, she reported back that they weren’t answering their phone and didn’t have voice mail set up.


But she did give me the dog’s name: Bella. And I asked her to have the owners call me direct if she ever located them.

Then, two and half hours late, I left Bella crated in the kitchen and gave Ava her morning afternoon walk.


Unfortunately in the end I did have to do the “legally right thing” and have the police take custody of Bella. She’d have been welcome to remain here until her missing owners turned up, except that she wouldn’t stay out of Ava’s face. She desperately wanted to play with her new dog friend — so desperately that she missed Ava’s patient, but increasingly emphatic attempts to tell her to BACK THE HELL AWAY, PUPPY, BEFORE I RIP YOUR FACE OFF! The cat wasn’t any too happy, either. Facing the prospect of crating Bella all weekend and being yanked around on leash every time she needed to go out, I took the easy way out.

Yeah, I felt bad about that. She was such a love, when not being such a lunatic, that in some other time and place I’d have been tempted to adopt her.

At least the police can get the owner’s contact info from the out-of-state clinic. Even if the owners never claim her, Bella will be okay. In that case she’ll either be adopted out through the local group or placed in a prison training program that turns wild young things like her into highly desirable, much-sought-after pets. Meanwhile she’ll either be at Furrydoc’s Hotel or at another vet’s in town. There is no “official” pound, so she won’t end up in a super-stressful place, or a place where they’ll kill her.

I’ll check on her Monday, though, to see how she’s doing and if she’s finally been found by her people.


Maybe I’ll still get to work on that book idea this weekend. But that was a bit distracting.


  1. Terry
    Terry March 16, 2019 3:53 pm

    Dunno about where you live but around here, Bella would be hanging around you guys because her owners dumped her off.

    Good on you and the other lady!

  2. khperkins
    khperkins March 16, 2019 4:08 pm

    Poor Bella, hope everything turns out okay for her.

  3. larryarnold
    larryarnold March 16, 2019 7:42 pm

    The part about “a prison training program” kinda jumped out. Really?

    We’re working with our dog right now. She belongs to my disabled cousin, who usually lives with us, but had back surgery and is in rehab. (If you want VA medical treatment horror stories, we have a boatload.) Little Joplin desperately wants to be in someone’s lap 24/7, and is jealous of the cat.

    Best wishes for Bella.

  4. Claire
    Claire March 17, 2019 11:15 am

    The part about “a prison training program” kinda jumped out. Really?

    Really. 🙂 A Catholic nun got the idea about 30 or 35 years ago and the first program for prisoners to work with dogs started here in the PNW. They’re fairly common now. I don’t know how much they help the convicts (though those privileged enough to be in the programs must find prison less horrible), but the rigorous training and constant human companionship do wonders for dogs. Dogs coming out of the programs are nearly always in great demand by adopters.

  5. ellendra
    ellendra March 18, 2019 8:08 am

    “I don’t know how much they help the convicts”

    From what I’ve read, they help a lot. The recidivism rate is much lower for those who participate. In training the dogs, they end up training themselves.

  6. Comrade X
    Comrade X March 18, 2019 9:21 am

    Sounds like Bella was found by an angel from dog heaven.

  7. Claire
    Claire March 19, 2019 11:24 am

    You’ll be glad to know that Bella’s owners claimed her. I don’t know whether they were visiting in the area or have recently moved here or what, but when I stopped at the clinic that had her in impound, they told me she’d been picked up by her family bright and early Monday morning. So all is well with that sweet girl.

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