It was already two hours past when we wanted to leave town and out of nowhere the dog appeared. A happy little boston terrier who had way too much energy. Despite needing to load up the car and drop our own dog at a sitter, the poor thing gave us that little sad dog face and we both just caved. I spent over an hour playing fetch with it. Wondering why on earth I was for it wasn't even my dog nor am I a "dog" person. But the thing had these pleading eyes and so I threw the blasted ball again.
We haven't been here that long to really have a good network going. Our last neighborhood had a hand-dandy list-serve and so everybody knew everybody's business. I'd walk neighbors dogs back to their yards or email them and let them know the last known siting if I couldn't catch them. We had no such email list that we knew of. We had to get out of town so there was no time to put up fliers, take the dog to get the microchip checked, or any other such dog-owner-finding type action. So I did what I do when all else fails. I prayed. For a dog. Having already called a handful on friends to try and see if anyone could watch it a couple of days and once I got a "sorry, but.." we then discussed whether we should run it by the shelter on our way out of town or just leave it in the yard, or let it go. It seemed clear the dog was someone's. Reason seemed to say that perhaps the dog would just go home. I worried it would get hit by a car though. So I prayed for its owners to come. For it to be safe. I kept imagining some small child crying because his/her dog was gone and I dearly wanted my happy ending in this. Which for me was that imaginary small child's arms wrapped around this dog that was not mine.
It broke my heart that we had to just leave, as it was simply too late to stay any longer. So we tried to let it go but the thing wouldn't leave our yard. Finally we cracked the gate and got in the car. The thing jumped up so I could see it through the windshield with that pleading face. NO! DON'T LEAVE! Throw the ball 1,000,000 more to me!! I cried. Seriously. My husband patted my leg and gunned it in reverse and off we went. We heard later from our neighbor (as none of them had been home in our trifecta of bad-timing events) that they didn't see the dog around and had shut our gate back. I sighed. Hoping against hope that the thing had found its way home. Then I went back to chasing my son around a hotel. Grown men cooed over him (and not in a weird way) because had his cute footed jammies on and was hamming it up. I tried not to think about the dog and mostly didn't but as we pulled into the drive I raced to the backyard. Wonder of wonders the dog was still there. I can only guess that maybe it had come back and my friend feeding our cats had shut the gate again. Too tired to do anything the day we got back we just crashed. A neighbor watched the dog as our dog was not fond of the intruder.
The next morning was today, Valentine's Day. My beloved took the dog in to get the microchip checked and left messages with the owner. Kaiya helped me color in the "found dog" sign and they put it up at the intersection behind us. We heard from our neighbor that it seemed no one had been looking but could we please come get the thing cause it was a bit much. (And it truly was, the thing has endless energy and can play fetch for an eternity.) So we played musical areas trying to keep the dogs separate until our dog, who was twice as big, decided to ignore the intruder for all he is worth. We gardened and played endless fetch and the dog would whine when we'd let CJ have a turn throwing for CJ would throw it only about a foot. Then I checked my husband's email and saw it. The owner thanking us for finding her dog. It turned out she lived just next to the park that was right across from us and we could see her house from our yard. Why on earth the dog couldn't find its way home is beyond me but the best part of my day was seeing a little girl about two squeal in delight and run with her arms out to hug her dog. See? Some prayers are answered they just take a day or two. Speaking of two, I got a cute, blonde-headed boy for... oh drat he started being cute again I guess I'll keep him. He did pick me a flower today. Between that, the dog finding his home and Kaiya telling me: Mom, I'm glad Daddy married you because you two are the best parents ever! It's been a pretty dog-gone good day. Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.