Dogs show up in our neighborhood and around our yard on a pretty regular basis. They’re usually unfamiliar dogs, and they’re usually in good shape, clearly just stopping for a little smell around on their way someplace else. We’re not above patting a head here and there, or making a phone call if there’s a number on a collar tag. We provide a bowl of water if a drink seems to be in order. But for the most part we don’t get very involved in the business of itinerant dogs.
You may remember that, about a year ago, two beagles showed up at our house and took a long nap in the shade. They didn’t seem inclined to leave, once we’d scratched their ears and given them some water. They were tired and seemed like they needed some help. We put out signs and put ads in the paper and took care of them for about a month. Finally, we helped them find their home.
We kidded each other at the time that there was some visible-to-dogs-only sign above our house that said “stop here for a rest.” Hobos had their own system of pictographs; a little line drawing of a cat meant “a kind woman lives here.” Do we have one on our house? I don’t see it.
But the sign is clearly there. Today I got a text from Bryan: “Mandy found a puppy.” The two of them had been doing afternoon errands and had passed by the mowed lot across the street several times. They’d noticed a dark thing under one of the trees, but they’d thought it was a neighborhood cat, or maybe a discarded black t-shirt.. In the late afternoon, when the black thing had been there for hours, they finally went over to investigate. They found a puppy huddled at the base of the tree.
He’s in good shape – clear eyes, healthy skin, little pointy white baby teeth. His tummy is round and fat. He loves to be with people. The vet near our house guesses that he’s just barely six weeks old, only just weaned, and confirmed our hunch that the puppy has no microchip. He eats in a sort of panicked way, but it may just be the hunger of a young creature who missed his lunch.
He has a collar, so hopefully this story will have a happy ending. He’s in our backyard now, and I’ll make a “Found Puppy” sign tomorrow.