Yesterday was the first in a series of posts I will be sharing about a black Lab who showed up in my backyard this past Sunday. If you missed the first installment you can read it here Of All the Joints in the World, Why mine? Now, the saga continues…
My shrill baby talk must have reached my youngest son’s ears because he came out to the patio to see what all the commotion was about. When he saw our canine guest, he oohed and aahed extending his hand to her and, like she did for me, he was rewarded with kisses and whimpering.
Now, in the South when visitors come to call, the first thing we do is offer them food and a cold drink; usually sweet tea. We extend the same courtesy to both human and animal visitors alike, so sensing our guest was probably hungry I sent my son inside to fetch a big bowl of kibble and fresh water (I’m not sure if dogs drink sweet tea). While waiting on my son to come back with the goodies, I discovered our guest was a girl and began calling her by the very unique name of “Girl” – “It’s okay, Girl. Are you hungry, Girl?” – You get the picture. When my son returned and put the offering of food and water in front of Girl she ate the entire bowl of food and gave the fresh water a few good laps. Once done, she made her way back to my side where she stayed while I started making phone calls.
I saw Girl was wearing a red collar with a metal tag and hoped the tag was one of those with the owner’s name and phone number engraved on it. Wouldn’t that have been fortunate? It turned out to be a rabies vaccine tag with no owner’s name, but the name and phone number of a veterinary clinic. I called the number on the tag knowing it wouldn’t do much good as it was Sunday and the office would be closed. I was right. I got a recorded message listing the hours of operation and requesting me not to leave a message but to call the emergency animal clinic instead. I then tried to call animal control to see if they could run the tag number, but they, too, were closed.
A quick call to the emergency animal clinic yielded no clues as to whom Girl belonged to or where she lived. The emergency clinic person suggested I call animal control. I told her I had already tried but they were not open on Sunday and I just wanted someone to look up the rabies tag number and call the owners. The clinic girl informed me they had no way of doing that and suggested if I was concerned about Girl’s safety I could take her to the local animal shelter or, if I had an area to do so, I could confine her until Monday morning when the vet’s office could be reached. I told the emergency clinic girl there was no way I was taking her to a shelter (the dog not the clinic girl) so I would just keep her with me.
As luck would have it, our yard has a rather large fenced area on the side, which was enclosed for a previous homeowner’s dog. I grabbed my own dog’s leash and led Girl into the fenced part of the yard. My son brought her food and water along and I retrieved an old sleeping bag and made her a bed in the shadiest part of the yard. With just a little prompting Girl laid down on the sleeping bag and fell asleep.
Frustrated, knowing I wouldn’t be able to get any information on Girl’s owners until the following morning, I thought about my dog Gus and how frantic I would be if he went missing for even an hour. It was obvious someone had cared for Girl as her coat was shiny, her body was lean, but not skinny, she was well-behaved and followed commands.
Throughout the rest of the afternoon, I talked to any neighbors I saw asking if they knew Girl or had seen her around. The answer was always the same “I don’t think so.” When I wasn’t talking to neighbors I was spending time with Girl. She had finally stopped trembling and her tail even wagged a bit when spoken to and loved on.
As night fell, I moved her bed up against my back door and when she was in a comfortable position I covered her with an old fleece bathrobe. Girl settled in for the night as I continued to look out the window every hour or so until I went to bed.
For the first time in long time (possibly ever), I couldn’t wait for Monday morning to arrive knowing the vet would find Girl’s owner and she could go home where she belonged…Or could she?
Stay tuned for Part Three of Girl’s story…