And, now, Of All the Joints in All the World…The Conclusion…
The male voice on the other end of the phone told me he thought I had found his dog. Cautiously, I replied “Well, I do have a dog here.” “Is it a black Lab?” the caller asked. “Yes” I said still trying to be sure he was the rightful owner. “What’s her name?” I continued. “Oh, her name is Jo-Jo” he answered. There was a long silence on my part and the caller must have sensed my uneasiness with the name Jo-Jo because he then added “Her name is Josie, but we call her Jo-Jo.” I felt elation mixed with a touch of sadness as I realized this was Josie’s owner. “Yes, I have Josie” I said “I’m so happy you called!”
During my conversation with Josie’s owner I learned Josie had been with him since she was a puppy. He did live in the neighborhood we had canvassed twice. I told him we had hung posters there, but he said he had not seen them. “I had just about given up hope of finding her” he said. I asked when he could come to take Josie home and he told me he would leave his home just as soon as possible. After giving him directions, I went to share the good news with Josie.
As she was every morning since showing up in our yard, Josie was happy to see me, getting up slowly to greet me with her tail wagging. “You’re going home today” I said as I patted her head and hooked the leash on her collar. I took her out of the fenced yard and onto our porch where I told Josie how much I loved having her with us, how she would be missed and how happy I was she was going home (actually, I was a little sad). Side by side we sat and waited for her owner to arrive.
It wasn’t long before an old pickup truck pulled into our driveway. “Look, Josie” I said as I led her to the steps of the front porch. The minute Josie saw the pickup truck her tail began to wag vigorously and she made a beeline to the truck. When the door opened and her daddy stepped out, Josie picked up her pace and began her growl talk. Josie’s owner introduced himself as he knelt beside her. Josie began to nuzzle him, roll around in the grass and talk to him. “Where have you been? I had just about given up hope of finding you” he said to Josie as he patted her head and played with her. Seeing the two of them together was a beautiful sight.
My husband told the owner we had gone to his neighborhood twice, but the only person who recalled seeing anyone with a Lab was a smaller Lab who was not very well-behaved. “Oh, that’s Lulu,” the owner laughed, “She’s my two-year old black Lab and Josie’s pal.” We told him about the little Lab we had seen taunting the German Shepherds earlier that morning. “Yep, that’s Lulu,” he said, “She’s always getting into trouble and escaping the fenced yard. The neighbors either love her or hate her.”
Seems Lulu is a rambunctious and mischievous escape artist (like most two-year-olds), able to jump or dig her way out of the fenced backyard. Josie’s owner seemed to think Lulu had somehow managed to free not only herself but Josie as well and the young Lab had led Josie astray taking her on an adventure. When Lulu was ready to go home, Josie, due to her age, was unable to keep up so little Lulu left her behind and Josie was unable to get home on her own. Josie had been missing for 12 days!
I mentioned to Josie’s daddy that she had not eaten anything in the last 24 hours though we had tried to get her to. He said Lulu had stopped eating too and he hoped reuniting them would fix the problem. After snapping a few photos of the happy reunion it was time for Josie to go home.
Her owner lowered the tailgate of his pickup and without hesitation Josie made a big leap into the back needing just a little help from her dad to get all the way in. My husband and I said our goodbyes to Josie and her dad promised he would bring her by for a visit sometime. “Keep my number in case she goes missing again” I told him. He laughed and said he would. If dogs can smile, Josie was smiling from ear to ear as we waved goodbye and she headed home.
I’ll be honest, we miss Josie; miss her a lot. She was a most welcomed guest in our home but we are so happy her owner was found and he was someone who truly cared about and loved her.
Have a good life, sweet Josie and don’t let little Lulu take you on any adventures too far from home.