On Friday, August 9, 2013, our seventh foster, Woody, went to his forever home. It is always bittersweet when a foster leaves. You miss them because it is impossible not to fall in love, but you are so happy that you helped them on their way to their forever family. It is a wonderful feeling to help save a life.
On this particular Friday, Ben and I were both home. We were looking forward to a nice, quiet evening with our three pups. It is always nice to have some quality time with your kids after a foster leaves. They need to know how important they are and that they are dearly loved. Ben was outside starting the grill for our dinner. I was inside with the dogs writing Woody's happy tail blog post. All of a sudden, the dogs started going crazy. I figured it was just a walker going by or something of that nature. I look up and see a black dog darting between yards across the street. Uh-oh.
I knew the dog didn't belong to the home it was running behind. I grabbed a leash and my shoes. I had to make sure the pup made it home safely. I told Ben I was going to make sure the dog made it home and set off on foot. I walked up behind the dog (which was a black lab), whistled and bent down in a crouching position. The dog ran for me as soon as it sensed I wasn't a threat. Oh how friendly she was! I grabbed her collar and clipped the leash on her. Unfortunately, her collar only had a rabies tag. No name or number.
I knocked on the nearest house that happened to be my friend and coworker's neighbor. I told her who I was and asked if she knew who this dog belonged to. She didn't, but she said a home on a neighboring street had labs. Well, that was a start at least. I told her which house was mine in case the owners came around asking. I set off back home with this sweet girl. She was well cared for, so I knew she had a loving family somewhere.
I was walking up the street back home, and I could see Ben out by the grill still. I called to him, "Don't be mad, baby!" We had just gone from four to three dogs that very afternoon and here I was bringing another dog home. As I got a bit closer, I could see the outline of a smaller dog and a leash in Ben's hand. "What the heck is that???", I called. Ben said he just showed up from around the side of the house. Another dog??? Within five minutes??? You have to be kidding me. It's like a giant, neon vacancy sign popped up over our home the moment our foster left.
Ben's stray dog was a male beagle who also had a collar, but once again there were no tags. It looked as though he had broken free from his tie out. The beagle was neutered and well cared for as well, so I had a good feeling he had a loving home also.
So now what??? I grabbed a crate for the beagle to chill out in for a minute while I drove around with the black lab. No one knew who she belonged to. I knocked on several doors and told people where she could be found if the owners were looking for her. There was a problem though. It was getting dark out. I didn't want to keep knocking on strangers' doors in the dark, so I headed back home.
Ben and I decided to let the two strays out in the backyard for a potty break while I set up a couple of crates inside. (My dogs are fully vaccinated and on every preventative they can be on. Ben & I decided the risk to our dogs was very minimal as these dogs looked well cared for, but please use caution with strays as you never know what they might be carrying.) As we were setting up the crates, a car pulled up. Oh thank goodness!
A nice couple walked up to my front door. They were told by the lady I had spoken to earlier that I had their dog. I said, "Great! Which one is yours?" They looked at me like I was crazy. No, seriously...we had two show up within five minutes of each other. The black lab belonged to them. One down, one to go!
The beagle was one cool little dude. He was a perfect house guest. Ben nicknamed him Rusty for the evening. Rusty Shackleford. (Yep...that's my husband for ya!) Sweet Rusty seemed so sad. He got excited every time a car drove by. You could tell he just wanted to go home. I felt so bad for him. I promised him that we would start looking for his home again in the morning and take him to the vet to check for a microchip. Just in case his parents were still looking for him in the dark, I decided to hang a sign with my phone number on my mailbox. I also put his photo up on Facebook to help get the word out.
We all went to bed ready to wake up early and find Rusty's home. The next morning, my phone rang. It was Rusty's mom! She described him to me perfectly (I of course didn't want to send him to the wrong home!) She said she would be right over. I got Rusty and his leash and headed outside. He was sooooo happy to see his mom. He did a super cute little beagle dance! His mom told me they searched until after midnight for him and got up early that morning to start again when she saw my sign. She thanked me for saving him and told me his real name, Shiloh. They lived down the street from us. I was so happy that he found his way back home!
And then there were three: Coop, June, & Willa. My sweet babies were all we had again. Now it was time to spoil our kids.
At work the following week, I told my story to my friend that lives in my neighborhood. He replied, "Yeah, Chris's dog." Apparently, Shiloh was his friend's beagle that also works at our retail store at a different location. What a small world! I am so happy that their family is back together!
The moral of this story: please keep ID tags on your dog's collar. Also, please have them microchipped in case they get away when they don't have their collar on. It makes it much easier for Magic Dog Ladies such as myself to return them to their loving families. :)