As we were walking our dogs on Friday afternoon, a little white schnauzer followed us down the street. It had no collar or tags and didn't look very well cared for. She looked like she'd been on the run awhile. Probably got lost over the holidays, I figured, which is fairly typical. I had no way to tether her as we walked back toward our house, and she veered right out in the street and was nearly hit by a truck. I screamed, and she turned back to the sidewalk in the nick of time to avoid disaster. I'd just come from seeing
, the saddest dog movie since Old Yeller, so witnessing a dog die even more horribly than Marley would have finished me off.
I picked her up and carried her the rest of the way home, soiling my clean coat, but it's just a coat, and I could clean it again. I put her in the gated front patio with my two bassets. Peaches liked the dog, but Bubba took an immediate dislike to her and was having no part of another intruder in his domain. He's never really accepted Peaches. Obviously, we couldn't keep the stray schnauzer and no way was I going to take her to Animal Control. Then I thought of my mom, who still grieves for the loss of Flash, her mini-schnauzer that died years ago. She's been so depressed since my dad died. This little dog might spark up her life a bit and be good company for her and her Scottie, Laddie, I hoped. It was worth a try, and since we were going to pick her up to go out to dinner for my birthday, we took the dog with us. She nuzzled under my arm and looked up at me with questioning chocolate drop eyes as we drove to Mom's house. I felt so sorry for this little dog lost and was trying hard not to get attached to her.
The dog stayed overnight with my mom, and she seemed to like her, except for her ear-splitting, high-pitched yip, which she said made Laddie want to hide. I guess Mom had forgotten over the years that schnauzers do that. The next morning there were "Lost Mini-schnauzer" signs posted all over our neighborhood with the dog's photo on them. I didn't return the dog right away. I figured I'd let its owners sweat it out for a day because they had been so careless with their dog. Perhaps they might appreciate her more if they didn't get her back so easily. I've seen people like this so many times. You know them, too. The kind of pet owners who continue to let their dog roam the neighborhood, putting the animal's life at great risk. They seem assured that some kind neighbor will routinely deliver their pet back to their doorstep, which is usually what happens because people come to recognize the errant pet from past escapes. Before long, they don't bother to even come looking for their dog. By the end of the day, I had learned from neighbors who had "lost" the dog. It was a woman who always has a pile of cat cages and litter boxes stacked in front of her house. Lovely. I have always suspected she is an animal hoarder but don't know for sure. Judging from the unkempt condition of her dog, it seems more than likely.
I was tempted to let my mother keep the dog since I think people like this who permit the gardener or anyone else to let their dog out of their yard, and don't bother to put ID on their pet to ensure its safe return, don't really deserve to keep a dog as a pet. I knew Mom would give "Heidi" a far better home than they had done, but I gave my mother the phone number and let her make the decision whether to call them or not. In the end, she decided to call, and they came and got their dog. I think she was sorry she had, though. The woman, who Mom said didn't seem very pleasant, insisted that Heidi was completely an indoor dog. If that's so, then why when I passed their house this afternoon did I hear Heidi yipping at their gate outside in the freezing cold? If I ever see that dog wandering loose again, she will be re-homed with someone who gives a damn about her.