Driving into Greensboro on Monday, I saw a cute black puppy trotting along the side of the road. My reaction was instantaneous and complete.
Oh hell no.
I pulled over and the dog darted in the bushes but peeked his head out. I called to him in a friendly voice and he gave me a few "I'm a badass" barks but his ears were perked and the tail it was ah-wagging.
I pulled out a banana and threw him a chunk. Bingo. By the last few bites he was sitting on my foot and eating out of my hand, looking up at me with adoring chocolate eyes. Melt-melt-melt.
He wasn't too sure about getting in the car but he took to it right away, checking out the air-conditioning system and grinning out the window at other drivers as I drove him to my vet. They scanned him and no chip, no collar. It just infuriates me that people get pets and can't part with the $25 for a microchip. It's part of responsible pet ownership, people. At the very least, get a collar and some tags.
Anyway, my anger aside, I was convinced this dog was someone's pet who escaped. His coat was shiny and clean, he was friendly and, while he ate, he didn't wolf down the food like he was starving. I took him to my mom's house (fenced in yard) while I called area vets with a description of the dog in case someone called in looking for him. I also called our NEW SHELTER (hip-hip-HOOORAY!!). Amazingly, a man had called in that morning looking for a black lab.
I called the guy, convinced I had his dog. When I told him I had found a black lab he almost started crying. "I'm so happy you called," he said. "Can you say his name to him? Say 'Bo' and see if he looks at you."
I went over to the puppy and repeated the name to no response. "How old is your dog?" I asked.
"About 9 years old," he answered.
My heart dropped. "I'm sorry," I said. "This dog is about 6-7 months old."
There was dead silence on the other end of the line for a long moment. Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking. Both he and I were so sure I had his dog and then... no. I felt awful. He thanked me for calling and I wished him luck finding Bo.
Back to the puppy. I drove him to the new Rockingham County Animal Shelter which had opened for the very first time that morning. I now hold the dubious distinction of being the first person to drop off an animal at the shelter. They took my picture with the puppy and took him to the back. They were thrilled he was so cute and everyone there is determined to see their first intake end with a success story.
As for me, I of course burst into tears the minute I was back in my car. The dog had sat with his head on my lap for most of the 20-minute ride to the shelter. He was so silky, so sweet, and from the moment I picked him up off the highway I had been whispering promises that I would take care of him. I thought of him that night, sleeping alone in a cage. Of course, it's much better than sleeping outside and being lost and hungry and scared, but I was still sad.
I'm really, really hoping the owners come looking for him. And I want to give a big shout out to the new shelter and people there. They were friendly, helpful, and I do 100% believe the puppy is in good hands.
I'll let you know what happens.