I knew that I was on a mission sent from the Universe. I even said so aloud. Something like "Oh, I know why you had me ride down here today, ole Universe, you want me to help this little lost dog, don't ya?"
All well and good, but the little chichi was having none of me and my overladen bike basket that rattled and groaned under the weight of books and bag, plus my superalien looking bike helmet paired with my 70's frame sunglasses that together make me look like a bug in human clothing. I cajoled her, chased her, cried a little as she ran into a parking lot where a black crow her size swooped in to take a look. I gave up after several minutes of riding in circles and seeing nothing. I told the Universe I couldn't help if I couldn't find her, but upon turning the corner to head home, there she was, perched and looking out on the horizon. With the help of a man who saw my intentions, the little girl chihuahua was happily cornered and thrust into my arms.
I figured with my blossoming computer skills, digital camera and ability to quickly make and print signs, this was why I was chosen to help the little girl I came to know as "Peach". But after hanging signs, putting found ads on Craigslist, FidoFinder, Petfinder, mass email to the neighborhood association and the offleash dog park crowd, visit to the vet to check for a chip (none), walking the dog 4 times a day in the area she was found, talking to pet sitters, groomers and senior housing managers in the area - nothing was happening.
Oh, well something was happening, just not the kind you wanted to hear or know about. People trying to scam me by taking the photo I put up, cropping and Photoshopping it a bit to look slightly different and then putting up their own ad for a little doggie that had gone missing. Ugh.
There was also all of the people who contacted you with heart wrenching stories of loved furry ones lost to them that in no way resembled the dog I found, but owners who were looking for any shred of hope to be reunited with their loved ones. These were the people who applauded my fortitude to find the correct owners and gave me a positive sense of purpose when things got a bit annoying and sad.
Peach, named as such because she was and is, a "peach" of a dog - was the easiest part of the whole found dog equation. She was smart and funny and huggable. She liked to go on walks and be outside (within a day she had the whole leash thing figured out). Peach slept under a pile of comforter that she would shape into a nest on the top of my bed with me every night. I still wake up more gingerly these morning, a week later, trying not to wake the dog who liked to sleep in and take her time greeting the world in the morning. Ahhh - our temperaments were sooo well suited for one another. I miss her still.
A totally unexpected side effect of doing right by this little dog was my mother and her feeling of abandonment over the time that I spent those seven days that I had Peach in trying to take care of her and find her home. My mother and I share a dog - and I walk him everyday. Mom had to do a little more of the dog care than she was accustomed to that week, but she had to adjust to a bit more than that. My attention had shifted and divided, and that was just not acceptable. Being a widow of just 2 years now, Mom has me living just up the street and seeing her everyday. Mom has become a little territorial. At times very vocally so. It seems I am not allowed to have outside interests that conflict with the status quo. It was a learning experience on so many fronts. (Ha! who am I kidding - it still is)
Happily, the story ended well for everyone. I was sitting out on the lawn with the dog exactly a week plus 3 hours from the day Peach was found, and the owners drove by and saw us. The first out of the car was the down syndrome daughter who emphatically told me that I had her dog. A neighbor's daughter driving with the mother and daughter dog owners interpreted for the emotional reunion (they were Spanish speaking and new to the neighborhood). The family of two had never seen my signs, never looked on the Internet, had never thought that the dog would have wandered as far down into the neighborhood as she did. Mad computer skills - ha! Just good ole lost and found karma that reunited animal and girl.
Oh, I asked my litany of questions and received the correct responses, but it was clear from the wagging tale and the dog kisses being generously distributed that this was where Peach, whose real name is Toochi, belonged.
I visited Peach the next day - poster in hand. I wanted the owners to see some of the efforts I had put forth in the effort to send their dog back home to them, but I also was missing Peach. She whined and had me pick her up and it was obvious that we still were in love with each other. For just a moment, I think both Peach and I wondered what would life had been like if she had not ever been found. I was all ready to find her the very best home, but I know now that I could have provided her with a good one myself. I don't know if I should hasten back for a visit just yet. Emotions are still a bit raw. Toochi's family says that they hope to have a new litter of puppies with her "novio (boyfriend) " soon and have offered me one.
A little chip off the ole Peach block - I would seriously consider risking the wrath of Mom for that opportunity. But who is to say what will materialize in the future. I for one, am living in a miasma of the unknown right now.
But a friendly cuddle with a warm and furry being is always welcome.