Monday, January 18, 2010

Found a Dog

This old fellow was wandering around, in the middle of the street, not far from my house. He has cataracts and he's hard of hearing, and he was tottering around and shaking in the cold, wet, stormy evening. I pulled over and checked with the houses immediately around him, but nobody recognized him, and nobody was missing a dog. He is wearing a red collar, but no tags.

I even drove off once, but then came back and got him into my car. I took him home, where everybody in my house lost their minds. For very different reasons. Scotty wanted to TOUCH HIM please let me TOUCH HIM let me TOUCH THE DOG. Tommy named him Tim and created this heartbreakingly adorable flyer. Erik thought the old codger might bite our kids, and he left so he wouldn't have to kill me.

When I was very young, around Scotty's age, my mom was driving down Mission in Fremont. We were stopped at a light near Niles Canyon, when there was a scratching on the door of her red Impala (23 feet, tip to tip, with a white vinyl roof...holy cow!). She opened the door, and a dog hopped in. We had that dog, Foxy, for 15 years. She had a litter of puppies, one of which went to live with Gram. She named that dog Buffa (please to excuse the old lady, but I believe it means "fart") and Buffa eventually gave birth to a litter of puppies. (We now neuter and spay, rather fanatically.) One of them, chosen by my younger brother Jason, came to live with us. He never had a chance, as he was named Schlep. His nickname was "Schmelzer" and my grandpa, who was abnormally cranky, used to call him "that damned Slurpy".

Foxy went into a disagreeable old age, before she went deaf and slept through the car starting up...and rolling over her. Oh boy. Buffa developed a skin rash from eating eggs and toast with strawberry jam for breakfast. And Schlep suffered a similar dermatalogical fate. He eventually lost hair in great long patches on his back, and had open sores and red welts where he used to have a coat of fur. He looked like a white weenie dog, except for the skin rash. When Erik first met Schlep, he actually offered to staple a piece of carpet to his back, making it more appealing to pet him, so the dog could get some affection. He once followed us on a three mile walk, horrifying small children and neighbors, and we were so disgusted by his rash that we virtually ignored him....we did feel bad when we realized he had a little thorn in his paw, which was causing him to limp most of the way. Schlep was an extemely cute puppy (he looked like a harp seal!) who grew up to be a pretty plain dog, but his looks really went over the cliff with that rash. Poor little feller.

Oh, and once? Erik and I had a black and white cat named Trixie. Trixie ran away from home every few weeks, and went to live with other families. She loved us, but she had no loyalty. When she went missing for a week once, I drove by a black and white cat that had been hit by a car down the street from our house. It was dead...and...I just couldn't tell if it was Trixie or not. In my distress, I picked up the dead cat and carried it on my lap as I drove home. I asked Erik if he thought this dead cat was Trixie.

He was, understandably, horrified and asked me, at the top of his lungs, to get the f*** out of the house, and to please come back when I wasn't holding a dead cat.

So, all this, to say, I come from a long line of people who bring home strays (dog, cat, human, dead, alive, no matter) and so I really thought this little guy was best off with us, until we can find his people.

He peed in the house four times, even though we took him outside multiple times. The first time I took him out, he accidentally jumped into the middle of the pond and stood there, unreachable from any shore, until I finally fished him out five minutes later. He then came in, soaking wet, and shook all over the kitchen before running around leaving wet paw prints all over the hardwood floors. I was thinking he's kind of a dumbass, but then I realized, you know, I'm the one who brought him home. One of us is pretty stupid.

But the kids love him, and I am hopeful (no, confident!) that he will be going home sometime tomorrow. I expect tears when Tim leaves us. Tommy has already made me promise that I won't take him home until he gets to say goodbye to him.

Oh dear.

Good news! "Chuckie" went home late last night. My post on Craigs List (lost and found under community) turned out to be the killer move. The distraught family was obssessively checking Craig's List, and my post (with picture) went up around 9 or 9:30 last night. They were so happy! And, although we truly enjoyed our time with Chuckie, and our role as his temporary caretaker, we could not be more thrilled that he's right back where he belongs. Getting his heart medication, to boot. Whoa. Chuckie, it turns out, belongs to a neighbor who lives on our street, toward the bottom of our hill, even though I found Chuckie three streets and two hills away. Happy endings make me so happy!


  1. As long as I live, I will never forget Schlep. That dog was hilarious! I remember when people would pull up to your parents house and schlep would come running at them from a mile away. They would be all "oh..look at that cute puppy.." Until he got closer and they would have that look of dismay/disgust and yet feel so compelled to pet him because he was so happy to see they would rub that little piece of soft fur right between his eyes and nose. Remember when he was rubbing his back on the underside of your parents car and came out with a slick of old oil from ear to tail?

    I'll also never forget the time in high school when we were riding around in your 260z and you slammed on the brakes on that busy street to jump out, stop traffic, and pick up the dead cat with rigor mortis so you could lay it gently on the side of the road in some pretty bushes/flowers where it could lay in peace. I, of course, just new to the area from Los Angeles thought I was going to hurl...but found you so endearing :)

    Tim is definitely in a great place while he hopefully is awaiting the call from his worried sick family... Or, has just found himself a new home - at your Moms house if Erik can help it. lol!

  2. OK Mia, you are your mother's daughter and God Bless You. I am sure Tim is happy you saw him. Between you bringing him home, Scotty lovingly petting him and Tommy working hard to find his family, Tim is in a good space. I once rescued an Irish Setter from Hartnell knowing her family were worried about her. Yeah Right!!! The dog had more energy than all 4 of my kids and lived her life out with us. She was a good dog once she turned 5 and some of that energy left:) She too had skin problems like Schlep.

  3. Ha! Tracy, that's so funny! I was totally remembering Oil-Slick-Schmelz when I was writing this story! He was like a revers skunk. Pitiful. It's hard to know how much to write; if you just stumbled through here, you could read something about Schlep and really get offended that it sounds like we didn't 'do enough' for him. It's so hard to talk about the reality of owning a skanking dog, and somehow conveying how much you love him in spite of it. I maintain my lifelong assertion that, even with his "issues", I would still want to come back in another life as one of my mom's dogs. Any of them!

    Betty ~ Too too funny! I really did have a moment there, where I was thinking, dang. We're going to have to keep this dog if we can't find his people! I mean, what were my choices? I couldn't possibly take him to the humane society...he was too old for adoption, too sickly to be a viable option for most dog-owners anyways, and, most importantly, I just couldn't see him sitting in a cage, lonely and confused about where his family went, for several days. I seriously had a moment of OMG, this is it, now I'm going to have a peeing, shaking, pond-hopping dog, and just now, when I wrote that...I realized why Erik gets so annoyed with me! LOL