On Monday after work I went for a run around the neighborhood. My runs? Not usually that exciting. After five minutes, I typically hate life and can focus on nothing beyond breathing and avoiding an ankle sprain.
As I was nearing the end of my route and approaching the salvation of my couch, I saw a small dog run right into traffic on Glendale Ave. The pup started a doomed game of Frogger as it darted between cars at rush hour.
Already hyperventilating, I summoned all the energy reserves I had and took off after the dog. You see, we dog lovers have an innate need to save a dog in danger. We risk life and limb to protect strays – all in the hope that some stranger will pay it forward for our pups if the situation was reversed.
Meanwhile, my mouth was so dry, I failed at every attempt to whistle, and resorted to just shrieking at the dog (because all dogs understand hysterical shouting, by the way).
Fortunately, my dog whispering prevailed, and the little basset hound came right to me. Without a leash, I alternated between leading him by the collar, half bent-over at the waist, or carrying him awkwardly, fur flying all over and sticking to my sweaty face. Eventually, I made it home, and Jim and I started the task of trying to find the owners.
The dog had no ID tag, but was wearing a County license. We called the phone number on the tag, only to learn it was disconnected. We entered the license number into the system’s prompts, only to get an invalid message every time. Jim walked the dog around the neighborhood, hoping to find a panicked owner, but came home without success.
We made a makeshift home for the dog in our yard, since our own two canines were none too pleased with this intruder. We fed him and searched craigslist for possible matches of lost dogs. No dice. I reached a County volunteer at a PetSmart store who looked up the license and gave me the owner’s phone number. I called — only to learn it was an outdated listing.
I took McGruff (at this point, why not name him?) to a friend’s house and proceeded to spend four hours with her, calling rescues, shelters and veterinary offices. Big fat nothing.
It was after business hours and NO ONE answered the phone or called us back. But McGruff got to enjoy a treat-filled Kong and a few laps around the yard. I wanted to keep him, he was adorable. But I wasn’t in a position to take in a third dog.
Finally, I reached a vet’s office that was still open and offered to house him for the night (shout out to Sonora Veterinary Specialists!). Better yet — they worked with the local basset rescue and would help connect him with the right folks. At 10:30 at night we dropped him off and hoped for the best.
I’m fortunate to work with someone who has close connections with several rescues and Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. She updated the shelter that McGruff was on his way in and that we wanted to help out as needed.
Flash forward to this afternoon, when I got a call from someone who’d seen the craigslist ad. The location and description matched perfectly, this was his dog! I updated him on what happened and told him to contact animal control asap. We followed up with the shelter and hoped it was just a matter of time until a reunion occurred.
Finally this evening, I got the text I’d been waiting for:I’ve had my dogs lost before. It is the worst feeling ever. If you ever find a lost pet, it can be a very frustrating process, but please do all you can to make someone else feel whole again. It’s totally worth it.