Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A dog owner for a day

Nothing like playing dog owner for a day to realize how not ready we are for a dog.

A few months back, Superman and I were strolling the neighborhood and happened upon a lost dog. He didn't have on a collar, but was obviously a well taken care of pet. The dog lover I am, I instantly was ready to take him home and start making "Found Dog" flyers.  Superman was not so motivated.  But the dog followed us home, literally into our backyard.  So it was settled.

I called the local animal shelter and left a detailed description, then made up a few flyers to post around the neighborhood.  Then, we borrowed a leash from a neighbor and took our new buddy for a walk around the surrounding blocks, posting his picture as we went.

Then it was time to drive down to pick up Thing 1 and Thing 2 who had stayed the night with grandma and grandpa.  While we were gone, a man called because the animal shelter had told him we'd found his dog, Stu. I let him know that Stu was in our backyard, gave him directions to the house, and figured I'd never see this sweet dog again.

Fast forward two months, and I get a call at work from Superman. He has just arrived home to find Stu sitting on the front steps.  It's cold and rainy, so he brings him in.  I call the shelter again, this time I'm able to give them both the dog's name and the owner's name.  I figure it will be just a short matter of time before the owner comes to claim him.

A few hours later, we still haven't heard from the owner, so I go online and look up my own phone records to find the guy's number.  I call his phone "Hi, you've reached Steve's phone," yup, it's the right number.  And I leave a message "Hey, we have your dog again.  Please come get him."

As night time rolls around, the owner still hasn't called or come to get his dog.

Now I will say...I grew up with dogs.  I can't remember a time in my life when we didn't have a dog.  Not big dogs like Stu (who I think is some kind of lab/retriever mix), but we had a cocker spaniel (25 lb-ish), then a lhasa-poo (20 lb-ish), and then I had two shih tzus (each about 15 lbs) when Superman and I first got married (they now happily live with my parents in a non-children household).  And I never in my life imagined that I'd be dog-less for so long (going on five years now).  And ever since we relinquished my dogs to my parents when I was on admitted to the hospital when I was pregnant I've been looking forward to the day we would be able to add to our family by adopting our own dog.

But now, now that I had this 100+ lb sweetheart jumping on my bed, grabbing Thing 1 and Thing 2's toys and stuffed animals, constantly asking to be let out and then let back in, scrapping with the cat...the list goes on.  I thought "man, get this dog out of here!"  I called his owner again first thing in the morning and said "Dude, Stu is going to be in my backyard, if I get home from work and he's still there, I'm taking him to the shelter."  Superman was stunned.  He thought for sure that I would be using the delinquent owner as an excuse to try and proclaim Stu for our own.  He was amazed that I was actually more anxious than him to get rid of it.

I'm still a dog lover, and I still want a dog.  And I actually kind of missed Stu when I got home from work that afternoon to find him gone.  But for right now, 14 hours with a dog was enough to let me know that we still aren't ready for such a big responsibility and commitment.  And in a way, I'm thankful to Stu's owner for letting me see that.

1 comment:

  1. The insight you've gained by this experience is priceless. Dog's are fun, but we have an OLD dog, and she's deaf, has cataracts, can no longer hold her urine and is becoming a burden. I love our Grace dearly and she's been a part of our family for more than 8 years...but having an old dog who needs to be taken out twice in the middle of the night is like having a puppy at home. It is likely that when our Grace dies it will be a while before we own another pet.