Long ago when we bought our first Range Rover, I was up late watching television and stumbled across a Range Rover infomercial. As I shared with Lyle the next day, apart from telling how great it would be to own a Range Rover, this infomercial also showed me that people who drive Range Rovers are better than everyone else. In it, there is a very attractive couple getting dressed in formal attire. The cameras follow them as they collect their things and get into their Range Rover. They drive our into traffic and it is POURING rain. In the middle of the street, in the rain, is a lost dog. Traffic is roaring past it and it stands shivering in the headlights of the Range Rover. The husband looks at the wife in her evening gown, she looks at him in his tuxedo, they both look down at their tickets to the ballet, and the wife shrugs as if to say, "It's just the ballet," and the next picture is of the husband in his tuxedo carrying the dog into the Range Rover.
I cried when I told Lyle about the commercial. I also told him it proved that we had chosen the right car because CLEARLY we are better people than everyone else. We are the kind of people who would stop and help a defenseless dog in a rain storm, tuxedo be damned!
Fast forward 8 years and Lyle is out rollerblading with Lola Saturday morning. A random black dog decides to follow them. And follow them. And follow them. Through major intersections, through traffic. All the way to our house. No tags. No collar.
We catch him and put him in the yard and now have to keep our dogs from going in the yard and finding an uninvited guest. Oh Saturday, you are shaping up to be very interesting.
Lyle takes Cooper out rollerblading and I offer the stray some food. He didn't scarf it down, he didn't even seem very interested. Okay, random pet escapee. Couldn't have gotten far. The one thing he has managed to do is roll through some fertilizer. I get out some baby wipes in the hopes of cleaning him up, and it mostly releases the scent of manure without really removing any evidence. I name him Stinky.
By the time Lyle gets home I have already photographed Stinky and created a Found Dog Flyer.We get our dogs settled in, hook up Stinky and take 25 flyers with clear packing tape back out to the streets. We canvass the neighborhood back to where Lyle first discovered him. No one knows him. He keeps pulling south, so we think he must have come from South. We cover about 15 blocks then turn around and head towards home. I check in with google maps on my phone and find a nearby dog grooming location. And may I just give a huge THANK YOU to The Dog House on Third Street. They refused payment for him and just asked that we make a donation somewhere to help other lost dogs who wouldn't be lucky enough to find us.
We take Stinky in for a bath. We have decided he is going to go to the vet to see if he has a microchip in him and there is no way that much manure is getting in my car.
We leave him at the groomer for his spa treatment. Returning home I scan Craigslist for lost dog ads and place a found dog ad. Lyle checks in with Petfinder.com. Nothing on either site.
Stinky is ready to be picked up and as we are binging him out to the Range Rover I gasp, "Oh my god! We've become the commercial!" But is doesn't give me much joy because I am very concerned as to why someone isn't out wander the streets shouting, "STINKY! STIIIIIIIIIINKY!!!!!!!!" and searching for such an amazingly sweet dog.
We get him checked for the microchip and he has one! But the last owner was registered in 2003, so we are not too hopeful. The vet office tracks down a phone number, calls it and leaves a message. That's it. We're done. Now what?
We come home, and decide that Stinky can't stay outside as he will just get stinky again.
We go into the house and prepare. Guest room bed gets a cover sheet over the bed, bowl of water and a few toys. All cords get tucked away. Then we get out two doggie gates and stack them one upon another. This guest room has a powder room pass through from the kitchen. This powder room will become the vapor lock for entry and exit.
Our dogs get locked in the back bedroom. Stinky get's put into his cell (better than what Martha Stewart had I'm guessing) and then our dogs are let out to discover what is behind gate number 2. There is a lot of barking. Then treats are offered. All is quiet. Until treats are done, then there is more barking, whining, growling... massive migraine approaches on the horizon and oh, did I forget to mention that we had an anniversary party to attend at 6 pm? And Lyle had a haircut appointment at 2? And the oven repair man came at 2:30? FULL. DAY.
It all sorts itself out, and at 6 pm, by the miracle of Vicodan (for my unbelievable headache) we are ready to leave the house. Stinky ensconced in his guest suite with the door closed just in case the gates failed.
We leave the party early just in case there was trouble at home and when we get home the answering machine has a message from Stinky's owner! The chip worked!!!
I'm so excited and Lyle speaks to the woman and finds out Stinky's real name is Digger. Perhaps this is how he came to be free? And I am super happy that he is going home to his mom. Then Lyle hangs up and comes to fill me in on the details.
It was her dog. But she and her husband have split up and he got the dog. She lives in a apartment and cant' have a dog. He lives outside at her husband's house. That's probably how he got out. He likes to run. He once disappeared for two years and was found later out in Chatsworth (about 20 miles from home) and this time he had gone about 3 miles from up near Hollywood and Vine (North, not South of us. He had been leading us astray all that time.). And she had called her husband and got no answer so she was planning on just going by and putting Digger back in through the gate to the yard.
Now i was sad. This fabulous friendly little dog was not going home to his mom. She arrived 15 minutes later. Digger was happy to see her even though she said she hadn't seen him on over a year. She looked very tired and very unhappy. Sort of exhausted. Since she didn't know for certain if she could get Digger back into his yard, I offered to let her stay overnight int eh guest room with him. You see I was already in love and didn't want to let him go.
She offered us money for taking care of him, we refused and she just put it on the table and walked away from it. I followed her out to her car and Lyle came out to say goodbye to Digger. We gave her the money back and told her to make a donation or buy digger a dog house. Just to take care of him and make him happy, and more importantly to make herself happy. I didn't say it out loud, but she looked like she could use some happy.
They left, we went inside and I broke down and cried. It was a very unsatisfying happy ending.