Friday, May 11, 2012

Dog Days

It has been a strange week. Not only have we been stressed about our house (today is our official close date), but I'm also dealing with finals and volunteer responsibilities. But a very peculiar incident took place Wednesday night and altered the course of the following day. This is a story about a very sweet dog and what happens to a group of people when they decide to take responsibility for a lost pet. It thankfully has a happy ending, but I know for many other animals it often ends in death. I don't know what we would have done if we hadn't found the owners--we would probably have a new dog in addition to a new house. So to those out there with animals, please, please, please be extra cautious and keep an eye on them when they are outdoors. This dog could have easily been killed, by car or lethal injection at the pound, and as we learned, it all could have been prevented if they had put the dog inside when they left home.


The other night Mike and I had dinner with our friend T. at her new place in Manteca. We were driving home when we saw a dog in the middle of the road frozen in fear and blocking traffic.

It was one of those moments where everyone hopes someone else will do something...and nobody does anything. So I hopped out and beckoned her to the side of the road while Mike pulled over. Thankfully, she was a very obedient dog and came to me when I called her.

She was a beautiful doberman, and she let me grab her collar and showed no signs of aggression or that she felt threatened by me. She was nervous but inclined towards obedience.

We called around to animal control and vets offices to see if they could take her, but no one could help us at that time of night. We stopped and talked to a woman getting her mail. She didn't know the dog, but she knew a dog groomer, whose apartment we went to hoping she might recognize the dog (she didn't.)

So we ended up back at T.'s. Now, T. has a crazy work schedule--she has to be at work before 6, and has to wake up before 5. There was no way we could leave the dog alone in her little studio from 5 AM to 3 PM. So we decided that I would cancel my plans for the next day and stay the night and morning with her so T. could go to work.

Struggling with the stairs.
Nikita (as we later learned was her name) was so sweet but could not for the life of her figure out how to climb stairs. The stone steps outside T.'s apartment seemed to confuse and frighten her. So Mike and I lifted her and carried her up to the apartment. She did know 'sit' and 'down,' and was so eager to follow commands. She reminded me of my sister's dog, Puppy/Estrellita, who I've since learned might be part doberman.
How she actually slept.

Our attempt at a dog bed.

Nikita hopped up on the couch when I laid down to sleep, kind of
like Puppy but quite a bit bigger. It was nice to have a doggy to cuddle with, but it made sleeping a lot harder. I decided that if that was the only way she would be calm, then I would let her sleep there.

The morning after a restless night.
The shelter didn't open til 10, so Mike came down early and brought some food and a leash. I spent the morning walking around with her while yappy off-leash dogs charged her then backed down as she looked at them quizzically. (Another note: please don't let your dogs off-leash on the street. You never know what could happen.) She also saw several cats that I think she would have liked to meet, but they were not so enthusiastic.

Mike came back after court and we both hopped in the car with her to go to the shelter. Luckily the owners had called just a few minutes before. We called them and they were there within minutes to pick up Nikita. She bounded toward them as they got out of the car.

We learned that she was left outside with their other dog while they went out, from about 9 PM to 11 PM. The woman had asked the man to let her inside, but he either forgot or didn't think it would be a big deal.We found her around 9:30. I presume she hopped a fence--she is a big dog--and didn't know what to do with her new found freedom. Maybe she raided some trashcans and ran around the empty field near where she was found. I'm just so glad that she wasn't run over and was reunited with her owners, and I hope they've learned to leave her inside.

So, with the very little sleep that I got and the feeling that we had done something good, we drove back to Sacramento, signed the deed on our house, and today were given the keys. I'm a little worn out, and still unable to believe that we are officially homeowners. This whole week has made me realize that a house, school, and a cat are enough responsibilities at the moment. There is no need to rush out and get a dog, as much as we might want to and as much fun as it was to bond with a random dog this week.


  1. Oh my word. I love this. Thanks for helping that pup. I am tearing up, thinking about this happening to my Walker and him being terrified in a new place. Like Nikita, he was so weird about steps when we first got him. Anyhow, thanks for being so awesome. And congrats on the house!

    1. Aw thanks!

      The whole time I had the dog, I kept thinking that this is what I would want somebody to do if I lost a dog and they found her. Hope you never have to go through that with your Walker!

  2. Thank goodness you found her! I always worry about my pups getting loose! We found a Lab a few weeks back. Luckily he had a collar with a phone number and address. It's so important for owners to get their dogs up-to-date tags!
    Can't wait to see your new home!

    1. So true--she would have been home that evening if she had a phone number on her tags. The last time I found a dog (a really sweet flat-coated retriever) she had her tags and was back with her owner within 20 minutes!

      Sounds like you are a good, responsible pet owner keeping your doggies up to date.


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