I’m a cat person. Dogs are needy and slobbery and they all think we’re in a romantic relationship. (How else to explain my dog’s frequent attempts to insert his tongue into my mouth?) Still, when I see a dog in trouble, I can’t resist trying to help him out.
This morning it was my wife who noticed the two boxers running through the busy, busy street right outside our home (our kids aren’t allowed to play in the front yard it’s so busy). It was ten minutes before I needed to drop Elora off at school, but still I put on my shoes and ran out in my PJ’s.
Luckily, a nice family stopped and was already trying to corral the dogs. One of them they had, but the other one was skittish and the closer we got to it, the more it did its best to kill itself by running back out into traffic. I grabbed some dog treats to try to coax it over and they worked well enough for one of us to grab her by the collar and secure her. Luckily, the dogs were super nice and didn’t try to bite us.
Now knowing what else to do, we dragged both dogs over to my house and secured them behind the gate on my porch. The runner I tied up with a leash for extra security, but the other one was content to just lay down and enjoy the scenery. My wife set out pumpkins a month ago and they and the leaves that had recently blown in from the terrible wind that had kicked up earlier that morning were still there. I thanked the nice family for their help and sent them on their way. I took Elora to school and then came back to call Animal Control.
The animals looked resigned and unhappy. They were gaunt. Ribs were clearly visible and there was not an ounce of fat on them. I brought out some of my dog’s food and a bowl of water. They attacked both with enthusiasm and I went back inside to wait half an hour for someone to talk to me. Watched the new John Carter trailer. Checked email. When I finally got a live person on the line, they told me I’d need to sign for the dogs to release them.
Me: What? Why?
Lady on the Phone: Because you have them secured behind a gate and we can’t open the gate.
Me: Sure you can. It’s not locked and you can open it and let them out.
LotP: No, sir, we can’t. We cannot open a door or gate to get the dogs unless someone at the house is there to give us permission and sign for them.
Me: I’m giving your permission right now.
LotP: I’m sorry sir. If you were to leave the gate open then we could get the dogs without you there.
Me: If I open the gate they’ll run out into the street and get hit by a car.
LotP: I’m sorry. The only way we can get the dogs is if the gate is open.
Me: Are you telling me you’d rather they get hit by a car than come and open a gate?
LotP: No, that’s just legally all we can do.
Me: Well, when are you coming by?
LotP: It could be anytime from when you call to when we close. It really depends on where the driver is when he gets the call.
Me: This is ridiculous. I have to go to work!
LotP: When do you go in?
Me: A half hour ago.
By now my wife has taken note of our conversation and I ask her when she’ll be home.
Me: Okay, my wife will be here this afternoon. Can you come then?
LotP: I think we can do that, yes.
That settled, I went back out to check on the dogs. They stunk. Bad. The food I’d left for them was all gone and there was dog vomit all over the porch. Dog vomit, I’ve concluded, smells much worse that human vomit. It didn’t just smell like fermented carrots. It smelled like fermented carrots dipped in rotten egg juice. Nasty bad.
I grabbed the hose and washed off the porch. I was careful to not hit the dogs and they were surprisingly good-natured about the intrusion. They were probably just grateful to be rid of the stuff so they could lay down again.
Now the vomit was all over the driveway. So, I spent another ten minutes clearing it off. I was way late for work, but that’s the gig, right? It’s almost impossible to help anyone (or any animal) without also putting yourself out.
Everything cleared out, I said goodbye to the dogs and got in my car. My car smelled like fermented carrots dipped in rotten egg juice. Sure enough, the bottoms of my shoes were covered in it. I got back out of my car and went over to the hose again, hopping on a foot at a time to the amusement of the passing cars and cleaning off the last evidence of my ill-advised attempt to feed some starving dogs.
Animal Control is a still a couple hours away from even considering picking up the dogs. I hope they do okay in the meantime. They’re sure not getting any more food.
The dogs spent all morning on our porch and the one I had tied up broke the leash (sorry, Oz. I’ll buy you a new one tonight) but did not escape. SPCA came by and picked them up at about 1:30pm. Neither were microchipped. They had to be escorted individually to the van and they whine and cried for each other when they were separated. I hope they find a good home together. Even more, I hope we spot some “Lost Dog” signs that can lead us to the owner.