A Dog, Interrupted: Part 1

It’s been a while since I’ve touched a computer, a few weeks ago our lives got a little side tracked and it’s taken me some time to find my routine again.

In the end of March a coworker told me about this “puppy” that had been sitting outside his house. The dog had been there all day and whenever anyone on the block opened their doors the dog would run up and try to go inside. No one knew where the dog came from or who it belonged to. Since the dog was a pit bull everyone was scared and several neighbors had called animal control to come take the dog away. My coworker felt bad for the dog but at the same time wanted it gone from his block, so after work (and several hours of him nagging me) I went over to investigate the puppy.

Driving up to his house I looked all around, but didn’t see a dog. I drove slowly up the block, still nothing, figuring the dog had moved on I began to drive back home. Something made me turn back around to check again, and on my second attempt passing the house there he was crouched behind a truck. I parked my car and sat observing the dog for a couple of minutes. I watched for myself as he walked up to every house and scratched at the front doors, pushed on their gates and barked when he heard someone stir inside. He looked like he lived in every house he happened upon, like he had forgotten his keys and needed some help getting inside. As I had suspected the dog was not a puppy, it was instead a full grown Staffordshire terrier (I guessed 3-4 years old). The dog had cuts on his legs and face and was skin and bone, but still quite muscular. He was also fairly dehydrated.

I walked up to him and he came right over and rubbed himself against me. One man who was watching from his window told me I was crazy and expressed his concerns and fears about having the dog outside his house. He told me he had asked around the block and no one claimed ownership to the dog, he also told me how upset he was that animal control hadn’t come yet. The dog was super sweet and in need of care. Not wanting animal control to inevitably put him down I called Terrence and explained the situation, once he gave me the okay I opened the door to my car and the dog hopped right in.

As I pulled up to my house I realized something, I had no way of getting the dog from the car into my apartment without either losing him or potentially getting one of the neighborhood cats eaten. I scoured through the trunk for a solution and was thrilled to find a bit of rope. Sometimes it pays to live with an ex Boy Scout, I’m always randomly prepared. After I got the dog into the apartment I didn’t know what to expect from Penny, so I ushered him into the bathroom for safe keeping while I devised a plan. I distracted him with a bowl of water while I dug out Dutch’s old doggy gate and treats. The dog had no desire for the treats so I went across the street and asked to borrow some dog food from Terrence’s mom. He didn’t bother with that either, he only wanted to drink. I began to slowly worry that I might have a sick dog on my hands. Once I started worrying about that other things started to quickly roll in after. I checked him for fleas before I took him into the car, but I noticed a flea-like bug crawling next to him on the floor of my bathroom and began to get even more worried. Oh no, what have I brought home to my cat? What if she catches something? If I kill the cat Terrence will never forgive me. I have to get this dog cleaned and checked out ASAP.

I contacted some girlfriends in the vet and grooming fields and begged for them to come to my aid. I quickly learned that grooming salons and vet offices will not care for a stray dog, so we were on our own. My friend Christina rushed over and drove to Animal Care and Control with me. While we were there they scanned him for any sign of a chip. They also supplied us with food, shampoo, bowls, linens, a harness/lead and a HUGE cage. They told me that as long as I found the dog a home I didn’t have to return any of the stuff they gave me, including the cage. Basically they’ll do anything to avoid taking in a pit (since they occupy about 90% of shelters and usually end up being euthanized within days or weeks of arrival), and will help you in any way if you agree to hold onto the dog and find it a home.

So my friends Christina and Amanda came home with us, Amanda convinced her boyfriend to come over and bathe the dog while Christina held him. Amanda and I set up his cage and put out some food and water. The dog drank non-stop, but also peed the very same and all over my apt, despite all his many walks. My friends had tons of fun playing with the dog, they took dozens of photos of him and tried all night to convince me to keep him. Having just lost my dog of fourteen years I’m in no mood to start over, yet. Eventually everyone went home and it was just me and this adorable yet co-dependent dog. He panicked and cried when I left his side and if I turned away for a second he peed on something. Exhausted and irritated I quickly began to wonder what I had just gotten myself into.

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