Normally, we’re a three-animal family: two cats and a dog. Yesterday, we went up to four for a while, then down to two and finally settled in at five furry heads resting in our home. It was an interesting day to say the least.
The morning began with a simple request from a neighborhood friend to watch her dog at night for a few days. The young lady was in the middle of a move and needed someplace for her new puppy to stay. She knows us well enough to know we are suckers for big brown dog eyes and enthusiastic wags. Although we hesitated and asked to meet her “baby” to make sure it wouldn’t eat our cats, she knew we’d eventually say yes, and we asked her to swing by that night for a meet and greet.
A couple hours later, another young lady and neighborhood friend called and asked if we had a spare leash. She and a friend had been shopping in Target when they noticed a commotion. A little beagle with—that’s right, folks—big brown dog eyes, had been wandering in and out of the big swooshing automatic doors all morning with no owner in site and Target was about to call animal control. The two young girls became the heroes of the commotion when they agreed to take the dog so that no one had to call the pound. Then they swung by our house and we all agreed it made sense to keep the darling at our home until we could put up fliers in the neighborhood and try to find the owner.
Our dog Laney had a playmate for the day and her enthusiasm was contagious. She stuck by that little dog’s side long enough for both of them to frolic and play and enjoy the nice weather, then escape through a gate that somehow got opened. Of course, the minute freedom presented itself, Laney abandoned her new playmate and took off for the woods. Since this was her 25th time of escaping our clutches, we shrugged our shoulders and said a prayer she would somehow miraculously find her way back. We knew pursuit was not an option because this dog is FAST and when she wants to be gone, she’s gone and our hearts are broken once again.
Her fellow escapee, however, is an older dog with a few extra pounds, and she got as far as five houses down before my husband caught up with her and brought her back. We were back to one dog, two cats and the deep-seated fear we live with that our Laney will run out in front of a car—we love our dog, but let’s just say she’s one putt short of a par.
While my husband and I pretended very hard that it didn’t bother us Laney was gone, we got to know our little houseguest, who we nicknamed Kelly Girl for her temporary status. Our daughter gave her a bath, which was a hilarious adventure in itself because she didn’t seem to understand what was going on and squiggled and wormed on the carpet, feet flailing in the air, trying to get the dang water off her back.
We put fliers up all over the neighborhood and awaited the puppy who was originally scheduled to be our guest. She arrived about 7:30 p.m. and we fell in love all over again, this time with a beautiful mixture of lab and pit bull with a black mane, a whip for a tail and a child’s delight-filled heart. Our two house guests got along beautifully. Our two cats acted like they normally do with canine guests: one hid and one hissed until he was hoarse.
At about 8:45, the phone rang. My husband, my daughter, the pitbull/lab owner, her friend and I were all watching the dogs interact and deep in discussion about how different animals were so when the phone rang, we started.
Kelly Girl’s owner was ringing to thank us for being heroes?
Nope. It was another set of heroes. They’d “found” Laney in their yard, so exhausted from hours of running free and wild that she didn’t even want to get up when they approached her. Laney had returned once again, bringing her beautiful brown dog eyes home.
Does anyone happen to know who Kelly Girl is?
—Genilee Swope Parente