Mystery Dog


I am not ready for ethical, emotional dilemmas at 6:45 in the morning.

This morning I was walking to the train station when I saw a little black dog ahead of me. Near any dog you will usually find a human, with bedhead and their sweats, but this little pup was alone. She had a collar and tags, so I thought (hoped) that maybe I'd find the owner sitting on their steps, supervising their dog's off-leash outing. The dog started looking back at me. It'd stop, let me catch up, then run ahead. And again. And again. In the back of my head I was thinking, "No, stop, dog! I don't want you to be lost, please." Deeper inside I thought, "I have an 8:30 meeting, a train to catch, and a boss that hates animals."

I got close enough to bend down and check out its tags, which regrettably were just rabies vaccination tags, but no "If Lost, Please Call" directions. I walked another block, the dog now just ahead of me by a couple of paces. I stopped to drop a letter in the mailbox and bent down to consider the dog again. "Hey buddy, what's your story, huh?" I asked the big brown eyes of this small black dog, some kind of lab-terrier mix.

I dug into my backpack for my phone, considering a call to 311 to see what one does with a stray dog. As I worried and hesitated, I heard the sudden screech of tires. The dog had decided to cross the street. A small yelp followed and I looked up, alarmed. By some minor miracle, I saw the small dog underneath a pick-up truck, most fortunately between its tires - untouched. All activity on the street stopped and I crossed quickly to try to call my acquaintance back. No luck, the spooked dog bolted down the middle of the street, then turning a corner. I followed, but she was gone.

I spent the morning troubled and sad. I'd made the wrong choice. I'd worried about a meeting and a little dog almost died... and know who knows where she was now? Clearly dogs don't have that survival instinct that teaches them to look both ways before crossing the street. Or at least not this pitiful, adorable little one.

All I could think was that maybe I could donate some money to an animal shelter, but is that just a rich person's way of erasing their guilt? Midday, on a hopeless whim, I pulled up craigslist. And discovered: "FOUND: little black dog," just a couple blocks from where I'd lost my little friend.

I found a cute little black Lab/terrier (???) mix this morning. She looks about 4-6 years old, maybe 30lbs, has a mole on her nose and a purple collar with rabies vaccination but no ID tags. She's very playful and affectionate - practically followed me home. Please reply to this ad to get my phone number so we can work out getting her back home!

I emailed the author of the ad to express my overwhelming relief that this dog was saved by someone, even if it hadn't been me. I offered to help and the girl who found the dog suggested I post a few flyers in my area of the neighborhood with her ad. She reported that the dog was hanging out in her bathroom, with a bowl of food and water.

I might still give a little donation, in honor of Mystery Dog, with a hope for her return home.

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