Thought I'd end your week with a happy tail, er, that is, tale. Monday, a Good Samaritan came by our practice with a lost dog she had found in her subdivision. The old yellow Lab was obviously a well-cared for and loved pet, and by her stiff gait, I didn't think she had wandered too far from home. She was dragging a long, worn-out webbed leash, with several frayed and thin spots, attached to her choke-chain collar. There was a rabies tag with an out-of state phone number, so we called the vet's office. The staff there informed us that the dog's name was "Emma," that she was 12 years old, had no serious health issues, and was current on her vaccinations. They also gave us the owner's name and the only phone number they had for her.
We started calling. We got a generic answering machine message, asking us to "Please leave a message." We did - several times - without a reply. Tuesday, we started calling again, same results. Meanwhile, the Good Sam called back. She had paid for an Internet search on the owner's name and came up with 3 different addresses. She was checking them out; could we please keep Emma another night? Of course.
At this point, I am starting to fall for this old girl. She loves to go on walks, enjoys being brushed, knows several commands, and will lay quietly at my feet while I am charting or on the phone. She has ears which neither stand up nor hang down, but fly straight out to the sides, and has the funny quirk of trying to bury her dog food, piece by piece, in her blankets. I know somebody is looking for this dog - why haven't they called back?
Late Tuesday afternoon, we finally reached a person at the phone number we had been calling, only to find out this is no longer Emma's mom's number. Dead end. The Good Sam hasn't called back, either. When I walk Emma outside, she inspects every car, looks around, and sniffs the air. "This is not my home," she told me. "I don't live here. I have had fun visiting you, but I would like to go home now."
"I know, Em. We're trying to find your Mom."
"Has anybody called the shelter to see if she was reported missing?" I asked. No one had, but by that time the shelter was closed for the evening. Emma stays another night. I am seriously considering whether I could care for another large dog.
Wednesday morning, I asked again. "Has anybody called the shelter yet?"
"Oh, no, we forgot," came the reply. "We'll call now."
As soon as the receptionist hung up, I knew it was good news. They immediately dialed a different number and Emma's mom answered at the first ring. She was just about to go out and put up posters in her neighborhood. She arrived at the clinic in 10 minutes.
Was she glad to get her dog back? Was Emma happy to see her mom? A picture's worth a thousand words.