They were an odd pair; a little white dog whose legs looked even shorter than they actually were because of his fat, round body and a little white dog with tan markings that looked somewhat like a Jack Russell Terrier. I saw them both running across my yard as I was returning from a trip to the drug store to buy more cold medicine. I parked the car in the garage and stepped outside to see where they were going but when they saw me, they changed direction and ran over to me.
As I petted them both and talked to them, I noticed that one of the dogs, the Jack Russell-looking one, had a collar with licenses – five licenses in fact – each from the county where I live. Since a license is only good for one year, I guessed that she must have been about five and half years old. As I was wondering why her owner didn’t remove the four no longer valid licenses and instead just keep adding the new one to her collar every year, the smaller, fatter dog took off across the yard. But the Jack Russell stayed. She sat next to me and showed no interest in following Fatty.
So I started following Fatty hoping that the Jack Russell would follow me, and she did. I followed Fatty across the field and the Jack Russell stayed by my side. But Fatty was quick. In no time at all, it became clear that I couldn’t keep up with the little white guy. I have no idea how he moved that fast on his little stub legs. Not being able to keep up, I stopped following him and so did the Jack Russell, who sat down right next to me. I tried to encourage her by saying, “Go! Go home with your friend!” but she didn’t move.
Soon, Fatty was out of sight, he had disappeared into the woods that border the field and the Jack Russell sat patiently by my side and looked at me as if I had some kind of magic trick that could help her find her way home. I headed to the house, followed by the dog, who I noticed was limping. She seemed to have a problem with her left leg and soon, she stopped using it altogether as she followed me into the house using only three of her legs.
Once in the house, I called the county treasurer’s office and gave them the number off of the 2016 dog license hanging off of the dog’s collar. The woman at the treasurer’s office told me that the dog was an un-spayed Jack Russell Terrier mix named Casey and she gave me the name and telephone number of Casey’s owner, who as it turned out, lived 20 miles away.
Despite having the owner’s name and telephone number, I spent the next hour trying to get in contact with him. Every time I called the number, I got a recording stating that the number was no longer in service. Finally, I resorted to Google to look up the owner’s name and found that he owned a landscaping business, but when I tried to call the number for the landscaping business I got the recording that the telephone number was no longer in service.
Frustrated and high on cold medicine, I sat down and tried to focus. As I was sitting there trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, I realized what a nice little dog Casey was. Oh, she needed a bath, she was very dirty and had tear stains on her face, but she was friendly, despite being scared. Before too long I realized that if I couldn’t find her owner, I’d just keep her. What’s one more little dog, right? She’d fit right in with my own little dog, Rosie, who at that moment, was in her dog crate in the family room waiting for me to let her out.
Finally, after a lot of mind meandering, I realized that although I had written the telephone number down correctly according to Google, when I was dialing the telephone, I was juxtaposing the numbers. Cold medication does strange things to me; weird, cloudy thinking things. Like dialing the wrong number or thinking that maybe I’d just keep a stray dog.
I tried dialing the number again, this time paying very close attention as I dialed and finally, success. The man who answered the phone told me he did have a dog named Casey, but that he had given her away to another family. The thought of just giving her away gutted me and I considered keeping her again, and I almost had to because the man on the telephone did not want to give me the name and contact information for the new owner. Trying not to show my frustration, I kept talking to him until he finally agreed to give me their telephone number. After he gave me the telephone number – despite him having already told me that he would not give me their name – I asked, “And what did you say their name was?”
“Martin,” he replied, “Their last name is Martin.”
I thanked him and hung up the telephone wondering why he didn’t want to give me their last name, especially when Martin is such a common last name, especially in our area. There are thousands of them.
I called the number and Mr. Martin, who did not live 20 miles away, but rather about a half mile away, told me that he brought Casey home that morning as a companion for his kids. He said that after bringing her home, he let her outside to play with the kids and with his other dog and that the dogs wandered off. After getting his address I agreed to drive Casey to his house.
When I arrived, the kids – all six of them – were playing outside. They were very young, ranging in age from about two to eight years old. Although it was a cool day, none of the children were wearing jackets or shoes – all six children were playing outside in their socks. I thought that was odd, all six kids playing outside in their socks, but then their father came out of the house. He wasn’t wearing any shoes either and, wearing only socks on his feet, walked across their stone driveway towards me, shook my hand and introduced himself.
I got Casey out of the Jeep and set her on the ground. She got a look at the gaggle of kids headed her way and she turned around and jumped back into my Jeep. For only having three good legs, she was an excellent jumper. I got her out again and put her on the ground. Fatty, who was running circles around the six kids, their father and me, was happy to see her again and began barking and jumping on Casey. At that point, one of the little girls, who appeared to be about six years old kicked Fatty on his rear end with her sock covered foot.
The father kept talking to me, totally ignoring the fact that the child had kicked the dog and before I thought better of it, I said to the little girl, “Oh, be nice to him, he’s just a little guy,” and she smiled at me and then looked at the ground. The father never said a word about it to the kid or to me.
I mentioned to Mr. Martin that Casey was limping and was not using her left back leg very much. He said that the previous owner told him that she was hit by a car when she was younger and she sometimes limped as a result of that. He thanked me for returning Casey and I said goodbye to the Martin family and went home.
I worried about Casey for a while, wondering if those stocking footed kids were being kind to her. But later that year, in the early fall, I saw her running alongside one of the Martin boys, heading down the lane that leads to their house. Both looked like they were running as fast as they could and from time to time Casey looked up at the boy, her tongue hanging out, looking like she was having the time of her life. And I think she is. I think that sometimes dogs end up where they need to be because they are not as judgemental as we humans are about people who don’t dress appropriately or who are a little rough around the edges. For some dogs, that’s a pretty good life.
(Authors note: This happened a year ago today on March 29, 2016. When I told my friends about it, they told me – as they had many times in the past – that I needed to write these animal stories down. And so it was that I began researching blogging and brought Splendippity to life on WordPress a few weeks later.)
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved