The story of Oso

osoMy daughter started a new job in a new career yesterday. We were close to her new office after a doctor’s appointment so we offered to meet her and treat her to a celebratory dinner.  My wife rode with her on the way back and they were following me on our way home, about 25 miles to the west.

A few miles down busy Interstate 85 I saw something in the road. I had a lot of glare on my dirty windshield, not an ideal situation in the late afternoon driving west, but I soon focused on the object. It was a dog standing in the middle of the lane.  A car was parked nearby and a woman seemed to be chasing the dog.  I managed to change lanes but was concerned about traffic, speed, and my followers so I continued on.  I reasoned that it was likely the woman’s dog and she’d get him.

Okay, I didn’t have the best reaction.  But in a few moments, I realized I didn’t see my daughter’s car behind me anymore.  I called both her and my wife.  No answer.  I was concerned that maybe they had hit the little dog.  The bad thing about the Interstate highway is that there is no easy way to return. Finally, my wife called me back.  They had stopped.

The woman I saw had, in fact, coaxed the dog out of the roadway and was holding it, but she lamented to them that she was just passing through and didn’t know what to do with him.

“That’s okay,” my daughter told her. “We’ll take him.”

He turned out to be a scared, but very sweet, Rat Terrier.  He had no collar so they stopped on the way home and bought one.  I had already started scouting out the local “lost and found pet” Facebook pages after I got home.  I was just waiting for him to get to the house so I could snap a picture.

He was found about twenty miles from our house, along the county line between Orange County and Durham County.  We live in Orange County but along the opposite county line. There is a lot of cross-county interaction; many people commute to Chapel Hill and Durham (and even Raleigh), so I knew it would be better if I could cast a wide net.  There are local Facebook pages for our town and for Orange county, so I started there.  The county to the west, Alamance, has a lost and found pet page, I posted there too. Orange County has a lost and found pet page as well, so I posted there.  I had to join and wait for approval at both of those last two.  I knew there were two motels within a mile of the spot where he had been picked up, so I called and left my number, in case any guest reported a missing dog.

Okay, I felt guilty that I didn’t stop, but now I was doing what I do best:  I was writing and using the heck out of Facebook.  I had also taken a few minutes to get to know this little guy.  We kept him isolated from our dog and cats, which I knew was important from some past experience in taking in other strays.  He really was a sweetheart but we didn’t know his health history. In the case of a stray, you really should observe the new animal for a few days.  We likely had nothing to worry about, this dog was clean and well-groomed. His claws were impeccably trimmed and polished.  I decided to check something else.

oso2“Sit!” … he sat and lowered his ears and looked soulfully up at me.  Yeah, this was somebody’s love bug.

I kept checking the posts.  In minutes there were already leads.  The shares continued.  He got to the house at about 8PM.  At about 11 I got a call.  It was a woman whose neighbor had seen the pictures on one of the Facebook shares.  After a brief exchange, I was pretty sure this was legit.

I told her I could bring him by in the morning.  No way, she said, she was getting him right away!  She said his name was Oso.  I had taken to calling him Roadie, because he had been in the middle of the road when I first saw him.

Of course, I wanted some verification.  As a first step, I went up and called him by name.

“Oso!”

His ears perked up in recognition, sort of like, “he knows my name!”  He ran to me and immediately rolled over.  Okay, step 1 complete.

The lady brought a folder with all the papers to verify.  She also showed me pictures on her phone … perhaps hundreds of photos of him.  Yeah, I was convinced.  He also obviously missed his Mommie very much … there was no questioning his own recognition of her.

So yes, I felt guilty I didn’t stop.  But like I said, I had a good backup.  And I knew how to use my strengths to help make things right.  Pets get away sometimes, no matter what you do.  He’s just a sweet and very much loved pup who managed to rush out the door.  My dog does that every now and then.  She’s a beagle mix who lets her beagleness overtake her desire to be an obedient dog on occasion.  It happens.

I have a confession: we really liked him and almost hoped he wouldn’t be reunited.  One wonders how people choose not to return found pets, but I can see how the temptation might be strong.  One owes it to these much-loved pets to fight that temptation and find their owners!

Anyway, Oso’s adventure had a happy ending.

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina. More information on his work can be found at http://thefensk.com

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Pining for the Fjords

fiordIf we were having coffee today I’d tell you a little something about pining for the fjords.  You’ve probably heard that expression before.  It’s from one of my favorite Monty Python routines … The Parrot.  I think of that every time I catch sight of a pet gazing off into space, I say they are pining for the fjords.

I happened to catch this photo the other day.  It’s our dog, Daisy, pining for the fjords.  It was a hard picture to capture because every time she did this and I grabbed my phone and tried to get up and get into position her attention was diverted and I lost the moment.  Danged beagle in her, I guess.

Ah, but not long after I got this shot  (at high magnification)  I had to go out to the car and … well, I saw the rest of the story.  She wasn’t pining for the fjords at all.

chi

She was thinking “let’s have chicken tonight!”

This was what was going on directly outside that window.  The neighbors have a lot of chickens and they can’t seem to contain them.  Not just chickens. Guinea Fowl too.  Every trip outside is a new adventure for both of us. I’m sure she aspires to embrace these birds but let me tell you, that is ONE BIG ROOSTER.  You don’t want to go there, Daisy.  Believe me.

Sigh, at least our tick populations are way down.


Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina.
http://thefensk.com

WeekendCoffee Update

pinkribbonIf we were having coffee today, I’d be inclined to give you a little update.  About two months ago  I posted about going to a local animal shelter (Avoiding Shelter) while looking for our son’s lost dog.

I included a sad story about a dog named Daisy being surrendered while we were there.  Although we were very moved by the experience and thought about rescuing her, we found out she was quickly adopted and were hopeful that she had found her forever home.

I’ve found out a little more about her in the meantime.  This shelter posts pictures of the pets that they have.  I had still been periodically looking for my son’s lost dog (still lost!).  A little over three weeks after we had seen Daisy at the shelter, she popped up again on the shelter’s website. I called and inquired about her.

“Is there anything wrong with her?”

“Not a thing.  It’s people that are her problem,” the nice lady at the shelter told me and gave me a little more info on her past.

The owners who originally surrendered her in February had no real explanation. They’d had her for four years and had adopted her at the shelter.  After that, she was quickly adopted, then returned after ONE DAY.  That was the day we saw her. Another couple adopted her pretty quickly.  As the story goes, they tried to sneak her into their apartment but weren’t allowed to have a dog and of course, they didn’t get away with it. After three weeks they either had to move or get rid of the dog.  That was when she showed back up at the shelter and on the website.  So, within five weeks, Daisy had been surrendered at the shelter three times.  This last time she was fostered and I had a good long talk with her foster mom.  She too was at a loss to understand Daisy’s problem finding a home and was quite fond of her.

I think you can guess the rest of the story:
img_9403

She’s a bit blurry-eyed … I woke her up for that picture.  She’s spent a little over a month with us so far. She’s an outstanding dog.  She’s five years old, is house trained, is completely obsessed with our neighbor’s chickens, guinea-fowl, and ducks (who all seem to love to visit, hopefully eating ticks in our yard), and is trying to figure out how to be friends with our existing clowder of cats.  She’s trying, but the cats still want to keep her at paw’s length. The vet says she is a beagle/spaniel mix.

She is just now starting to really feel at home with us.  I don’t blame her for some of her confusion.  She’s bursting with love for just about everyone she meets.  I hope she doesn’t do that with burglars. (“Hi, take anything thing you want!”)
When she’s really happy to see you, she doesn’t just wag her tail, she wags the entire back end of her body.

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Thomas Fenske is an author living in NC.  My lead picture is still a pink ribbon.  My wife is mending and I want to thank all of you who responded to my last posting.  Please give to breast cancer research … even a little goes a long way.

Avoiding shelter …

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

If we were having coffee today I’d tell you about the lost dog.  It belongs to my son’s family, slipped out a week ago when a gate was apparently left ajar.

Sadly, Bert is a bit long in the tooth, an older dog with a variety of mild illnesses.  Partially blind, not too worldly.  Poof.  Gone.

We’ve joined the search, but I’ve been here before and it is harder than trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack.  We’ve all done all the usual things.  It is just amazing how completely they can disappear in such a short period of time. I half-expect them to show up on the island of odd socks or the valley of the missing coat-hangers.  They disappear that completely.

They live three towns west of us, and the shelter for that county/town is on the eastern side of town; it is actually closer to us than it is to them.  So, we’ve been going to the shelter.  There are no happy dogs or cats at the shelter.  Excited, yes. Running the gauntlet in the hall of the German Shepherds is evidence of that.  There was no Bert, either.

When we first arrived, there was a woman there with a quiet dog sitting patiently by her side.  I thought she was perhaps in the midst of adopting.  Quite the opposite.

As we returned we witnessed her handing over the leash and walking out the door.  The dog moved to follow her, was stopped by the leash, looked back and then forward at the closing door, a look of total confusion on her face. Then we could see a distinct look of realization and resignation flash over her face.  Welcome to the shelter, right?

We just lost a dog last July, by natural causes.  We have ten cats.  We are overrun.  But we were sorely tempted by this dog, Daisy.

We followed up on Daisy’s status.  She was almost immediately adopted.  We’re both happy for her, but we’re also just a little sad.  We got totally involved and invested in that few seconds.  But we’re both hopeful that she found her forever home.

Bert’s still missing.  We’re checking the shelter online now.  They update their webpage hourly, which we know for sure now.

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You can find out more about Thomas Fenske at http://thefensk.com … the Kindle version of his novel THE FEVER is on sale for $1.99 for the rest of February.