Friday, November 20, 2009

It Takes a Village

The neighbor's gate malfunctioned yesterday, and her dog was wandering the street in front of my house. Knowing the dog's name, I went out and called to her. When I started toward her, she decided Chase is the funnest game in the whole world and ran from me -- right into the street, with cars coming from both directions. Thankfully, they saw her and stopped. I finally caught her and walked her to the neighbor's house. She wasn't home, so I brought the dog back to my house.

I put her in the back yard, then opened the back door and let her come inside. Ripley and she have met -- the neighbor's daughter has watched Ripley when we go out of town -- but dogs have short memories. So much sniffing and circling ensued. Finally, the neighbor dog decided things were cool and went into the classic Let's-Play stance. Let me pause here to mention the neighbor's dog is a full-grown Black Lab. Ripley, lacking social graces and being endowed with little dog syndrome, mistook Let's-Play for Let's-Fight and got all barky and snappy. It is her house after all.

Back outside went the neighbor's dog, none to happy about it. I spent the next few hours looking out the back window to make sure she didn't pull a Houdini on me and looking out the front window to see if the neighbor had come home. I left messages on her answering machine and a note in the door but I worried she'd see the open gate and panic.

About 4 p.m. the neighbor's next-door neighbor got home, so I talked to her about taking the dog. The S.O. was gone and I had to leave shortly. I just didn't feel comfortable leaving the dog in the back yard alone. This neighbor had watched the dog before so she took her to her house. Later in the evening, I got a phone call from the dog owner:
I understand you found my wayward dog. Thank you for finding her and keeping her. Like I told K, it takes a village. We're working on that gate.
I know I have a prejudice against Labs. They're sweet, beautiful dogs but they also have to be the goofiest creatures on God's green earth. I think it really does take a village with a dog like that.

My dog -- a rat terrier, you know -- is anti-social when it comes to other dogs. She's content to hang out in the sun and soak up the attention of one or two people. Huh. Maybe dogs and their owners really do come to resemble one another.

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