I must be some kind of dog whisperer because lost dogs everywhere find me—especially neglected lost dogs. The other day I was driving through a neighborhood I liked, scoping out new houses, when four dogs ran across my path.
I was startled but not surprised.
Of course I got out of my car and chased them down. What do other people do? It didn’t hurt that the first dog that ran in front of my car was a little Yorkie with her tongue hanging out all over the place.
How could I leave her tiny self running around alone?—I’d seen a coyote roaming that very neighborhood before.
It turned out that all four dogs lived together at a nearby house with a woman who was also a hoarder. Her neighbor and I tried to figure out a way to return all four dogs into her backyard, which they apparently escaped from on a regular basis. Everything was locked to the nth degree, so we couldn’t figure out a way to get them back in. The neighbor even tried the woman on her phone. Voicemail full.
I felt SO sorry for those dogs.
They obviously lived in a chaotic environment and there was a reason why they were trying to escape so often. One of them actually rolled over in the middle of the street for me to scratch her belly, and I could swear her eyes were begging me—“Please take me home. I need someone who will take good care of me.”
Her awkward bouffant of mats definitely reinforced her tale.
Eventually, or unfortunately—depending on how you look at it, we got the dogs home. One of us finally realized that the woman had actually left her front door open when she left. Yep. So we just gently herded the dogs in the general direction of the door until they walked inside. Then we closed the door, shook our heads sadly, and both of us went our separate ways. I prayed a quick prayer for their care and safety.
I wished I had a better solution for them, but I doubted their living environment qualified as bad enough to call the situation in.
But that dog escapade was not an isolated occurrence for me. I find lost dogs no matter where I go. Either that or they just walk up to my house when I’m home. I’m pretty sure they would ring my doorbell too—if they could reach it.
I’ve opened my front door before and found them. Or I’ve opened my garage and the dogs just come barreling in—see picture below of three dogs that did this just a week ago. I’ve also had dogs walk right up to my car door as I’m opening it.
And then there are my regulars.
I’ve returned this one cockapoo named Kobie that lives in my subdivision two or three times. One of those times, the owner’s son retrieved the dog from my house and drove him home on a bike. I almost had a panic attack watching the kid peddle away with the dog barely secure in his arms.
The next time I found Kobie, I made sure to drive him home. But the owner didn’t even seem to care that he had been missing or running up and down a bunch of streets. “Oh, did he get out again?”
I almost asked her if I could just keep him.
But I’ve had my fair share of irritation for pet owners who are flippant in caring for their pets. And I chase the dogs down because it’s not their fault they have negligent owners, you know?
One lady decided to take a shower before she eventually came and picked up her little scottish terrier from my house. I’d had him for at least an hour before she even called me back. In the meantime, my male havenese had a mini panic attack because I made him wait outside, so he completely destroyed the mesh on our screen door. I still haven’t fixed it.
I ended up having to take the terrier out to my front yard while I waited for her to pick him up. It took the owner 20 minutes just to drive down the street to get him—and she didn’t even say thank you. Seriously?
But yah, I definitely have a spiritual sign on me that says: “Lost dogs? Apply here.”
Apparently my doggy-whisperer gene has also been passed onto my children. Just a few months ago, my son came running in from outside to tell me that my daughter had just pulled a wiener dog out of our neighborhood lake. They’d actually found two lost dogs—including the drowning wiener, and they were now looking to me to solve yet another lost-doggie riddle.
I remember actually groaning to God on that particular occasion: “Ugh—now? I literally have no time for this today. What do I do?”
Thankfully, God knew of my day’s limited availability so He floated me a quick strategy. I’d already tried calling the number from the dog collar—there had been no answer. “Google the last name on the tag together with your city name,” He prompted.
God actually told me to google something—I got the biggest kick out of that. But even better than that, it WORKED. The guy’s address literally popped up on my phone when I googled him. It turned out the dogs only lived one street away. So I left my kids with the dogs, ran to get leashes, and then I walked those two little wanderers home. The owners were gone, but their front door was wide open.
Second time for that open-door scenario.
All in all, I think that entire dog rescue took me 15 minutes. That was about all the discretionary time I had that day and God knew it so He did the heavy lifting that time. Usually, they take me MUCH longer. Sometimes hours…
Sometimes months… like Scruffles—one of my funniest dog-rescue assignments to date.
Scruffles was a horribly-neglected maltipoo that I found years ago (see top picture). He was one of the many dogs that has run across my driving path over the years. When I first saw him barreling down the street towards me, I stopped my car in the middle of the road and waved to oncoming traffic to stop. Then I called Scruffles (my daughter named him later) over to me—and he basically jumped into my car. Easiest rescue ever.
I’ve chased some dogs for blocks…
I drove Scruffles straight to the groomer to get him some relief. When I dropped him off, I actually thought he was a she—he was just so matted that I couldn’t tell. I’m pretty sure my hubby was less than thrilled when he got home from work that day and discovered I’d paid $50 to groom some random dog, in addition to the fact that we now had three dogs to take care of until I could find him a home.
We did eventually re-home him a few months later with a friend of mine who had been looking for a second dog to love. I was told Scruffles was thrilled with his new living accommodations. Last I heard, he loved sitting outside, watching his new boys jump on their trampoline.
The list goes on and on…some quick rescue assignments, some long-term.
Every dog we’ve had as a family, we’ve rescued from a shelter. We have two right now and they are a quirkly little pair.
At one point, my family was up to four dogs because of two additional rescues—including one that I found online on Freecycle. It was definitely over our comfortable dog limit and my husband joked that he had no room in our bed. It was pretty true actually.
But we did eventually get back to our comfortable dog norm of two.
Sometimes I can’t stop when I see a little lost furbaby running around, and that always pings my heart. But I’ve learned over the years to just pray protection over them and ask God to send them to the nearest dog whisperer—someone else who has been given that spiritual assignment to care for the lost and helpless. I know I’m not the only one.
And I’m pretty sure God knows where the nearest one is….