Every morning Mr. Lucky takes the beagles walking around the subdivision. Sometimes, if he leashes up after Baby Bear leaves on the school bus, I go with him.
About a dozen doors down the street is a two-story house with double front doors of frosted glass, one of the nicer homes on our block. As we strolled by, we could make out the blur of a barking little dog who would jump up and down on the other side of the frosted glass. Sometimes Mr. Lucky would take the beagles all the way up to the front door “to say hello” to the little dog. The front yard was ragged and weedy, but we assumed since there were curtains in the windows and a dog barking inside, that there must be people living there, but they were at work all day.
But on Sunday morning, Mr. Lucky discovered those ornate front doors were unlocked. As it turned out, the house had been abandoned by its owners some time ago. Most of the furniture was gone, but whoever had lived there had left the dog behind. Someone across the street said the people who’d lived there were going through a divorce, and the house was in foreclosure.
That explained the sadly neglected yard, BUT WHY DID THEY LEAVE THAT POOR LITTLE DOG TO FEND FOR HERSELF?
It’s one thing to leave a few pieces of furniture behind, but a helpless pet? Mr. Lucky surmised that was why the door had been left unlocked—perhaps the owners had hoped that someone would venture inside and either take the dog, or even set it free to roam the neighborhood and ultimately get hit by a car. I guess they didn’t want that much on their consciences. But why didn’t they try to find a new home for the dog, or at least take her to a shelter? I wonder how much their divorce plays a part in this; if one spouse who didn’t really want the dog kept it anyway, only to abandon it out of sheer spite to the other spouse who may have wanted it. I witnessed similar quibbling when my own parents were divorced more than three decades ago, but theirs was over inanimate dust collectors.
Mr. Lucky brought the dog back to our house, and tried to clean her up. She was a little Shih Tzu, and as shaggy as a dust mop. I’m no expert on this breed—or any dog, for that matter—but Mr. Lucky said when properly groomed, she should look like me (see photo at right)—with long, straight tresses hanging all over. Oddly enough, instead of being offended by the comparison, I was actually amused. He likes my hair long.
The poor little thing was infested with fleas and her fur was matted in places, with a few pink patches. Her teeth were blackened. She had a collar but no tag. We didn’t know her name. I went through the whole gamut of names commonly given to female dogs—Lucy, Abby, Molly, Polly, Sophie, Betsy, Suzy, Katie, even Fifi (which we sometimes called our daughter Fiona), but “the little furball” as Mr. Lucky took to calling her, answered to none of them. She must have had a very unusual, exotic name.
But we had to remember what Mike Wazowski said to fellow monster Sully in the Disney/Pixar cartoon, Monsters Inc., when Sully found himself befriending a fearless little girl he should have been scaring instead: That once you name it, you become attached to it.
The little furball was adorable, and so loving and trusting. She wasn’t the least bit afraid of us, and was eager to be cuddled and loved. She fit very nicely on my lap. We were tempted, oh, so tempted, to keep her and make her a member of the family. But she needed more rehabilitation and maintenance than we had the means to provide, so we concluded we’d have to take her some place where she could get the care she needed, before finding a new home.
Because she was going to the bathroom all over the house, that night Mr. Lucky took some old towels and made a bed for her in the laundry room, which serves as a passage between the kitchen and garage.
From 11 pm to 2 am, she did nothing but bark in that laundry room, and it echoed all over the house. I dozed off and on, but always with high pitched yapping in the background. Finally Mr. Lucky moved her to the garage, where we keep an old futon. Things quieted down after that, but I tossed and turned till about 4 am. I got very little sleep that night, and I had to be up at 7:30 to get Baby Bear ready for school.
Research revealed that all the local animal rescue places were closed on Monday, save for the county animal shelter, so that’s where we took Ms. Shih Tzu, and told them how and where she was found.
The county animal shelter is the same place where we adopted our beagles last year. When we started visiting there in search of a dog or two, the smaller breeds were always spoken for already. They seem to be more popular than big dogs. The staff is optimistic that Ms. Shih Tzu will find a good home very quickly.
I only hope it’s better than the one where Mr. Lucky found her, and that she lives happily ever after.