Thursday, March 10, 2011

Then there were two...

Yet another long day in the office and the dark nights of winter have dragged on enough for me to start wondering if they'll ever end. Even more so than in the bitter cold of the past couple of months, it's increasingly hard at the moment to find motivation for taking Billy for a proper evening walk.

Yesterday evening I chickened out and Bilbo had to content himself with a run round the yard and some indoor games, so there was no excuse for not going out for a good roam tonight. As soon as I got home I duly leashed him up and we went out in the drizzly dark. I may soon wish that we hadn't bothered....

Billy isn't terribly good at meeting other dogs. He's better with the smaller dogs and I've seen some remarkable forbearance around the really yappy napoleon types, however that doesn't stretch to over-exuberant larger pups. It's not surprising that I was alarmed to see a mottled streak of fur charging us from a block away. The furry rocket zipped across the road and didn't stop until it collided with Billy.

Billy was not impressed.

Surprisingly, furball thought that Billy's reaction (yelp/bark/charge/growl/snap/generally convulse) was the beginning of a new game and kept throwing himself at Billy's increasingly anxious jaws. Clearly I need a new plan for dealing with unleashed dogs but, luckily enough this time around, this crazy guy wasn't aggressive, just a bit of a lunatic. My first instinct was just to try and get away as quickly as possible. I kept shooing furred lightning away but he just took advantage of a longer run up to build up a better charging speed.

Eventually he decided to keep his distance, at which point panic for Billy gave way to concern for the unleashed dog who was charging back and forth across the road on a dark, wet night. I could see that he had a collar on but couldn't get close enough to check the tag, nor did I feel up to grabbing at a nervous dog! Despite his appalling manners, Billy was my ace in the hole, as crazy dog was still undeterred by Billy's furious reaction to his repeated and rather intrusive sniffing. After a number of unsuccessful plans - including appropriating the belt off a poor guy who was simply trying to park his bike and get home for dinner - I took a chance on getting loopyloo across Humboldt Boulevard, which I'd been avoiding because of the traffic. We negotiated it without any scary moments and Billy led furball into our front yard.

I asked the downstairs neighbor to keep an eye on our new stray while I got Billy settled upstairs and grabbed some treats and a leash. New dog was too nervous to be tempted by food but eventually I got a leash on him and he calmed down enough for me to check his tags. Bingo!!! Not one but two numbers, a name AND an address. I called the first and it was disconnected. I called the second and it went to voicemail. Oh oh. We retreated upstairs to my apartment to regroup, where Billy was busy scraping the paint from the front door to try and get out and see what I was up to. At this point I started to realize just how stinky our new little friend was. This concerned me a little but I was fairly confident that I'd be able to drop him off at the address on the tags so we left Bilbo throwing himself at the windows (apparently I'm not supposed to leave him in the house to go walking with strange dogs) and went to find Stinkers home. The name on the voicemail didn't appear to be listed on any of the peeling stickers that adorned the door so I pushed all 4 bells and hammered for a while. Sadly, to no avail, and after 10 chilly minutes standing in the cold we headed back towards home.

Billy greeted us with excessive jubilation and I'm happy to say that his relief at my return helped him to refrain from pouncing on the usurper as soon as we came through the door. Nevertheless, in between his barking and whining and stinky pooch's anxiety, whimpers and squeaks from behind the dog gate, the situation was not looking good.

Dog dad came to the rescue and came to pick Bilbo up - quite a concession given that, uncharacteristically, both Buster and Clover ate something they shouldn't and have been pooping and vomiting all over the apartment today (I received an update later and apparently Bilbo and Clover are curled up together on the couch and all vomiting and pooping has ceased). He also made it very clear that he considers me to be very, very crazy.

So, me and Stinker are hanging out!

I'm thinking maybe border collie?

I'll admit that I'm a bit worried about Stinker's lack of grooming. How long has he been roaming around the streets? I found him only a few blocks from his home and have received no answer to the messages I've left so far - I'm hoping that's not a sign of owners who aren't particularly concerned about getting him back. 

He's a bonny lad and despite his initial nervousness he's warming up to me and asking for some attention. We've even had whole minutes at a time when he's laid down on the ground and relaxed. Possibly this bodes well for my chances of getting some sleep, but, then again, the downstairs neighbors have instigated another of their Wednesday night parties and given that these generally last until 5am, I won't be holding my breath.

Actually, that's not entirely true, until homeboy here gets himself a bath I'm trying not to breathe in too much. If there's no word from his family tomorrow we're going straight to Soggy Paws to clean up.

Well, there's the story of how I went out for a walk with one dog and returned with two. Please keep your fingers crossed that the second is home safe with his family soon!


  1. What happened next? I used to teach students from that area, and they told me people would just let their dogs loose in the park when they didn't want them anymore. Hope this isn't a case and it has a happy ending...

  2. amazing story. our Chick HATES off-leash dogs, and it is always a big ordeal when we see one. we have to walk in the opposite direction, eat lots of yummy treats, shoo the other dog away, etc -- even if the dog is friendly. it's a shame, too, because of the feeling of helplessness you mention, and also because our Chick is fine with dogs in a controlled environment, so the difference in behavior is frustrating!


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