Ever since adopting this guy,
my dear husband and I have each grown big, round, fluffy, soft spots for animals, which you can read about here and here. We over-eagerly shout “cows!” whenever we see them grazing in fields off the highway; we catch and release spiders we find inside our house; and we denounce businesses with “no pets allowed” signs as being “speciest.”
We also try to rescue animals we find in need. Except all the animals we’ve tried to help don’t actually need rescuing. Oops.
Incident 1: Returning from running errands, Ian, Teddy, and I are driving down a busy, under-construction four-lane road in town when we spot a little brown Daschund happily trotting down the sidewalk. We make an immediate turn into the nearest neighborhood and walk back to find the lost weiner dog before he wanders into traffic. Ian searches in the grasses and bushes on the side of the busy road. I opt to look in the neighborhood side street, where I hear a dog behind a fence barking at Teddy, who’s poking his head out of the car window to watch me look over bushes and under parked cars. With treats in my pockets and loose towels prepped for the car ride, I circle the street and eventually reach the home of the dog barking at Teddy. Peering through the slats in the wooden fence, I can see that the source of the barking is a little brown Daschund. Looks like someone needs a better fence.
Incident 2: We’re visiting a quaint little South Carolina town while on vacation with Ian’s family when we see a beautiful clay-colored dog wandering the main street. We keep an eye on him while we zig-zag through a few antique shops lining the sidewalks, just to make sure he doesn’t belong to one of the many visitors in town. After a half an hour of shopping, we’re assured he has no owner, so we attempt a dog rescue before being seated for lunch at a nearby restaurant. Without our standard dog-treat lure, we’re left to hope that Teddy’s recall words will work for this random dog as well. So we walk towards the lost pup and shout “Puppy, puppy!” while moving backwards. He runs away. Rescue fail. We drop our heads and walk to meet the rest of the family for lunch. The hostess overhears us saying, “We tried to call him to us, but...” and responds “Oh don’t worry about him! That’s Red - he’s the town dog.” Town dog? I didn't realize that we had traveled to Mayberry circa 1956.
Incident 3: I wake up to Ian standing over me in the bed with an orange tabby cat in his arms. In my sleepy stupor, I have to remind myself that we don’t own a cat. “I found him outside!” Ian says proudly. I bolt out of bed and put Teddy in his crate to cool his over-enthusiastic welcome for the lost kitty. We put the little cat on the ground of our bedroom to let him explore his new abodes, while I mentally panic that this random animal might stinky pee on our floor somewhere. We are sans litterbox, after all. I snap out of my concern to realize that this fluffly little Cheeto is wearing a collar that identifies him as “Abbedale.” Cute name. And beneath the cute name is a phone number! Ian calls and leaves a message on a company’s voicemail. Weird. As we wait for a return phone call, we’re forced to entertain the idea of adopting him in case no one calls back. Abbedale sure is cute, and kitty litter doesn’t cost that much, we think to ourselves. Plus, Teddy would like the company... Before we look up how much FreshStep costs, Ian’s phone rings, and it’s the return phone call: “Oh, that’s Abbedale. He likes to wander into your neighborhood. You can just put him back outside.” So we did. And now the three of us reminisce about the day we owned a cat for an hour.
If ever the universe tried to communicate with someone, I think it’s trying to tell us it might be time to consider adding a new furry member to our little family. Because as well-intentioned as we have been in these animal rescue attempts, we just can’t ignore the thousands of homeless animals waiting for their forever homes in rescue organizations all around us. So maybe it’s time for us to stop looking on the side of the street for lost animals and start looking where they really are: shelters.