Took the dog out for our evening walk yesterday. The weather was much nicer than the past few days where both the dog and i were cooped up in the house by the raging storms outside. At one point, i wondered whether a tree would come shattering through my windows. As we round the usual bends in the neighbourhood, i suddenly felt my dog jerked backwards on her leash which is very unusual because she usually pretends to walk beside me when really she is trying to tell me where she wants to go. Yup, this is the same dog that passed her Basic Obedience and is now on her intermediate levels. What can i say? She’s exam-smart.
Anyway, i turned around and there was this puppy that had barreled herself excitedly into my dog’s rump. My dog clearly took offense and lunged at her causing her to stumble backwards in bewilderment. I steadied my dog. This pup was three times smaller than my dog. Also my dog can be protective. This little one came sniffling up. I must say, my dog must have recognized no threat from her because she became a little less aggressive. I glanced up and down the street for the owner. I really don’t like dogs off their leads – they tend to mistake my dog for a gentle mutt and attempt to be friends. My dog wags her tail, tolerate a few licks and then she will lunge if they don’t stand back.
A Chinese guy came jogging up the street. The pup ran up to him and jumped up. He paused and glared at me. I stared at him, wondering what his problem was. Then he jogged away and the pup came running back to me. Then it hit me. This guy probably thought i was a moron, letting MY dog jump on strangers. And i thought he was an idiot for being so rude when it was HIS dog that disrupted my walk. The point was, this pup was on the loose. I decided to proceed on with my walk, because i do have exams to think about, and i was already wasting precious minutes. The pup followed us.
Suddenly one of my neighbours came out.
“Do you know whose dog this is? I have never seen it around and she came into my house just now.”
“Nope, never seen this dog before either. How long has she been out?”
“Past forty minutes maybe.”
“I guess she is going to follow me now,” i said in amusement.
He laughed. He too has a medium-sized dog and one as fickle-minded as mine. Plus he has a young kid at home, so i guess keeping the pup safe was not possible. In the end, after crossing a road, and witnessing the pup dashing with me; i grabbed hold of her and carried her. She was surprisingly comfortable in my arms – no squirming or growling.
We met another dog owner in his garden. His Shepard X ran up to us. My dog lunged, and the puppy started wriggling out of my arms to join the fun. It was a bit mad.
“Do you know whose dog this is?”
“Oh, it isn’t your dog?”
“No. Anyway, i live on XXX street; if anyone comes round asking, the dog will be with me.”
And we continued on our walk which was now taking too long. And longer still because i had to carry the pup and reminded my dog to heel. Didn’t help that another sheepdog off his leash came barking towards us as he raced with his cyclist owner down the road.
“Sorry!” the cyclist hollered after me.
I shrugged. Some days, when i walk my dog, i meet no one at all. Other days, i get followed by one, and meet a whole string of others. Life’s weird.
Back home, the two dogs started playing and chasing one another, out into the backyard, back into the house, and so forth. I attempted calling the pup ‘Sheila’ but that had a bad ring to it, and my housemate was horrified. My housemate wanted to give her a French name (she’s learning French at the moment) – triedcalling her ‘Nuage’ (Cloud) but i just stumbled all over it trying to pronounce the complex name with a French accent to boot. In the end, i called the dog ‘Sasha’ and to our utmost amazement, she responded.
I was going to do some studying and hoped the owner come round but nearly one and a half hours later, there was still no word. In the end, my friends and i took her to the animal hospital to see if she was microchipped. I thought if it was me and my dog was gone, i would really appreciate someone calling me. Unfortunately, the dog was not microchipped. Why do people not chipped their dogs?? Not to mention that it is illegal in this country. The vet nurse was really rude to us. She wanted to take the dog without our permission. When i said no, i will ask my local vet and hold on to the dog lest the owner does come knocking in the next few days, she asked me what the hell would i do with the dog anyway. I was quite taken aback, but she was saved from my reprimand because just at the moment, my housemate called to say the owner had come round to my house. Blasted nurse. She does not really have good communication skills.
There was a young family before us who brought in a cat because it was hit by a car. The lady was crying. Yet, the nurse chatted on the phone whilst breaking the bad news to them. My friends and i (all medical students) were simply appalled. But the family did not look that upset. I mean if my dog was going to be put to sleep, i doubt i would be that calm. Also i hope that cat was not a stray but their pet, because the lady was pregnant and stray cats carry Toxoplasmosis, which is really bad news for the fetus.
To cut the story short, we sent the dog home and we found out her name was ‘Sunshine’, no wonder she was responding to ‘Sasha’! The family just moved into the neighbourhood, and the dog had dug a hole out of the backyard. His young son was sad that the dog was gone. I told him to get his dog microchipped because she is adorable and if someone else finds her, they will probably keep her instead.
This just reminded me that the same thing happened to me when i first moved into the neighbourhood three years ago. My dogs figured out how to open my sidegate (despite it being padlocked – just lift the stand at the bottom and the gates will swing silently apart. I know this because i spent a good fifteen minutes after the incident staring at the gate, trying to sort out the trick the dogs had used) and they were puppies at the time. They took off running down the street and playing. My street is a busy street; there’s a hospital a few houses down. Anyway, a kind neighbour picked them up and brought them home (my dogs had identification tags on them). They re-secured my gates and left me a note. I only came home twelve hours later (this was back in the days when i was juggling med school and a part-time job), and when i saw the makeshift lock on my gate, i thought someone had broken into my house from the backdoor. The neighbours drove by and told me what happened. I was very grateful someone looked out for my dogs. Not surprisingly these neighbours were fellow dog owners – they have two German Shepards of their own.
So that was how last night went. I did little studying and am way behind my schedule now. I am stressed and i can’t help but wonder how these strange incidents happen to me. I am not complaining; i am just curious. Life’s little wonders.