Thursday, June 23, 2005
I Found a Lap Buddy.I left the Oakland SPCA at about 8:30 PM tonight. Any later, and it's really not a great neighborhood in which to be driving around.
It was that time of night where it's still light out but dim enough that all colors are becoming light gray, gray, and dark gray. At Hegenberger and Bancroft, I see the littlest dog crossing the street in the tail end of rush hour traffic. Pretty busy night for a 12-pound light- and dark gray dog to be crossing the street on its own.
We don't take in strays. All strays are directed to the public animal control nearest the neighborhood in which the stray was found. This is an important process, but folks bringing us strays don't always understand why. A public animal shelter might not be in the position to care for a homeless animal the way a private shelter, not restricted by city funding, can so they think the animal is better off with us.
But for the family missing their lost pet? The system works, and has to be honored. Instead of having to guess where their lost pet might be, their best chance is at their local animal control. We send strays there, but we also direct their distraught owners there, too. If unclaimed after the owner has been given a reasonable amount of time to reclaim their pet, then it might very well end back up with us, awaiting a new home.
But back to my Lap Buddy. At first, my goal is to get him to safety, which quickly converts to my second goal, which is to not get bit. I don't care if it's an 80 pound large breed dog, or a 12 pound dust bunny, canines have teeth, and scared canines use them. But not my Lap Buddy. He was eagerly licking some dried food off the asphalt--hungry much?--while drivers at all corners of the intersection paused politely as I scooped him up.
Only after picking him up did I consider what I was going to do with an unknown dog in my car. I didn't have to decide: Lap Buddy just snuggled into my lap and looked out the driver's window as I turned around.
As I said, when we find a stray at the shelter--tied to the gate in the morning, stuffed in a box in the drive way, tossed over the fences--we bring it to Animal Control. In our neighborhood, that is Oakland Animal Services . But at 8:30 at night, I can't bear to put him in their night boxes and let him wait til morning til he was fed, watered and processed. Although the night drop box is a lifesaver for a Good Samaritan who absolutely can't take in a stray, I am fortunate to have options tonight.
So, against policy, I bring him back to the shelter to settle him in for the night. I will have N. send him to OAS in the morning.
Only now do I really see my Lap Buddy. Fellow blogger L. kindly gives him shots and flea meds (all overnight guests are vaccinated and defleaed). Surprise, surprise: he has a collar. Although it's nearly choking him. And he has two tags, one from the city and one from a vet clinic, but no name or address. He's got the broken remnants of a tie-out attached to the collar. He's been tied up somewhere.
He has the most shiny, black leather nose and shiny, bright, brown eyes you've ever seen. But those were the only things "shiny" about my Lap Buddy. His poodle-y coat is impossibly matted, each mat with its own collection of foxtails and other debris.
Who would take this super-cute pup and tie him up outside? Never notice he needs a bigger collar? Refuse to even drag a brush through his long, curly coat?
But he has tags, which means his owner will be called, and asked to reclaim him. After all, he's their dog.