Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pet Finder.

(In case you are new, this is Part Two of a mini-series. It's really not going to make any sense without the first part, Pet Project. If you choose to continue to read anyway, don't say I didn't warn you)

I awoke a half-hour later to the phone ringing. It was Daphne, calling from her car outside the shelter, choking back tears.

“Quinn,” she sniffled, “he has an ID chip. They called the owner.”

Shaking my head to clear sleep from the synapses, I said in confusion, “That’s good, right?”

“No,” she cried, “He’s mean. He says the dog gets out all the time, and doesn’t like him, and he doesn’t know if he wants the dog back.”

My brain scrabbled up against these facts several times without finding a toe-hold. The dog that had stayed with me hadn’t wanted to be more than four inches from my leg and adored every person he had met, including the bus-boy who had accidentally kicked him. Daphne sounded distraught, and I was beginning to not feel too well myself, so I made excuses.

“Sure,” I said confidently, “He sounds like a (male genital), but maybe he’s just having a bad day. Catch me at the wrong time, and you’d think I was a total (female dog), and I’m not…not all the time, anyway. He got the dog chipped, that has to mean something.”

“He said he got the dog from a rescue group, and they did it.”

I tried another tack. “Maybe he’s a total (male genital), but his wife and kids love the dog.” I liked that one, as it would explain the dog’s affectionate stalking of Daughter and me.

“What he said was that he and his boyfriend had gotten the dog, and the boyfriend wasn’t around anymore. And then he said that dogs were a lot of work.”

My Achilles heel flared up; why do some people act surprised when their pet has needs? It's not a paperback, it's a living thing. Daphne added, “Oh, and guess what? He claims the dog got out the day before, in Hollywood.”

I sighed in disgust and said something unprintable. We both knew that was impossible. We’re several miles from Hollywood, across major thoroughfares. Had the dog run at full speed, it might have made it to our neighborhood in a day, but it would have been killed by a car in the process. One of two things happened; either someone had stolen him, thinking a pure-bred was worth something and then changed their mind. But far more likely was that his owner had driven to our area, removed his collar, and opened the door.

We sat in silence for a second. Daphne said apologetically, “I am so sorry to bother you with all this. I know you are trying to write.”

Oh, there’s guilt. I wondered where I put it. Had I gone with her, I would have…what? Grabbed the dog’s leash from the shelter employee once we realized what a (male genital) his owner was? Offered to go to the owner’s house and show him what not being liked really felt like? I would have done something, and while anyone who knows me can argue that I might not have helped the situation, I should have been there, because something helpless needed me. And where was I?


And lying about it.

Daphne was talking. I forced myself to focus. The owner had left it as “I might come get him…”; the city gave him ten days to do so. After that, the dog was available for adoption. Daphne had stayed around until they took his picture for the website, after which the employee had taken the dog away to put in a cage. The dog had given Daphne such a look of affection and confusion that her only option had been to sit in her car for a while and cry, which is when she had called me.

I raced to the computer and brought up the shelter’s website. There, under “Found Dogs”, was the dog, looking woeful. Under his picture was a name. I interrupted Daphne, who was fleshing out exactly what a colossal (male genital) this guy was on the phone, and said, “I’m sorry, but this is his name?”

“Yeaaaaaaaaaah”, she drawled, momentarily distracted by this new evidence of the owner’s general unworthiness.

“Prince Charming?”


We are so changing his name, I thought, and then mentally slapped myself. We wouldn’t be changing his name because he had an owner, albeit a big jerky one. And if big jerky man didn’t bother to pick him up, someone else would adopt him and they would name him what they liked. I would write my book and we would continue to lead a dog-free lifestyle where plastic grocery bags are for holding groceries only.

This was Sunday. The shelter was closed on Monday, which gave me ample to think deeply and thoroughly about the dog, in a way that less visionary people would describe as obsessing. By the end of the day, I had concluded the dog was in the shelter because of me; had somehow managed to break free of the idiot who owned him but might be sent back to him because of me; might not be reclaimed by idiot owner, but might be adopted by someone who would fall in love with his almost painful cuteness, name him Sir Lancelot and then be ignored in the back yard, because of me. I writhed inwardly while attending to my day.

At the end of the day, Consort and I were getting ready for bed and I blurted out “I’m thinking of putting my name of the list for the dog, if you don’t totally hate the idea. It probably won't matter, because the owner will probably come get it. You won’t have to walk it, she and I will take care of the feeding-“

Consort kissed me and grinned at me. “I knew this one was coming back.”

But that wasn’t a guarantee. Overnight, I became convinced the jerk would be there at nine a.m. on Tuesday, to pick up the dog he didn’t like. Why, you ask? Because jerks do things like that, they decide to keep something they don’t want just because it’s theirs, and they paid good money for it, or they think it’s potential date-bait, or just because they need to do something really jerky today. I raced Daughter to school on Tuesday, getting to the shelter at 8:54.

Needless to say, Jerk didn’t arrive. I did, however, have a meeting with an adoption counselor and was deemed worthy of the dog, should it become available. In the one hour he had been viewable on Sunday, someone had already put their name on the list for him; I was second. I also had the adoption counselor add a note to the dog’s file. If Jerk did arrive and was somehow capable of being talked out of taking him back, I told her, I wanted him to know the people who had kept him…what? I thought about how to phrase this best.

Didn’t have enough to do, and long to use their vacuum-cleaner daily?

Need one more living thing in the house with needs, and peculiarities, and their own dietary restrictions?

Have too many plastic grocery-store bags?

“If he does come to get the dog,” I said, “please let him know that we loved him already.”

She typed that in and then said "Okay, if he doesn't come in, we'll see you in two weeks."

Next: To quote Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part. If what I just wrote leads to that song getting stuck in your head, I am truly sorry.

(Next: Pet Found.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this story! Sounds like "Prince Charming" may be a happy story afterall...providing you do change that name.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Leta said...

I know you know this, but you are allowed to nap. You really are.

My cat, Pekoe, was called Mr. Kitty when I met him. He accepted the name change so fast that I'm convinced that he found "Mr. Kitty" to be embarrassing.

And I'm waiting for the next trilling installment....

10:54 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

don't be sorry. i do love that song.

for SURE change that damn name. sheesh.

and this guy was probably a plick with his kids (if he had any. and yes i said plick. because a pr*ck is at least useful.)

5:41 PM  
Blogger Judy said...


I have a male cat named Barb.

What could I do? He was the only pet who came when I called him.

Once we had a cat named Dude. My husband had a rather scary night once when Dude pushed a screen out of the window and escaped into the night.

He found him, but when he brought him home he made it very clear that if Dude ever got out again, HE was not roaming the streets calling "Dude!" into dark alleys.

I doubt that he would call for Barb, either.

Prince Charming isn't such a bad name.

I hope he is yours, soon.

Weren't you always waiting for Prince Charming?

And, I must say, if the shoe fits...

7:21 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Great story! Well worth the wait!

I think you will win in this situation. (-:

11:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I hope the jerkwad doesn't come try to pick up what should obviously be the newest addition to your family.

I don't understand why we don't license pet owners. The despicable way some people treat their animals is unbelievable.

I adopted my dog when he was only ten months old, and he'd been horribly abused by his original owners. He was a lovable little puppy, and he had post-traumatic stress issues for years.

He's the sweetest love-dog in the world now, because he knows I would never let anything bad happen to him. I wish the same for you and Prince Charming, whatever you change his name to.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Three years ago I saw a little muttly's face online at our local shelter and became smitten.
My own consort became smitten.
I raced to the shelter before it opened and waited at the door like a groupie.
She came home with me (after a well fought battle with eight others that thought she'd come home with them.)
She has taught us sometimes a good fleece blanket to cuddle with is all you need to produce a contented sigh. Her world puts our world into the perspective sometimes we sorely need.

7:35 AM  
Blogger badrhinogillett said...

I hadn't checked your blog in a few days and saw there were two posts. I read the first one and thought, "Oh, Quinn has a new dog!"

I've read the second, and STILL think the story ends with you having a new dog.... please tell us that the jerky guy didn't come take your dog!

Besides... it's time. We had to put our dog down just a little while after you did... and we've just gotten a puppy. You should have a dog. Lullabelle wants someone to scratch.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

Ok - so what's his name? He'll be yours - so I hope you have a name all picked out....

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww! I really hope you get him.

Don't feel guilty about napping. I always sleep when I have problems to resolve.

Now, the fibbing may be another thing altogether...

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Quinn,
I found your blog a couple years ago by accident. I was doing some research online to try and find the name of a movie I enjoyed watching as a child. I finally figured it out and that you were the actress in it. I then came across your blog and have been reading it ever since!
Any idea where I could find a copy of The Incredible Book Escape? =)
PS Can't wait to hear what happens with the dog!

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really hope it works out for you and Prince Charming. There are bad people everywhere that don't treat their four legged family members as they deserve to be treated. I rescue ferrets, and sometimes dogs and cats. I am always amazed at the stories that poeple tell me to justify why they never sought medical treatment for an illness with their animal, and now that they are too sick to do more than supportive care they want to get rid of them. A bald adrenal ferret kinda lost it's cute factor....
Sorry, I'm off of my soap box now. I am dealing with a ferret with medical issues that should have had care a long time ago. People irritate the heck out of me at times.
I can't wait to hear how it ends!

8:29 AM  

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