So I just finished up a grueling seven-day work week, one that involved shooting Harry Potter until 1 a.m. and starting again at 9 a.m. the next morning to photograph environmental volunteers removing parasitic vines from a state park. Yesterday, I was driving back to the office after shooting a house fire when I saw a little dog almost get creamed by an SUV on a blind curve. I was honking and waving my arms from inside my car, then hopped out and stopped traffic in both directions.
He was a pretty cute little thing, some sort of pug-inspired mixed breed. I called the phone number on his tags, which had been disconnected. His ID said his name was Jack. I knocked on a few doors. None of the neighbors recognized him, but one lady gave me a spare leash. As we were running out of clues and I was on a tight spot news deadline, I took him back to the office with me.
In the time it took me to cut together a 60-second movie of the fire scene and transmit ten photos, he chewed through the leash not once but TWICE after I tied the severed ends back together. When he pulled out of his collar without my noticing despite the fact that the retied leash was hooked around my wrist, I started to have a sneaking suspicion about how and why Jack was running amok in traffic.
His rabies tag said he had been inoculated at the nearby chapter of the SPCA, which on a Sunday night, was already closed. Jack came home with me for a sleepover. He and Bella did alright actually. They scurried through every room in the house, and she proceeded to assert her Alpha status in each and every one.
Bella; Wanna see the people bed? It's reallyreallyreally cool!
(He was a hyperactive little thing).
Bella: Okay, but you can't get on it, okay? I can, though. I'm allowed. You aren't a'pposed to! I'm a lot taller now!
Bella: Wanna see *my* bed?
Jack: Yeah, yeah!
Bella: No, only *I* can sit in it. Well, me and the cat, but not you.
Me: (warningly) Bella... He's here one night. Can you share?
Jack: Cat? Cat! CAT!!!
Me: Oh, Jesus.
Bella: Wanna play humans?
Bella: Okay, now I'm the girl human, which means I get to tell you what to do and make you wear the leash and stuff. You can be the cat, okay?
Jack: That's not humans, that's- Um, what does the cat do?
Bella: He walks around screaming and staring at nothing all day.
Fred: (peeking around door, tail three times as wide as usual) Hey!
Bella: Jack pee-peed! He pee-peed and not outside in the business place!
Me: You know what? Time for separate walks and bed!
In the morning, I took him to the same shelter where he had his rabies shots, knowing they could find his owners from the paperwork. There was a shelter employee and a guy from Animal Control taking care of forms behind the desk. They looked up and simultaneously said:
Me: "You know this little guy?"
Animal Control Guy: "Dude, I just dropped you off at home again yesterday."
M: Really? I found him running along-
Us Simultaneously Again: B****town Road.
Shelter Employee: Let me guess, in Pony Stoint?
Me: Yup. He almost had a close encounter with an SUV at the intersection with W@yne Avenue.
ACG: Yeah, he lives less than half a mile from there.
Me: Well, I called the number on his collar. It's disconnected, and I did knock on a few doors, but no one knew him.
SE: (petting Jack) Don't worry, you're not in trouble.
ACG: I'm just curious. When did you find him?
Me: Around 5/5:30 p.m. or so?
ACG: I dropped him off at 10 a.m.
Me: Do his people need, like, a fence or something?
ACG: He's pretty sneaky, actually.
Me: Yeah, I noticed that.
Weird little mutt. :)
If anything else, it's a good reminder to double-check your animal companions' ID tags. We realized about a month after we got rid of the landline that none of the old cell numbers nor the house # on Bella's tags were accurate anymore. Doh!