Yesterday afternoon the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find two young girls and a large, panting dog. The taller girl, who held the leather leash, wanted to know if the animal belonged to us. The smaller girl, who had a small bike, said he was very nice. They commenced to tell me they found him a few hours earlier, he had been dehydrated, and the number on the collar didn’t work, so they were going through the neighborhood to find his home. After I told them we weren’t the owners, I asked them to wait a moment while I fetched Danny, who’d come home early to do some paperwork. Perhaps he had seen the dog and its owner before.
Danny, an enthusiastic animal lover, immediately petted the hairy coat as he helloed the girls. Then he called the vet’s number on the collar, because the taller girl told us they had only gotten a busy signal before and didn’t try again. The receptionist wouldn’t give out the name or phone number of the owner, but said she would call them for us and that the dog (Burnout) got out of his yard often.
Within minutes Danny talked to the owner and the owner’s teenage son and was told a retrieval was imminent. The girls and Burnout sat on the porch waiting, declining any refreshments. I learned their names and told them of our ten-year-old Lizzie, who visited occasionally. Much to my surprise, these girls told me they were “almost 9″ and almost 8” and lived on the street behind us. I gave them our name, address, and phone number so they might remember who we were when I called the next time our granddaughter was in town.
I was very impressed with these girls, Hannah and Emma. They had such aplomb for their ages. Their self-assurance and being allowed to canvas the neigborhood with an affable, docile dog reminded me of earlier times when children roamed safely/freely.
Soon, a large pickup truck with oversized tires pulled up and out popped a short young man. The girls and dog met him in the middle of the front yard. He didn’t say much, not even a thank you while he unleashed his pet. As the girls were leaving, Danny gave them some money as a reward for a job well done. That put-upon boy sure didn’t offer them anything.
Burnout was a mix of these dogs. His snout was shorter and his hairy coat was brindled on the back. His muzzle was graying. He didn’t bark or jump on us. A very calm, social dog. Hannah told me she temporarily named him in case she was able to keep him. She was hoping he had been abandoned.