My cats have told me over and over again that no dogs are allowed in the house. I constantly disobey them by having friends over with dogs, and worse, picking up homeless or lost dogs and bringing them home. The worst offenses were each a full week of home invasion (twice). The single worst offense is when I fell head over heels in love with an abandoned pit and got involved in his training, healthcare, etc. The most recent was this Friday night, when I brought home two dogs that were running in the street. (My poor children, forgive me!)
Neither the lhasa apso or shitzu were were wearing collars with their phone numbers or address, but were clearly together. All three of us almost got killed while I tried to wrangle the two of them into the car, and some guy had the nerve to insult all of our intelligences in the middle of it. Why do people love shouting out their car windows so much? The fast getaway?
Both dogs were girls, one had clearly just had puppies, and we knew they had homes because they were not only fluffy lap dogs, but they reeked of groomer's chemicals, like a flea dip or something. One had a pink collar on with a rabies innoculation number, so the hunt began there. The nursing one got slapped across the face by a cat.
I'm not a fan of cops, and the Fishkill Police Dept did not disappoint when I called to get the phone number for the people you're actually supposed to report lost dogs to. (I should really have this written down somewhere!) He was "too busy" to give that to me. Funny enough, the people looking for the dogs called him too, so he ended up having to connect us. We should always force the police to be so useful!
Here's the hard part. How do you know when animals are being well-cared for or not? How do you figure it out in an instant, and what is your role beyond plucking them out of traffic and trying to find their home? Obviously, because one of them had had puppies, we wanted to know if she was being bred. She was noticeably less healthy than the other one. When their people came to take them, the white, fluffy, not-nursing one got hugged, but the mother got carried out of our house at arms length with discussion of how she'd gotten out of the laundry room.
If someone came across some of my cats, they'd probably wonder after my caretaking. One of my girls has always been so thin she's half the size of a normal cat. We feed her many extra snacks every day, get her checked for parasites, etc., but she's actually the most active of our bunch, truly acrobatic when she plays. The vet says she's fine unless she starts losing weight. Another of my kids has a cloudy eye, from a bout of conjunctivitis back when she was a shelter cat, and will bite you if you don't pet her just right.
That said, I worry about that tiny mother, named Amanda, as it turns out. Even though she had three week old puppies to nurse, I wonder if we did the right thing.
I was relieved to see them go, thankful we'd gotten in contact with their people, thankful the cats could relax, thankful that I could get back to my weekend of testing homemade vegan cheese recipes (three kinds!). But I worry.
Images from Dream Dogs Art.