A while back, Dr. Smooth and I arrived home to find My Knight doing a weird dance outside the front door motioning for us to get out of the car and come inside.
“Where’s your phone? Where’s his phone? Where’ve you been? I’ve been trying to call both of you. Why aren’t you answering your phones?”
Although there was some volume, frustration, and urgency in his voice, I didn’t get the feeling anything tragic had happened. So I was curious but not overly concerned.
“We didn’t hear the phone. We were singing and had the radio turned up,” I said nonchalantly as I gathered things from the car. “And we stopped to get gas.”
“HURRY UP! Come on! I’ve been trying to call you!” He was waving his arm like the boat was going to leave and we were going to need to jump from the shore to make it.
“What’s the matter? What’s going on?” I asked, starting to get concerned.
“Just come here. You have to see this. I’ve been trying to call you,” he repeated.
“You said that. We couldn’t hear the phones,” I explained again, wondering what on earth could be so exciting and urgent INSIDE our house. What was up with this man?
“Come on,” he said, waving his arms again. We were clearly NOT moving fast enough. He led us through the living room and kitchen and out onto the pool patio, not even giving me time to put down the shopping bags.
As soon as I stepped onto the patio, I was greeted by a bouncy, happy, exuberant Boston terrier.
“What the hell?” I asked. My mind zoomed to furious like a rocket. I thought My Knight had brought home ANOTHER dog. Considering that we are maxed out at four dogs already, I was none too pleased.
“I came home and he was here, inside the screen room,” he said.
“Awesome!” shouted Dr. Smooth. “Can we name him Paul?”
“We’re not naming him anything!” I shouted back.
“Where did he come from? You don’t know anything about this?” asked My Knight.
“No! What do you mean he was inside the screen room? How’d he get in here?” I asked.
“Come, Paul. Come, Paul,” Dr. Smooth said, patting his thighs and beckoning to the hyper dog.
“Stop calling him that! We are not naming him Paul and we are not keeping him,” I said. “He looks really clean and well-fed. He has to be someone’s pet.”
MK: “But how did he get in here?”
Me: “I don’t know. Maybe someone found him loose and figured he must be ours since we have more dogs than anyone else in the neighborhood. But he can’t stay here!”
DrS: “Why? He’s great, Mom! Sit, Paul! Sit!”
Me: “His name is not Paul. And we’re not keeping him.” I turned to My Knight, who looked just as excited as Dr. Smooth. I was very worried as to what that meant for my household. “This is someone’s pet. You know we can’t keep him, right?”
MK: “But someone put him in here.”
DrS: “Look, mom. Paul knows Sit! I wonder what other commands he knows.”
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.
Me: “We are not keeping Paul. Uh, whatever his name is. We are not keeping him. We have FOUR dogs already. We are bursting at the seams with dogs. No. We have to find his owners. I am sure they are missing him.”
MK: “Well, you aren’t going to be able to find them tonight.”
DrS: “Yeah, Mom. Can’t we just keep Paul tonight?”
No. No. No. No. No.
Me: “We really need to find his owners.”
MK: “How you gonna do that?”
I had no idea. But I was certain that we could not take another dog. We are animal lovers. And if I had more room and more money, I’d take ten more. But I don’t. So I can’t.
Me: “I’m going to walk around the neighborhood and knock on doors and ask if this is their dog.”
I got a leash and set out with Paul and Dr. Smooth. I quickly realized it was after 9pm, and there are over 70 houses in our neighborhood, so this may not have been a great plan. But I was determined Paul was not staying at our house.
I walked to the other end of our cul-de-sac, hoping that Paul would pick up a familiar scent and magically lead me to his owner. But he picked up every single scent on every single blade of grass in our neighborhood. I don’t think this crazy dog had any idea where home was, or even cared to find it. He was the happiest, most excited little being on the planet just to be alive and sniffing.
I went to my neighbor a few houses down who is a close friend. I thought perhaps she might know Paul’s owners. She suggested a house between mine and hers because she had heard barking there and knew they had dogs.
I watched for any sign of recognition as we approached the front door, but Paul was clueless. I rang the bell and was immediately greeted with extremely loud and deep gruff barks that would have never come from a Boston terrier. I quickly passed Paul’s leash to Dr. Smooth and told him to get Paul out of sight. I didn’t want to keep him, but I didn’t want him eaten alive either.
A young lady opened the door with her two very large dogs, and I explained about Paul. Her parents both came to the door then, and her mother said she had owned a Boston terrier for years. She got teary-eyed as she talked about the dog passing away years earlier.
I thanked them and apologized for the inconvenience and started walking again to catch up to Dr. Smooth and crazy-happy-bouncy Paul. My Knight was standing in the street by our house, so we stopped to update him. While we were standing there, the young girl from the house with the big dogs came walking up.
“My mom really wants the dog,” she said. “We’ll take him if you want.”
As much as I wanted to be rid of Paul, I also wanted to make sure he made it back home to his owners.
“I really think he lives somewhere in the neighborhood. I want to try to find his home,” I replied.
“Well, we can take him tonight, and then my mom will put up posters and call the shelters tomorrow. And if we don’t find his owners, we’ll keep him,” she said.
So I let Paul go with her. And then I worried the rest of the night whether or not I had done the right thing, and whether or not Paul was okay with them, and whether or not Paul’s owners were worried sick. Fate had trusted Paul to us by mysteriously dumping him inside our screened room, and I had just passed him off. I felt horrible.
But Paul has a happy ending! The next day, the young lady’s father called to say they had located Paul’s owner in the neighborhood and Paul was back home safe and sound.
I still have no idea how Paul ended up in our screen room, but I think I’ll put a “No Vacancy” sign in our yard just in case.