Saturday, February 4, 2012

For the love of Jake

Today I got back from an amazing morning Bikram Yoga session at a terrific studio that is right on my road, five minutes from my house!! Anyhow, I was basking in the glow of warmed and used muscles when the phone rang with Ryan's telltale ring. (It's a groovy tune, to let me know a groovy guy is on the other end.)  He said, "I found a dog." A very cute dog (Lab/Boxer/mutt mix maybe?) had run across the busy road towards Stop and Shop and Ry had just missed hitting him.

Ryan said his initial thought was, "Well the dog is okay, and he'd probably run if I went back to check on him." But he decided to go back to the parking lot anyway and the dog, who was indeed still there, approached him warily. Ryan checked his collar and IDs and saw his name was Jake. When he said, "Hey Jake," the dog started wagging his tail, and clamoring for affection. Ryan opened the car door and Jake cheerfully jumped right in, no prompting needed. Ry called both numbers on the tags and got no response, but left messages. "I'm not sure what to do now," he confessed. Having the dog stay with us until we found his home would not work. Even if we kept him away from our kitties, the stress would undo them. (And we'd have a lot of cat poop on our floor, gracias a Kaci, whose digestive system suffers under any stress or change.) So I said, "Why don't you come home and we'll take him to the vet together and see if he has one of those microchips."

When he arrived, I ran out to the driveway to join him and the sweet pup, who sat in the back seat, quite thrilled with all this adventure. I'd assumed Jake would be a bit nervous and whiny, pining for home, but no. He was having a ball, sticking his head out the window in smiling bliss. He was, in fact, so happy, that we had a growing "lipstick" situation. Ew. Luckily I was in the front seat, so said lipstick did not get too close for comfort.

Looking more closely at the tags, we saw that there was an address and promptly drove him home. I knocked on the door of the house and the fellow that was there was very kind and hadn't even realized Jake was gone. Apparently, Jake made a habit of escaping and the man could not figure out how he was getting out of the enclosed fence.

So it all ended well.

It reminded me of a Thanksgiving Eve about 10 or so years ago, after I had moved back to Massachusetts from Indiana. It was an exceptionally cold winter. I was coming home late and found a big, fluffy, orange, well-taken-care-of cat on the front porch of my apartment. It was well below zero that night, and even though I had Sergio and Kaci, I couldn't fathom leaving that meowing kitty out. The cold was so intense, it was hard to breathe and I had lost feeling in my legs on the walk home from the busstop. Mr. Fluffy wasn't even shy, as most cats are with strangers, but seemed desperate to go indoors, and snaked around my ankles, trying to sweet-talk me into letting him come in. I brought him upstairs and woke one of my roommates to see if he could stay in her room, which she was fine with. (I didn't want to chance having all the cats meet up and fight, which almost all cats do when they meet.)

He was a very sweet kitty. I brought him to a vet the next day, but he did not have a microchip, which would have allowed us to find his address. So my roommates and I put up signs all over the neighborhood, and, as an afterthought, I called the Boston Globe to see if I could place an ad. I was delighted to find they did not charge for found animals ads. One day later, I got a call from the owner, who had checked the Globe as a last resort, not thinking there would actually be an ad there. Hooray! The kitty had belonged to a little boy and one of his siblings had left the door open by accident. It was amazing to see the reunion!

I bring these stories up, not to pat ourselves on the back, but as a reminder that we need to be advocates for animals, even though it might be inconvenient. Our kitties have both escaped on occasion, and while we found them immediately, I would love to believe that anyone who saw one of our sweet puddies would do their best to catch them and read their id collars or, if the id collars broke (which they are meant to do to avoid strangulation on branches and such) take them to the vet to see if they have a microchip (which they do.)

So keep your eyes out for other animals who appear lost, sick, or hurt. It's so easy to turn away and reason that they are probably fine. But they get hungry, sick, tired, scared, and homesick, just like we do. Going out of our busy way can make a tremendous difference. 

Do you have any stories of finding lost friends?


  1. So true! I always love a good post about finding lost animals and reuniting them with their owners. Thanks for giving me some warm fuzzies!

  2. We found a kitten hiding under a van in the middle of a snowstorm once. We think she must have been feral—we weren't ever able to find an owner, and she acted a little wild once we brought her inside. But we found a friend to adopt her, and they seem very happy together 9+ years later.

  3. Wow, Brenda. I didn't know that feral cats could acclimate to house living. That's a great story!