Sunday, September 30, 2007

dog catcher

I spend a lot of time catching other people's dogs in my neighborhood. I'm beginning to think I should be getting paid for being a dog catcher.

Yesterday, I was working in my yard and heard Oreo using his "I see another animal" bark. It is a deeper and more serious bark, than he uses at other times. Typically, when he uses this bark, it is to let me know he sees a squirrel or our next door neighbor's lab getting too close for comfort.

I didn't think much of his barking, until I heard some kids yelling, "Jake!" I knew this was one of our neighbor's dogs, because they are constantly yelling, "Jake, stop barking!" So, I figured their dog must have gotten loose. I looked into the woods and saw a flash of fur heading toward our yard.

I had never seen Jake, and he was not what I expected. For some reason, I was expecting Jake to be a springer spaniel, but Jake was a tiny, white, fluffy thing. Maybe a maltese. One of those dogs rich people carry in their Louis Vuitton bags.

I tried calling Jake to me, so I could get a feel for his temperament. Sometimes these pocketbook dogs can go either way. They can be sweet to their owners, but very snappy to strangers. Was I willing to lose a finger to save the dog from getting squashed by a car? Not really.

Luckily, Jake seemed to be smiling, and having the adventure of a lifetime. He was running with an expression on his face that said, "I'm free, I'm free!"

Jake came running up to me, and I tried to grab him, but he was too quick. By then, the kids had reached my yard and were trying to help. Unfortunately, they just kept screaming at the dog. This caused the dog to run further away, and toward our very busy road. I knew the best way to lure a dog was to talk in a nice, calm voice and act as if I was going to give him a fabulous hunk of steak.

My tactic worked. After a few tries, I was able to scoop up Jake, give him a quick hug, and hand him off to the kids. The kids were very polite and kept thanking me for my help. These are the same kids who scream at the top of their lungs at 10 PM, while jumping on their trampoline, causing me to lose sleep. Now, they were winning me over.

Their mom came down the hill through the woods to thank me too. She said, "I'm glad your dogs were barking, otherwise Jake would have run into the road, instead of your yard. Once he reached the road, he would be a goner."

I never had anyone say they were glad my dogs were barking. I usually hear the opposite. I don't usually care about the complaints, since I have to listen to their kids screaming all the time.

Then she said, "Jake doesn't get out much, so when he gets loose he just takes off. He's going back in his crate now."

Poor Jake. Had the time of his life, and now he was being punished.

After they left, I looked around for my own dogs. I knew they were safe inside our fence throughout the whole ordeal, and hadn't really paid any attention to them. That's one of the main reasons we put up the fence - to keep our dogs safe from other dogs. I expected to see them on the deck keeping an eye on things, but they weren't there.

I noticed the back door had been nosed open by one of them. I found the two of them, sitting in the corner of our mudroom, as close to the closed kitchen door, as physically possible. Huddled together for mutual support.

As soon as Jake set foot on our property, my two dogs went running for cover. Wimps.

No comments: