OK, this is a long and rambling story, but it does have a happy ending, so please read it through until the end!
Lately I’ve had a case of puppy fever. Seeing new babies at the dog park and imagining what an awesome big sister Lola would be had me itching to get a second dog. Peter told me one of two things would have to happen for us to bring another dog into our household:
I would have to take up half of Lola’s feeding schedule and take her on long walks in addition to our 6-days-a-week dog park visits.
The universe would plop a dog into our lives with a series of events that would be impossible to ignore.
Well, on Wednesday, it happened.
I was walking Lola MUCH later in the morning than usual — 11:00 instead of 9:30 or so — and I was approached by a woman (henceforth known as “D”) pulling a little dog on a leash behind her. We’d seen D around the complex a few times, and we knew she had a Boxer. She asked me if I knew of anyone who could take this puppy off her hands, and I said, “You’ll never believe this, but…” I asked her to walk back with me to our apartment, and I called Peter down to meet D and the puppy, and we agreed to take her based on D’s story and situation.
Let me just lay things out in the manner in which they were presented to me.
- This puppy (Cricket, fka Joliene [sic]) was left with D by a friend of a friend (who I’ll call “B”).
- B was apparently in a hostile domestic situation and needed to leave Cricket with someone for a couple of days while she got out.
- D asked B to bring her Cricket’s records, which B did not do.
- B “disappeared” and could no longer be reached by D or their mutual friend, and was a couple of days overdue in returning for Cricket.
- Their mutual friend told D that B “was never coming back for that dog.”
- D assumed Cricket was now hers and took her in for her 6-month series of shots, dropping $270 on vet bills, plus a leash and collar, bed, etc.
- D then decided that she couldn’t keep Cricket because her Boxer played too rough, and she was worried Cricket would get hurt.
- If D couldn’t find a home for Cricket that day, she’d have to take her to a shelter.
- D said that if B came back looking for her dog, she’d lie to her and say Cricket got out and ran off.
- Cricket was “mostly housetrained.”
D brought us Cricket’s bed and the vet paperwork for her shots, then basically said, “Enjoy your new dog, I’m out.”
Peter quickly realized that Lola wasn’t as OK with Cricket as I was hoping/pretending she was. The truth was, Cricket had no clue how to be a dog. She didn’t purposefully take over all of Lola’s favorite places and things, but it happened, and Lola is too nice of a hostess to argue about it. She just kept giving us sad puppy eyes and silently asking us what the hell was going on. They played together wonderfully; they just didn’t “live” together very well. (Lola is a one-dog-dog, I think. She gets along great with others, but then they need to go away so she can have her house and people and stuff back.)
In addition to that, we found out that Cricket was the opposite of housetrained. She sniffed and sniffed outside on walks, but had NO CLUE that she was supposed to go potty outdoors. She waited until we got back inside, then peed and pooped in our bedroom. TWICE. Yeah. That was fun.
That night, around 10:00, after Peter and I had talked/argued extensively about our new situation, we decided we couldn’t keep Cricket and would try to give her back to D before anyone got any more miserable. We loaded her up in the car and drove over to D’s apartment. I knocked once, waited…and a light went off inside. I knocked again, waited… D finally came to the door. I explained that we couldn’t keep Cricket, and she said there was no way she could take Cricket back that night. She gave me a phone number and said she would come by after work the next day to get her if we weren’t able to figure something out in the meantime. I told her I’d put out an emergency post on our dog park’s Facebook page to see if anyone could help. Then D said that instead of her taking Cricket to a shelter, if that’s where she had to go, she wondered if we could do it instead. She said she couldn’t take any more time off of work to deal with Cricket. Then she asked me, “Uh…how did you find out where I lived?” I told her that her address was on the vet bill (which, of course, it was), but she seemed suspicious and nervous that I had no problem tracking her down. I guess she underestimated me. :p
Frustrated, but at least now heading in a unified direction, Peter and I came home and got ready for bed. I slept downstairs on the couch with Cricket and a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, while Peter slept upstairs with Lola. Cricket got me up once at about 3:30 and I caught her starting to squat by my craft table to pee. I interrupted her, got her leash on, and took her outside. No lie, I was out there for 45 minutes before she peed, and even then it was only because she just couldn’t hold it any more. When I took her to the same spot the next morning, there was absolutely no recognition or inclination to pee there again.
Thankfully a dog park acquaintance and his wife volunteered to foster Cricket. His wife works closely with a rescue group in the area, so even if they couldn’t keep Cricket themselves, she was definitely going to a good home rather than back to a shelter. (More on this later.)
I took Lola on her usual morning walk after I decided Cricket was definitely not going to potty outdoors again, and we stopped into the leasing office to let them know what was going on. Here are some things I learned, which shed quite a bit of light on the situation:
- D volunteers at a shelter nearby.
- D tried to adopt another dog a few weeks ago, but it “didn’t work out” and she had to take the dog back to the shelter.
And from that, I inferred:
- Cricket had NEVER been in a home before; she was a textbook shelter or puppy mill puppy. Her behavior was indicative of a dog who has never been in a home with other dogs or taken on walks outdoors.
- D was a “serial adopter” and was worried that if she took Cricket back to the shelter after at least one other recent failed adoption, she’d get dinged for it somehow.
- You don’t drop $300+ on someone else’s dog after just a day or two of non-communication.
- There most likely WAS paperwork on Cricket, but D couldn’t turn them over to us because they would shoot holes in her sob-story. The paperwork was undoubtedly from the shelter, and it would have all been in D’s name, not B’s.
- If D was ready and willing to lie to the fictional B, she probably wouldn’t lose sleep about lying to us, either; therefore…
- D’s entire story was total bullshit.
So, yeah. Needless to say, we haven’t heard a peep from D. She washed her hands of this poor puppy, and I bought her story, hook, line, and sinker.
We got a couple of updates already from Cricket’s new family. She has integrated beautifully with their existing two dogs and is happily pottying on training pads. We learned during her day with us that she is an incredibly sweet, affectionate, intelligent girl who will make an AMAZING companion for someone — just not for us, and not right now.
Oh yeah, and her new family has renamed her Mona. :’)