Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stray Mutt Number 5

Our neighborhood has recently become a haven for lost and abandoned dogs. They're always small, emaciated, poorly trained, and typically without collars. We get a lot of Chihuahuas. We've had some nasty experiences with a few (biting, aggressive behavior) and we wonder if the pound allows them to be adopted out to new families.

This little girl was standing in the middles of the road when I pulled into the driveway tonight. After she had an exceedingly near miss with a garbage truck, I plucked her from the street and took her inside. Surprisingly, she was friendly, if a bit skittish, and had a collar (but no Santa Ana license). "Princess" gobbled down Bailey's kibble while I pondered the following ethical dilemma:

-Princess obviously had an owner, as evidenced by the tag containing her name, address, and phone number

-She was used to people although not trained in any common canine commands

-She looked like she'd been on the streets for a long time, as evidenced by her grossly matted fur, brambles, and general dishabille

-She was skinny

I called the owner, thinking that the dog had been lost for weeks (which would account for her emaciated state and poor fur condition), only to learn that she'd been missing for approximately 1/2 hour. They picked her up promptly, without much of a thank you.

So here is the dilemma: does one return a dog to an owner that perhaps isn't taking good care of their pet? Do I turn the dog over to the pound? It's rare to find a dog with tags; an address/phone number at least indicates that they have some concern for the animal. Bailey has escaped a few times from our yard and various neighbors have graciously held onto him until we've been able to retrieve him. I'm sure he gobbled kibble like a madman too, while he was with other people. Of course, there is a difference between the Bailey of today and the skinny mutt that wandered around Lake Elsinore for a month. He weighs 30 pounds more, has a nice (too nice) layer of fat on his ribs, and a gorgeous, glossy black coat. The former Bailey was a sorry looking mutt: scrawny, matted fur, infected ears, etc.

I'm inclined to let this one slide but never sure when it's a good idea to step in and speak up. Any thoughts/opinions, oh internets?

Princess was quite friendly
Bailey was delighted to have a pal in the house and spent the hour begging to be let in the kitchen for a friendly play date.

Princess wasn't so sure ...
Not surprisingly, Princess was overwhelmed by Bailey and kept her distance. Bails was devastated. Perhaps Princess was worried about being crushed by 105 pounds of giddy, wiggling madness.