A strange doggy experience

Really, really odd evening.

It was just about over; I was past the gradually-getting-out-of-chat stage, had fed the fish, and was out walking the dogs, in preparation for finally, reluctantly going to bed. I hate going to bed before one a.m… something about it just seems totally wrong to my physiology. But anyhow, I was walking the dogs, and as I approached my house, fishing in my pocket for my keys, I notice my pit bull pulling backwards on her leash.

Gracie (the pit bull) is usually pretty observant, so I check behind me, squint hard, and make out a little light-colored dog following us. He keeps his distance, so I back off, bringing the dogs in toward the house.

As he comes into range of the porch light, I see that he’s a cute little pup, some kind of lab/terrier mix, panting and wagging adorably.

I stash my pups inside, letting them know that I was off to do something stupid, and went back out. The dog was there, and glad to see me. All I had to do was kneel down and offer a hand, and he came right up.

At this point, I have to explain something.

I speak dog.

I’m pretty fluent, actually. I can stumble along a bit in cat, but I speak dog like a native. It’s how I acquired both my canine pals; I can get dogs to talk to me long after they’re done trusting most humans. There’s an explanation for it, but it’s not easy to tell.

Anyway, the dog in question came over, and said hi. I greeted him in return, and he got happy all over. He was in good shape, not skinny, coat clean, good teeth, and a great, peppy personality. One thing was really odd, though. His collar was a thin, paper-like plastic, on which had been written “17706”, in pen. Really, really odd.

The pup proceeded to decorate my lawn for a bit while I thought about what to do. The humane society and animal control are strictly nine to five around here; there haven’t been any “Have You Seen This Dog” posters around lately, and there was no way this cute little critter was going to enjoy an evening at my place, with my two very territorial dogs hounding him. No phone number, no real collar. It was past 11, so all the neighbors I could count on for help were unconscious.

So, I asked the pup.

It seems he had an idea on what to do. He took off, heading down the street at a brisk walk, then stopped and looked back to see if I was following. I was.

I followed him for a couple of blocks, through the quiet neighborhood, tracking him through pools of moonlight as he happily peed on whatever seemed to need peeing on. Every time we approached a crossroad (all deserted, it’s a quiet area at night) I hung back, and he decided on a path without hesitation.

A couple of blocks later, he disappeared down a dark driveway between two houses. Before I caught up to him, he reappeared, looked at me eagerly, wagged a bit, then headed back into the shadows.

Both houses were dark, but had cars in the driveway. And, realizing fully that what I was doing was stupid, and impossible to explain, I followed the dog into the shadows.

Where I found the gate to the backyard open, and the dog standing just outside it. I petted him, he grinned happily, and went inside. I closed the gate, and latched it firmly closed. And then wedged a rock at the base, in case the pup had figured out the latch. He seemed pretty smart, after all.

So, there are a couple of possibilities as to what just happened. One is, I just gave someone the basis for a really surreal story. “No, really, this dog had locked himself in our yard. It was the strangest thing…”

I’m hoping I helped him make it home safely. But the yard looked secure, so at the least, I probably found him a safe place to stay the night. I hope. I’ll check back tomorrow before work, and see what actually happened.

But what really gets me is that collar. The possibility that I’m worried about is, the dog is a radioactive mutant, escaped from a bizarre lab experiment gone awry, and he’d already eaten three lab technicians, which is why I got away unscathed. If I go back there tomorrow morning, and there’s any sign of police tape on that block, I’m outta there. Don’t tell anyone I said this.

So, what do you think? Did I do right? How would you have handled that?

MrVisible, I’ve never met anyone else who could speak dog. Good to make your acquaintance.

Anyway, you did right. Although, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with the rock against the gate–if he unlatched the gate, he could move the rock. But if he didn’t unlatch the gate, the rock may freak out the owners of the fence. I think he just wanted to let you know that he did have safe home so you wouldn’t worry about him all night.

Rolf the Dog:
(To the guard dogs) “Woof! Woof woof! Woof!”
(To Kermit) “It helps to know a second language.”

The plasticy-papery collar sounds like an ID for a vet or a kennel. Like the bracelets you get in a hospital. Maybe a breeder.
Maybe his people just picked him up from somewhere and haven’t gotten his regular collar back on him before he pulled a Houdini (Hound-ini). ('Cause it’s soooo hard to cut off the plastic collar and re-buckle the real one back on. The one with his tag that says where he lives. Oh yeah, we still gotta get the rabies vac tag put on- it’s only been 3 months[I know it’s a puppy, no vac tag yet] and he never leaves the yard. We have a fence and all. At least he always comes back before we miss him…)

And a pit bull…cooooool…a pit bull whose person cares and exercises her and leash trains her and all the good stuff…super cool.

I agree, it sounds like an ID collar from a vet, shelter, or kennel. Although usually such collars are marked with the name/phone of the place, so I’m not sure. Hopefully he knew where he was going…I speak pretty good dog too.

I like pitbulls, the ones I’ve met have been very nice dogs (at least when they’re trained, they are.) I fostered one once, she was adorable. I’m a Rottweiler woman, myself. Woof. :slight_smile:

Pitbulls are awesome. Almost obnoxiously friendly dogs when properly cared for.

Personally, I’m more into border collie types.

I am officialy an idiot.

A weirded-out idiot.

I got myself ready to get to work this morning, got on my bike and took off for the house where I dropped off the mysterious little doggy last night. I rode into the driveway, noted the gate still latched, and the rock still wedged at the bottom.

The front curtains were open, and an older gentleman was sitting at a table inside, looking at me quizzically. I walked to the door, and he opened it.

“Sorry to bother you, but do you own a little yellow dog?”

“No, I don’t.” There was a little shitzu yapping at me from nearby his ankles.

“Did you find one here this morning?” I went into a brief version of my story from the night before.

“No, I’ve been out in my back yard all morning. No dog.”

That was weird. I could see the backyard pretty well from his front door, and it was obviously used to keep the shitzu in. Looked pretty secure.

“Well, thanks for your help. Sorry to bother you.”

“No problem. Thanks for trying.”

And I rode on to work.

So, the dog managed another escape. And is hopefully alive and well somewhere out there. I don’t know what else I could have done, though. If I’d kept him, I would have had to take him to the humane society this morning, and they’re having to euthanize dogs at a pretty rapid pace this time of year. This article appeared on the front page of the paper this morning, and states that "Staff members take turns doing the euthanasia, which can reach 60 animals per day during puppy and kitten season. The season typically begins in May and goes through the summer. "

I have the strange feeling that goes along with being a bit player in a story that had very little to do with me.

I hope the pup is safe and happy, and can find his way home. He seemed like he knew where he was going.