One late Sunday afternoon, Todd was outside working on the lawnmower and I was inside relaxing (reading) with our precious pup, Lana. I heard something climb up the deck stairs and when I looked up, there was a yellow lab with its tongue sticking out and its nose pressed against the screen door. He was a cute thing, so I asked Lana if she wanted to go out and play with the yellow lab.
Lana and I went outside and I asked Todd to hold Lana back while I went to see if the yellow lab was friendly. As I said that, the pup came running over to me with his tongue sticking out and started playing with me. It was the cutest.thing.ever. I told Todd that it was OK to let Lana come over to him and they sniffed each other out.
The dog, whom we called “Buddy,” did not have any tags on him. I don’t know where he came from: he just appeared out of nowhere. I gave him some fresh water and some food to see if he was hungry to which he scarfed every last crumb down within seconds.
We get strays around our house a couple times a year. Most times, they play with Lana until they are sick of her and then leave. Buddy played with Lana and never left. After realizing that he wasn’t leaving, Todd gave Buddy a flea bath, and then we wanted to see if he liked to be indoors (it was extremely hot the day he came to us).
Buddy came inside without a problem. He explored the house, played with Lana and found some of Lana’s toys lying around. Buddy ended up staying the night with us that first night. He chose to sleep in our bed with us. I called the police department to see if anyone had reported a lost yellow lab. Buddy was very obviously taken care of: neutered, dewclaws removed and an indoor dog. The police department had not received any notifications of a missing dog, but they took our information in case someone called.
The next day, I called the dog pound, two vet offices and posted a listing on Craigslist about Buddy. Todd took him to our local vet’s office to see if he was chipped – and he was not. The vet took a picture of Buddy and posted it on their FaceBook page hoping to find the owners. There were three women who were immediately interested in Buddy. After talking with the women, two decided that Buddy would not be a fit for their family. One woman came out with her 10 year old daughter to meet Buddy. The woman’s daughter adored Buddy; however, there was one thing that happened while they were at the house. You see, Buddy is an alpha-male. This usually is not a problem; however, he growls when another dog comes up to him and he has a bone in his mouth or if he is eating. Again, he only does this with other animals – he has not done this to us. Buddy had a bone in his mouth that he found in the yard and Lana (our pup) went up to him and he growled. Other than that, everything with the visit had gone smoothly. The next day, she contacted me stating that she doesn’t think Buddy would be a fit for their family either.
The day that the woman and her daughter came to meet Buddy, I had been thinking a lot about this friendly, loving, mini-moose that had been traipsing around our home for the past four days. I started to really get attached to the bugger and had come to enjoy his company when I was reading and he would be an arm’s length away. When I got up in the morning, it was usually because he was standing over me or licking my face telling me it was time to get up. I got attached to the 100 lb stray that landed on our porch. I was crying on the way home from work thinking about a day that this moose wouldn’t clumsily run to my car door with Lana to meet me when I pulled into the driveway. Todd noticed I had been crying when I got home that day and I told him why.
The next morning, Todd and I were sitting on the couch with the big moose between us sleeping, and Todd said, “You know, he has really grown on me too.” I asked Todd what he meant by this, and he said that he thought we should keep Buddy if his owners done come forth. I was ecstatic. Todd started to make a list of the things that we needed for Buddy that he would get while I was at work. A collar and a nametag with his name and our phone number etched into it.
I originally did not want to keep Buddy for three reasons: 1.) He is a spitting image of a dog my dad had for years that had just passed away after being really sick 2.) I didn’t want Lana to feel neglected 3.) I didn’t want the expense of an extra animal in the house (don’t we have enough animals already?!?)
After thinking everything through, all three reasons were really stupid and selfish. 1.) I cannot fear for this young, healthy, happy dog’s life because of something that happened to my dad’s dog! 2.) I have to keep reminding myself that Lana is not a child – she is a dog. Dogs run in packs. She actually enjoys running around the yard chasing Buddy and vice versa. And the third reason is completely irrational because the only extra expenses would be for dog tags, food, and the bi-yearly vet visit. This may come to an extra
$500/year $800/year (the first year). (After writing this, we took Buddy to the vet because he had
severe itching and we wanted him to have his shots. The initial vet bill: $280 because he had an
ear infection, skin infection, and worms.
We have to take him back in 2 weeks to get all his other shots.) Quite frankly, we live the way we do (frugally
and almost mortgage free) so that we can enjoy the things that are important to
us: time with family, travel, and our animals.
Buddy makes us laugh, wherever Lana is you can find Buddy close by, and the cute-o-meter is off the charts at night when he “hugs and kisses” Lana before it’s time to go to bed. Buddy was out in the garage with Todd really early the other morning (3AM!) getting some things done before I woke up for work. When Lana and I woke up, Lana was frantically searching the house for Buddy. As soon as Todd and Buddy walked in, she was instantly next to him. At that moment, I knew that keeping Buddy was the right choice for our family. But then again, he found us…not the other way around. We just chose to love him.
Side Note: One goal for this year was to not take in anymore animals. This goal was not met the weekend Buddy came to our home, and we are unapologetic about it. We love him to pieces.