A few years ago I was driving home from my decidedly unglamorous job of getting yelled at by pet people, when the guy in front of me braked suddenly. Road-ragey tendencies not withstanding clearly something was wrong. One barely missed middle finger when what should I see bounding across the four-lane highway but a brown poodle-y thing.
Thankfully being the hot-mess that I always am in my car that also doubles as a closet to Narnia were several leashes and one pissy cattle dog who would just have to hold her horses for three damn minutes while I chase this terrified dog down a state highway in temperatures in the high 80s at 3:30pm with my slip leash and a prayer. Clearly fulfilling every stereotype about how fat girls can’t run (No I really can’t) I bolted slowly after the dirty scared dog who still managed to stop traffic two times in the time it took for me to get flipped off by not one, but five drivers. P.S. Thanks assholes. Clearly I had it all under control.
Finally a horn being honked managed to scare said highway poodle-y thing so much that she ran into a drainage pipe because that afternoon couldn’t possibly get much worse. Thankfully, luck and some very helpful dog lovers/motorcycle types were on our side literally and figuratively and while I blocked one end of the culvert, a very tiny man crawled in after her with my trusty slip-lead and a lot more balls than I was blessed with. He came out very swiftly with Dirty poodle-y thing who upon further exam was actually in fact a Standard poodle who was too scared and exhausted to do anything but lean on me. So back to the car we trudged, complete with a Sheriff’s deputy stopping to ask about the dog who stopped traffic. “I got her. It’s fine.” And we were left alone.
Z at the time was in her ultimate “Thug ACD” phase. She hated all dogs who she wasn’t forced to share a Mama with and even then she wasn’t fond. I fully expected to have to tie her to the roof rack to get this poodle into the vehicle. I opened the door, Z hit the entry like she was going to be a snot as per usual but she stopped, sniffed the poodle and promptly sat herself in the front seat doing her best impression of a chauffeur, hardly acknowledging this interloper’s presence. We got home in under five minutes and I dragged my spare crate onto the porch. Road Poodle was wobbly with exhaustion and who knew what else at that point so I led her to the crate anticipating her fear and was totally stunned when she climbed in herself and promptly lay down for a snooze.
It took about an hour while I figured out what exactly I was supposed to do with this new addition. She was filthy and her belly was so distended I figured she was probably pregnant. My vet was over an hour away and would be closing at 5. Even if I could make it there on time there’s no guarantee they’d see her that night and someone must be looking for her. So I called my boss. “Who local can be helpful?” “Dr. A. Tell them you work for us. They’ll scan her for you. He’s a poodle guy.” Meanwhile Road Poodle had woken up enough to wonder where the hell she was and what the hell had happened.
It was a quick trip to Dr. A’s. We were there less than five minutes before he came out, scanners in hand and the techs checker her all over for some sign that at one point someone wanted to to know where she was. They checked her for tattoos under her laeyers of filth and commented that while distended they didn’t feel puppies in there. It was probably gas and an extremely heavy worm-load.
“What are you going to do with her?”
“Call poodle rescue and probably put up some flyers.”
“Don’t try too hard to find the owners. They don’t deserve her. Call me before you take her to animal control“
I took her to work with me that evening. She needed a bath, I didn’t feel like doing it entirely by myself and having someone else dry her while I made phone calls was appealing. So I bathed her and left others to dry her while I looked up and called every reasonably close (4 hours) Poodle rescue and left messages about a found female poodle who was as it turns out a very clear white and with a shaved face because you can’t have a fuzzy faced poodle. It’s like the law.
I called Dr. A’s and made an appointment to get her vetted and drew up some generic “Found Poodle. If missing call to describe” posters I would later half-heartedly distribute around to vets, pet stores and eventually the pound.” In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised. She was dumped likely out of a vehicle at a stop sign and left to die on the side of a major state-crossing road. The only calls I recieved the next day, aside from Dr. A’s confirming my appointment were from the breed rescues offering assistance and informing me that there were no Standard Poodles reported missing at all who might fit that description as well as a lovely lady who I had a nice chat with and she called me “dear”. I forget her name and the content of the conversation but had I chosen to give her to a rescue, I would have picked that one. It actually felt like someone other than me in real life gave a damn about her.
My other dogs meanwhile had decided the RP was good peeps. I forgot to latch the crate that morning after taking her out for her morning constitutional and came in to find Z had opened it (It was her crate afterall) and she was actually grooming this other bitch who had wandered into her house, taken her crate and even had the gall to eat from her dish. It’s still amazing to me that my crazy bitch of a dog knew more about compassion than everyone else on that highway that afternoon. I’m still humbled by it and I love her for it more now than I did then.
Off to the vet we scurried and a moderately cleaner and semi-groomed RP got signed in for her first official vet visit in who knows how long.
“Beatrice. Bea. She feels like a Bea.”
As expected she had every worm under the sun including a hefty load of heartworms. FastKill had just about disappeared off the market at this point and frankly Bea was too fragile for it currently anyway. We had to get her worms in check first, get some weight on her and then we’d reconsider our options. Fine. So off home we went with enough poison to take down any helminths in our path and a script for Doxy, because it’s a good idea in combo with FastKill. Alright fine.
Things were okay for a bit. Nothing major happened. Bea stayed home, was a happy dog for a bit and with her first toy acquisition it seems I’d made Bea’s life.
…and Part II will be up tomorrow. 🙂