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Caring for animals makes us all better


The woman who was walking up the driveway in the driving, pouring, torrential rain had more of a “Drowned rat” look than the small dog huddled in her arms. And it did look like a drowned white (sort of) rat. It was a bizarre enough scene in itself, but the teenage boy who was walking beside them, holding an umbrella over the woman’s head pushed things quite a way toward surreal. All three of them were far past being kept dry by an umbrella.

The dog did not seem to be in any distress, despite being covered in mud from toes to belly with water dripping from every strand of hair. The woman looked pretty much the same thanks to the weather and holding the dog protectively in her arms. However her disposition was not nearly as composed as the dog’s.

“I was going to the store to get my husband’s anniversary present. It was just standing in the middle of the street! I had to stop! It wouldn’t get in the car and it jumped and started shaking when that thunder boomed so loud! I saw you here in the garage. I didn’t know what to do.”

Since they were still standing out in the rain, I suggested that stepping inside might be a good start. The boy did not come in. “I’m visiting my grandmother up the street. The lady looked like she needed some help.” As the young man turned to go the other two humans present thanked him and the dog gave a little tail wiggle.

After the dog and his (yes, it was a “He”) rescuer had a chance to get dried off we checked for I.D. The blue bandana and nice collar around its neck and healthy-looking body showed that the dog had been cared for by someone, but there were no I.D., vaccination or City license tags at all.
Before taking the dog to a vet. to check for a microchip or calling Animal Services, the woman and I decided to phone some people nearby to try and get a line on the dog’s owners. That worked.

It turned out that Toby spent his time being spoiled at a house at the end of my street. The owners were out of town and an in-law was supposed to be caring for the dog. She quickly came and rescued Toby so that he could get a warm bath and recover from his adventure in familiar comfort. I did get a small, gentle and very quick lick on the cheek from Toby’s finger nail-sized tongue before he left.

The young man with the umbrella did not get that much. I hope that he feels better about himself for offering, with humor, grace and dignity, a helping hand that he did not have to extend. The woman had interrupted an important errand, left the dry safety of her car and worked with strangers to save a small dog she did not know.

Things could have turned out badly for the woman and the young man, but they did not think about that at the start. Something, a small, weak, frightened creature needed their care and concern. They gave it without hesitation.

We all live in a better world because of people like them.

For more info: Finding lost pets and keeping the one you have