When last we talked, Bosco was doing some significant miles throughout his neighborhood, and also telling me that he wanted to be an only dog. However, he has developed (or made me aware of) an amazing talent.
Really. While on our walks, sometimes we find dogs who are out there on their own. And Bosco helps them get home.
It started out quite simply – somewhere on the row of houses whose back yards butt up to my backyard, there are two little dogs who like to hang out on their front porch. Their person constructed a barricade that looks like it’s from Les Mis across the porch gate, and keeps the front door open so they can go in our out as they please. Not saying I would ever do that, but it is better than chaining the dog on the porch and leaving them there. They’re funny little dogs – they will yell at everything that goes by, but the second you look at them or talk to them, the spunk disappears and they run back inside.
In short, I know these dogs, and I know exactly where they live. So one day, when we saw them loose, a block away from their porch, I knew something was wrong. And, like most little dogs, they won’t come to you if you call them, offer them snack bribes or anything. I was afraid they’d get skittish and run away from me and into the street.
But then Bosco gave off his vibe, and the little dogs came up to him. They stopped a little distance away, and just looked at him like “okay man, you’re in charge. What do we do?” So I walked Bosco, with two little dogs trailing, down the block, past the collapsed barricade and up to the porch. When the owner came to the door, she was horrified that they’d gone missing. Now the barricade is gone and the door stays closed.
It upsets me greatly to see so many dogs running loose, and owners and passersby who just don’t care. A few weeks ago there was a little Pomeranian on a very busy street corner. I knew I’d seen him before but couldn’t think where. He had tags, and I wanted to get the info. He wouldn’t let me near him, and I was scared he’d run into traffic. Two different dog walkers passed by. I asked each if they knew the dog. One ignored me and kept walking. The other said, and I quote, “obviously the owner doesn’t care about it,” and turned to go. And I said “but I do.” I could not believe she turned her back and left.
Bosco to the rescue again. He fascinated that little dog. He’d stand on his hind legs and look at Bosco’s face. Bosco just looked back. That boy needs to learn how to make small talk. We slowly walked away from traffic, to a quieter section of the sidewalk. Still trying to read the tags, I’d get close enough to read one number, then the dog would dart away. Bosco gave off his calm vibe and the dog came back. Repeat repeat repeat.
I texted my boss and said I’d be late for work. After 45 minutes and 3 of the 7 phone digits, the stupid owner realized her dog was gone and had just started looking for him. I gave her a very firm lecture on “no dog outside alone.” I don’t think it sunk in.
And just FYI to those who wouldn’t get involved …. If your dog ever gets loose, we will help find them. Even though you’re a cold-hearted yutz.
The best one was two weeks ago when we found two tiny tiny tiny chihuahuas running down the sidewalk. They stopped dead in their tracks when they saw Bosco. They might have been thinking “what’s blocking out the sun?” They were in awe of him. I had a hunch they came from the closest backyard, cuz their legs were so little. So again we had a doggy train, with Bosco in the lead. And we found the chihuahua person. Who commenced to jaw at me about making sure Bosco didn’t eat her dogs. While she was doing that, they escaped again. I gently reminded her that she should worry about her dogs and not mine.
We’ve had four successes and one miss. That miss still bothers me. Two blocks from my house, I heard a man yelling, and saw him and a woman slinking down the street, facing the sidewalk, and using the parked cars as a barrier. That struck me as odd. Before I could process what was happening, I saw this little red pit bull. She was 35 pounds at most – probably still a puppy. She was healthy and clean with big lively eyes, and her pink sparkly collar told me she was most likely well loved. She stood under a bush taking in her surroundings.
The man was still screaming, and I finally figured it out. He was chanting “Looooooose pit buuuuullllllllll” over and over. It was a not funny version of Monty Python’s “bring out your dead” routine. All he was doing was scaring the dog, and making other people jumpy. I wanted to chime in with my own warning – “Black man yelling” – because it was equally stereotypical, inflammatory and pointless. But for once I kept my mouth shut. He didn’t. And the dog turned and ran. Bosco and I looked in every cranny in a 5 block radius, but never found her. I pray she found her way home.
I spent a few days this week volunteering at BARC Shelter, who kept Bosco safe for so many years. Being surrounded by so many beautiful souls – who are all strays or throwaways – hammered in the importance of “home” for an animal. Home is where it’s safe. Home is where there’s love.
Bosco experienced that loss first hand. I can’t help but think he understands that a loose dog is someone who is perilously close to experiencing it too, and wants to prevent it.