My Dog Day Afternoon Adventure

Florence for a Nightengale

There are two types of people in the world: Those who will do anything to help an animal in distress, and those who won’t.

My career as an animal rescuer started when I found a baby bird who’d fallen out of its nest. Since this was decades before the internet, I had no idea how to care for a wild bird. I did, however, have an overwhelming maternal instinct to save it.

I have a vague recollection of mixing up some baby food (probably Gerber rice cereal, which was a personal fave long after we had any infants in the house). I emptied an old shoe box and gently put the bird in, along with the dish of cereal.

You can see where this is going, can’t you? Yep. By the time I woke up the next morning, eager to take my new little pet to school for show-and-tell, he’d suffered an unspeakable fate. I found him encrusted with cereal, beak-first in the bowl.

Now you might think that after so inauspicious a beginning I would recognize my limitations. Instead, I grew up and married an even bigger animal lover

One fine Sunday morning Hubby and I were coming back from a weekend in picturesque Nevada City, California. On our way out of town we stopped to gas up. The gas station was at the intersection of two city streets and not one, but two busy highways.

As Hubby tended to the nozzle, he looked up to see a spirited Jack Russell Terrier trotting toward him. Now, I’ve never met an animal that didn’t take to Hubby immediately. This one took it a paw further. As Hubby greeted him with, “Hi there, Buddy, where’d you come from?” the dog put his front paws up on Hubby’s leg and jumped right into his arms.

Hubby called to me, “I think this dog’s lost. We can’t just leave him here.” He got no argument from me. I’m a sucker for terriers. No argument from him, either. The little guy hopped in the car as if he’d been waiting for the MM and Hubby taxi service. Unfortunately, being a dog, he couldn’t tell us where he wanted to go.

 

This calm dog is nothing like the frenetic but utterly adorable Scooter.
This calm dog is nothing like the frenetic but utterly adorable Scooter.
He liked to ride on top.
He liked to ride on top.

We spent the next hour canvassing the neighborhood, asking everyone we saw if they recognized the dog. Like detectives following a series of blind leads, we talked to people who pointed us toward other people who ended up knowing nothing .

Meanwhile, this sparky little canine was rapidly working his way into our affections. As we drove, he stood on my thighs with his front paws on the dashboard or passenger window. He sure did make a streaky mess! And every once in awhile he let out an adorable doggy yawn.

I should mention that before we set off on this wild owner chase we did check his collar for an ID tag. No such luck.

But he was wearing a collar – a Harley Davidson black leather collar. This prompted us to name him “Scooter.”

Little Scooter seemed to like his name. He seemed to like his new friends. He was perfectly content riding around in the car with us. But being pet owners ourselves, we knew that somewhere a Harley lover was missing his (or her) dog, probably worried as hell.

Our next idea was to take Scooter to the local animal shelter. We were able to find it, but guess what? It was Sunday and the shelter was closed. We asked a passerby if they had any suggestions. They pointed us toward an SPCA facility in town. The good news, it was open. The bad news, it’s a thrift shop only, no animal rescue services. Back to square one.

No one yawns like a Scooter dog!

No Harley doggie ID tags, alas.
No Harley doggie ID tags, alas.

We noticed that Scooter did have one tag on his collar. It stated he’d been vaccinated against rabies. “Eureka!” we thought. Maybe we can find the vet who administered the vaccine.

This being a small town, there was only one local vet. Closed for the weekend. But they did leave an emergency/after hours forwarding number.

The weekend vet was about 20 miles away and on our way home. But it could have been 20 miles in the opposite direction and we still would have taken Scooter there. We’d already invested an afternoon in our little lost pal. We'd come too far to give up now.

Yeah. Thanks for nothing.
Yeah. Thanks for nothing.

It was really, really hard to say good-bye. A bond had already formed – on both sides. After we left, I not-so-secretly hoped we’d get a call saying they’d been unable to find Scooter’s parents and he was ours to claim.

Instead, days went by and we heard nothing. Finally I called the vet. They had been able to track Scooter’s owners through his vet and they’d picked him up on Monday.

We never heard a word from the parents. Not a phone call. Not a card. Nada.

For a long time we were miffed. We couldn’t imagine why Scooter’s owners weren't all over themselves to thank us.

In hindsight, I can see things from their perspective. They might not have known Scooter was out or wandering near the freeway. They would never know the effort we put into finding them. The only thing they saw was that some animal loving nut jobs had taken their dog to a vet 20 miles away and they had to go and retrieve him—more than likely paying boarding fees, and who knows what else.

Well, Mr. or Mrs. Scooter Owner, let me tell you one thing. You’ve got one helluva great dog there. In future, you should be more careful and keep him leashed. Or next time he won’t be so lucky. He WILL get lost or run over. Or scooped up by some other dog lovers who won’t think twice about you and will claim him themselves.

And Scooter, if at any point your owners give you any trouble, or you just want to go for another ride – you know where to find us!

Tell me you could resist this face!
Tell me you could resist this face!

Check out this great new show on NatGeo!

What would you have done?

In the same situation, what would you have done?

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Comments 40 comments

wsp2469 profile image

wsp2469 7 years ago from Alta Loma, Ca

You know what, don't sweat it. They SHOULD have known their dog was missing!

It's okay. Ya done a good thing.

(Don't feel bad about it either. I saved a drowning dog once--gave him mouth to mouth--and although the owner seemed very thankful and heaped verbal praise upon me she went and gave the dog to a rescue not too long after that so she could move into a place that didn't take pets. She didn't even offer the dog to us.

yeah; that's the kind of stupid b*tch my ex-wife has for friends. But, I digress . . .

My point is you should just keep on being a good samaritan, okay? Ya done a good thing!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Great story and we would have done exactly the same thing. We have rescued many a dog in our day. And some have stayed with us because we couldn't find the owners and made our home theirs as well. From one animal lover to another......thumbs up or should I say paws up on this hub!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

wsp -- that just sucks. the woman sounds like a ditz. Good for you for the mouth-to-mouth. you are revealing your human side more and more. careful, now:-). Seriously, that's a cool story.

peggy -- we animal lovers gotta stick together. i'm not a fanatic,but if an animal needs help or a home, someone's gotta be there, right?

thanks for visiting.


kartika damon profile image

kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

Mighty Mom, you make me feel encouraged that there are people out there willing to go the extra 20 miles to get a lost pet closer to home! Loved the story - made me smile and that's a good thing! Kartika


Hendrika profile image

Hendrika 7 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

You are making me feel so good that there are people that care so much about an animal AND the owners. Most people would just have left the dog or they would have just taken him for themselves.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Kartika and Hendrika, the incident still makes us smile. We enjoyed every minute with our little Scooter!

I hate to think other people wouldn't help an animal!!!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Great story, MM. I would have done the same thing. I have a really soft spot for dogs. My sister's Pekingese once ran away and so for the next 2 weeks, she was in pieces. One day, a she got a knock on the door and it was a neighbor about 4 blocks away with Molly, her Pekingese. The person admitted that she knew that Molly belonged to my sister and her husband due to the tag, but her children had grown close to her and so wanted to keep her. However, guilt took over and brought Molly back. The lady was practically in tears with her apology. Just thought I share that.

I hope that you found another Scooter in your life! Thanks for a heartfelt hub.


Sarra Garrett 7 years ago

Great story MM. I don't know if I would have taken Scooter to the vet. His owners had to have known he was missing, besides, if you really love your pet you'll have a name take with a phone number on it just in case. My Jack Russell - Daizie was lost for 7 days in Arizona. I just knew she was a meal for a coyote, I cried and was so heartsick. I got a phone call on the 7th day she disappeared from a woman who had picked her up. I was so thankful I tried to give the woman some money but she wouldn't take it. It's nice to know there are some nice people still left in this world. Keep up the good work.


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Love your story. Jack Russells are just so darn cute. It must have been really hard to let him go.


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

MM nice little piece of Readers Digest type of stuff here ! One would think that the owners of Scooter would have the common courtesy to at least call and say thank you .

The animal shelter is right by my house and i see people walikng the dogs all the time . I stop to play around with those dogs all the time .I can,t go into the shelter though otherwise i will end up btinging all of them home . And i will grow broke feeding them . Anyway Scooter was just a cutie ! Thx for a pleasant read .


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

I would have done the same thing. In fact, I have on many occasions. When I ran my boarding kennel, there were at least a dozen instances of people checking in their pets, leaving a fake name, address, etc and never coming back. That left it up to me to find a new home for them. So don't worry about those selfish, ungrateful owners -- there's no end to ignorant people in the world.


ehern33 profile image

ehern33 7 years ago

MM, you did the right thing. I would have too, but my daughter would have brought him home. LOL. We got a mix Labrador and Australian cattle dog that the shelter found in a home garage. She had burn marks, and had been abused. She was only a pupply at that time. She couldn't get near a human being. We saw her and heard what had happened and we decided to take her in. It was tough at first but with love she came around and probably is the most loving dog we have had. She is now 2 1/2 yrs old. She has made a 180 degree turn, smart, affectionate and follows direction. She never barked before until about 4 months ago. She now has become very protective (by way of bark only) and loves my 5 yr old grandaughter to death. She pretty much trained herself to go outside for her needs. Very little sign of her being afraid and submissive, only with sudden loud noises. We took her back to the shelter to show her off.. We are proud owners (or should I say she owns us). LOL


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello dog-loving hubber friends! I'm delighted to see that so many of you agree with our actions. Seems like this story is not that unusual. I always love hearing happy ending pet stories -- and am happy to provide a place for that!

Pet owners who drop their pets off to board and never return? I would NOT believe this to be possible. How awful.

MM


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 7 years ago from Sunny Spain

Our family are suckers when it comes to dogs, all our dogs have been rescue dogs and we have had many strays which we have looked after until they have been re-homed. Needless to say we would have done the same as you. Our last stray is the subject of one of my hubs he is a Belgium Shepherd we called him Paddy he ia a lovely dog.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Maggs. Always great to see you! I will have to check out your hub about Paddy. What a great name!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

If ever our dogs get lost - God forbid - I do hope they meet up with someone like you! I just can't understand how someone couldn't be eternally grateful for what you did - guess it takes all kinds. Personally I don't think people like that deserve to own dogs - most definitely not one as adorable as this one!


Larael profile image

Larael 7 years ago

I LOVE doggies. As I type, right now, my beautiful German Sheppard is barking about some weird sounding cat or raccoon or something on the other side of the pond. I wuv my puppy. Huuzzzah for all the animal lovers out there!


Outspoken writer profile image

Outspoken writer 7 years ago from BEAUMONT, TX

I enjoyed that mighty mom. I enjoy all your stuff.


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

I would have done the same thing in your situation. Dogs are man's best friends and they have a funny way of working their way into our hearts rather quickly. The jack russell terrier is a smart dog. I enjoyed reading this story, thanks for sharing.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello dear Shalini! Good to see you!!! I wonder if maybe we're better off -- maybe Scooter's parents are Hells Angels or real hard core Harley riders:-)

Larael--Huuzzzahh indeed. My Hubby and son would like to get a German Shepherd. Actually, my son wants a Huskie.

Outspoken writer-- you are too kind. Thanks.

WC-- Jack Russells are amazing. Hyper, tho. All terriers are high energy. We sure did take to little Scooter tho!

Thanks for visiting.


ianbrad55 profile image

ianbrad55 7 years ago

what an adorable dog and a great story, I wish you had at least got a card from the owners saying thanks


Cindy Letchworth profile image

Cindy Letchworth 7 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

Heart warming story. Too bad more people don't do what you did. Nice to know that kind people still exist. And the dog photos......adorable!!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi iandbrad55.I've come to terms with not hearing anything from the owners.If they had been upset or angry,I would NOT want to hear that!

Cindy--It really was a heart-warming experience and I was happy to share it with Hubby. One to tell our grandkids (if we ever have any). The dog photos are not Scooter -- but man, those JRTs are pretty irresistible!!!


Rader Poetry profile image

Rader Poetry 7 years ago

I loved your story and I had mixed emotions as I know you had as well. Part of me would have wanted to keep this adorable little dog, but the other half would wonder how much his owners were missing him. Just seeing his pictures makes me want to adopt him right now.I am a sucker for those big eyes and sweet face, I have already fallen in love with him. You did the right thing though.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi RP.I would never be comfortable taking Scooter away from his home city. He'd probably end up trying to find his way back anyway. No,it was a nice little afternoon together and a great story to share.

Thanks for your vote of support. MM


jim 7 years ago

Your words are so good.My pleasure to introduce uggs to you.


Vizey profile image

Vizey 7 years ago

cool story:) two types of people .. very true..


megelah profile image

megelah 7 years ago

i love dog's.........................


Jaspal profile image

Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

Great uplifting story! I've been through some fairly similar experiences ... even the childhood one with an injured bird - it was a parrot in my case. But he went the same way as your bird did ... and the next morning, good old grand dad stood in for the padre and said the prayers while I buried my patient in a corner of our garden. Lol ...

For dogs, of course, there is a very special corner in my heart. It's a pity, but some rather foolish politicians and their lopsided policies have made Indian cities home to thousands, maybe millions of stray dogs. And this is despite the fact that many rescues and shelters have been opened by some non governmental organizations.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Jaspal, we are kindred animal-loving spirits I see and that is cool. I will put the stray dogs on my prayer list.

Peace! MM


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

There's a time to rescue, to foster, and to adopt. You did such the right thing. You rescued and took good care until the parents showed up.

One has to wonder about the lack of communication on the part of the owners. But then, there are some things we will never know...Perhaps Mr. Scooter's father passed away or Mrs. Scooter lost her job, rendering each of them incapable of a simple thank-you.

The important thing is that you cared and found a way to do the right thing.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hi Sally's Trove. Ecclesiastes for pets -- I love it!

Thanks for helping put it in perspective. I found the lack of response odd, but you're right. There are probably extenuating circumstances. Anyone who owns a dog as cool as Scooter has got to be cool, right?


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

You and your man are the coolest ever! And this story warms the heart in an Old Yeller kind of way. Thanks for sharing MM. :D

And about Scooter's owners, well I don't know what to say really except that they're lucky to have that dog and that there are people like you who care.


poetlorraine 7 years ago

kind and compassionate thanks for sharing the story


karirosepink profile image

karirosepink 6 years ago from Oregon

Great story! There should be more people like you and your husband in the world! I am a true animal lover and am a firm believer that if a strange dog immediately likes you, then you are good people! Dogs have a great sense of character, so it's a huge compliment to me when a dog warms up to me.

I have lost a cat before, and it's nice to know there are people out there willing to go to the extremes that you went to to make sure an animal finds it's home and owners. There is no worse feeling than not knowing where your pet (child) is! A pat on the back to you!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Animals know who's on their side,that's for sure! Nice to see you Ms. karirosepink! MM


CARIBQUEEN profile image

CARIBQUEEN 5 years ago

I see why you carry the name mighty mom. That is what you call human kindness. Kindness not only to human beings in distress but to all animals and creatures. Good Job!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hey thanks, Caribqueen (cool name, btw). Since you are reading this I have a sneaking suspicion you would have done the same! Little Scooter -- we still think about him :-).

Thanks for commenting. MM


JoshuaThePost profile image

JoshuaThePost 4 years ago from Palace of the Brine

Great story and I must say you did the right thing, however frustrating. A coworker of mine and I had a similar situation where a li'l dude wandered into our office. 2 hours later we tracked down the owners, we took the little guy over to their hous even. They were so ungrateful and cold. My first instinct was to reneg on bringing him back, burn down the house and take him the 50 miles back home with me. But, level heads prevailed and we went back to work. No good deed goes unpunished I guess :)


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA Author

Hello JoshuanThePost,

It's always a pleasure to meet like-minded animal lovers and kindness doers! I wouldn't change a single thing we did for little Scooter. Not one thing. It's a day I will remember for the rest of my life. I'm sure you feel the same way. It's all about the animal, not the stupid owners.

Still, I must agree with you. "No good deed goes unpunished" has been our mantra for a long time. Karma will take care of the ungrateful ones eventually.

Thanks for reading and commenting. MM

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