We called him Buddy, for lack of a better name. He arrived on our doorstep on a cold April night and–well–he stayed the night.
Buddy is a dog of some mixed breeding. Very large, short reddish hair, with big brown “doncha just love me” eyes. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
A new friend had visited us and stayed to chat for the evening. As we stood at the front door saying good-bye, “Buddy” ran up the steps onto our porch and right into the house. He saw the open door as an open invitation apparently, and in he came. We all looked at each other as if to ask, “Do you know who this dog is?” We didn’t.
But he was already inside, had found a place on the floor to plop himself, and appeared to be here to stay. He was cold and simply wanted to warm up, we surmised. Perhaps he had wandered too far from home and couldn’t make his way back in the dark. So we gave him water and put out some of our Shih Tzu’s food–he managed to eat more in those couple minutes than Snickers does in a week. Then Buddy returned to the living room to lie down beside Tom on the floor, put his head in the crook of Tom’s arm, and make himself totally at home.
We fell in love.
Snickers fell into confusion.
In any case, we put a blanket beside our bed and Buddy slept there all night. At one point, both dogs needed to go out. Tom got up and let them outside. Buddy disappeared. We assumed that he had warmed up enough to now head home. But only moments after Tom and Snickers were back in bed, we heard a deep “woof” from the porch. “Hey! Let me in!” and Buddy settled back into his makeshift bed.
The next day, we figured he would find his way back home, but instead he hung around. He slept at my feet as I worked in my office. He followed Tom around the barn. He and Snickers laid on the warm sidewalk almost side by side.
We thought about calling the police–that’s what we would do with lost-and-found dogs in the city where we’d lived. But do people in the country report lost or found dogs? Dogs wander all over the place. Sometimes dogs get dropped off on purpose because the owners don’t want them–at least that’s what we’ve heard. Is that what had happened to Buddy? Is that why he couldn’t find his way home? We knew Buddy was not abused–he looked clean and well fed. He had a chain collar, but no tags. Did his owners not want him? It broke my heart, however, to think about a little boy crying all night because his dog had disappeared and not returned. What should we do? If no one wanted him, we’d keep him–we decided that much. But we wanted to get him back to his owners if we could locate them and determine if they wanted him.
Our neighbor walked by and I asked her if she recognized him. She’d seen him out and about before, and thought he lived across the river in the little town about a half mile from us. Maybe I could take his picture, make a poster, and say, “Lost Dog. If you don’t want him we’ll keep him. But call this phone number and tell us his name . . .”
Then, that evening, Buddy left for good. Tom has seen him a couple of times–sure enough, wandering in the town across the river. Buddy has a new collar, with tags.
Thanks for visiting Buddy. We’re glad we could warm you up on a cold night. If you ever get lost again, we’ll leave the light on for ya!