Monday, May 04, 2009

I thought it only happened in movies

About a year ago a colleague where I worked gave me two black 6-week old puppies as a present.

I'm not really a pet person ( never owned a dog or cat until then) and never played with other people's pets either. But we thought having a couple of dogs would be a good security measure.

Less than 3 months later, Bob and Dylan were stolen (ja, the irony doesn't escape me that my potential guard dogs were stolen ). We looked everywhere in my suburb, without any luck.

They had collars with my phone number, so if they wandered outside my yard by accident the person who found them should have been able find me.

To make amends the person who opened my gate and led to the dogs going outside gave me my two current puppies, Edward and Hayley. And we thought life had moved on.

Until yesterday.

Baby and I were going to see the Hannah Montana movie, and she stepped outside while I made sure everything was locked and tight. Anyway, a few minutes later, she walked back into the house, rinsed her face with cold water (to wake herself up and make sure was not dreaming, she later explained), then peeked through the door again.

"Damaria, I think Dylan is sitting outside," she said. "And he's with a big brown dog I don't know."

Puzzled, I went outside, and found the two dogs sitting under my veranda table. It was hard to tell if the back dog was Dylan, but it really looked like him. And he looked up when I called his name.

We were running late for the movie, and I didn't want to tell Baby we had to cancel. On the other hand, how was I going to deal with the dogs?

So I called the friend who gave me Edward and Hayley and explained the situation; asked him to come over and feed the two dogs and make sure they don't leave until I came back. He called back 15 minutes later to say he couldn't find the dogs in the veranda, but would look all over the yard.

Unravelling the mystery

Turned out that they hid behind the garden cottage when I left. So I spent the afternoon worried about where they'd gone to, and even more importantly, trying to understand how Dylan found me in the first place.

He's no more than 12-months old now (more or less), so he was tiny when he got lost. Do dogs remember that far back?

And if Dylan was well-cared for by his new owners, why come looking for me? How far did he travel to come to find me, and for that matter, how did he know where to find me?

I thought animals that travel distances to look for their former owners happened only in the movies?

The other thing that doesn't add up is that my house has changed since Bob and Dylan lived with us. I've built a high perimeter wall, repainted the house. Inside the yard, there are many more changes.

Did the two dogs really jump over a gate to enter a stranger's yard? Also, the fact that he brought a friend along to look for me with him makes even less sense.

Creepy theories

The more disturbing aspect of the whole deal is that both dogs look very tall but skinny. And they are terrified of humans. Dylan looks at me when I call his name, but he shakes the whole time. And when I get too close, they both run off.

And big as they are, they climb all over each other, squeeze into a corner when I approach. They don't bark though. And when I gave them food, they wouldn't eat until I was long gone, even though they were clearly very hungry.

Eleven year old Baby argues, quite intelligently of course, that I can't keep the new arrivals.

"We can't have four dogs! You're going to be like those crazy old women who have hundreds of cats and just keep getting more if you're not careful," she says. "You'll be the dog lady and every stray in the neighbourhood will know if they come here, you'll keep them."

A friend of mine lives in a smaller yard than mine in the neighbourhood, and she has 4 dogs, so space should be manageable.


But Baby is right; can we actually keep four dogs?

A second, creepy theory I did not share with Baby was that the dogs did not travel across town from where ever they came from to find us: the people who stole Dylan gave them up and dropped them off here at my house.

Maybe they couldn't take care of them anymore. Makes me feel weird to think people I don't know have been watching me, and decided I'd be the person to take care of "their" dogs.

And the $64 000 question: Where is Bob?

Decisions, decisions

So now I have decisions to make: what to do with the new dogs? Do I keep them and hope that Baby will get used to them? Do I take them to the SPCA, where they are unlikely to be adopted considering their size and the bad economy?

Do I give them to my mother, whose dog is old (11 years old) and has ample space for them to run and play? Do I look for their old owners?


Anonymous said...

Hi, Damaria dogs are amazing, ive know cats come home but never heard it of dogs. I would keep one and give one to your mum, these days we can never have enough dogs. Keep feeding them and trying to win their affection, they will come around in the end. Sounds like someone has harmed these dogs and made them very frightened of adults, regards Ali, AMF Typing Services cc.

Trish D said...

I agree with Ali, that you should keep the dogs, either yourself or your mother, I'm not sure that I'd split them up though as they came together and from what you say seem happy and secure together. It does sound as if they've had a rough time for the last year, but a lot of love and TLC will win them round again.

Cassie said...

Hi Sam

You are one lucky girl :) Trust me - if the dogs did not feel safe at your place they would not have stayed no matter how they got there.

As for Dylan being small when he disappeared - dogs have an amazing sense of smell and even though you have made lots of changes around your house, he will still remember those first scents no matter how old he is now.

I would definitely not separate them if I were you because they seem to comfort one another and if they get separated they might just never get over it. I don't know what happened to them to make them so nervous but it seems like someone abused them and to separate them now would be really cruel.

If you have ample space I don't see that it is a problem having 4 dogs. I have 4 cats and 3 dogs and they all live happily together.

Those dogs just need a lot of TLC and I can guarantee you you will get to love them as much as you love your current two eventually!

Just my humble opinion. Just as with sugar - you can never have too much love and that is what you get from dogs - always.


Gaynor said...

Wow Damaria some story! I'd consider the option of giving them to your mom. How are they around Baby? My mom rescued a dog from the SPCA and it's fine with adults but hates kids :( I think some kids must have been horrible to it. There is no way the bigger dog could be Bob? (LOVE those names btw!)

Anonymous said...

Gosh you are turning into dr Doolittle!! Hee-heeeeeeeee. Wonder where the other one is but they seem to know your yard very well, especially Dylan the other one must have lived with Dylan and as you say perhaps folks just dumped them. Bit of a serious decision to take hey…… Ones heart goes out to animals these days, the economy is not conducive for animals and I remember when I lived in Oz this happened once and folks were just throwing their dogs out of their cars and the poor SPCA was up in arms and had to ‘kill off’ a number of animals. That is why I believe in spade so seriously, it somehow helps curb the culling….. Eish D, I am sure you will make the right decision. Take care. Lurv, Lynn.

Anonymous said...

Read your story: sounds like “Lassie come Home”. Tell Baby that I am that “old woman with four dogs”, and I would not trade them for all the money in the world. In the mornings when we open the back door and they come charging into the bedroom to greet us and we kill ourselves laughing and; when we take them to the park for walks, it is Gr8!!! But it does take a lot of feeding and grooming etc. They do sound petrified, wonder what happened to them. Your mum’s place sounds nice and big for them but I can imagine your dilemma that you are facing right now.

Ms Lona-Lee Hart said...

Hey, Damaria - when it comes to canines I believe anything and everything because they are so intelligent. I've got two little dogs and can hardly keep them fed. I think giving them to your mom is a good option, especially given Baby's aversion to big dogs. What an amazing story!

Anonymous said...

The story is amazing. It’s clear that they have been abused though –it will take lots of love and affection to win them over, I think. Taking them to your mom sounds good, but getting them in a car may be another thing altogether.

Damaria Senne said...

You're right. I wouldn't want to be trapped in a car with two large, panicked dogs. So if I take them to my mother, it's going to be waay down the line.

Corinna said...

How wonderful. As you say, even more fantastic that he brought a friend, feeling that you would take him in as well. I wonder if he was actually living in the neighbourhood since he was only a puppy when he went missing? You know the pound rounds them up periodically too and they end up out at one of the dog homes in the hope they will find a home.

I had a terrified four month old kitten turn up on my doorstep one day [he spent about four days inside my T-shirt up against my left boob as I worked at my desk], and we never found the owner despite putting up posters around the area, and eventually he came into my bedroom one day with a pale yellow budgie in his mouth, and came and dropped it at my feet, as if to say, here is another waif and stray to look after. Not a mark on the budgie either I might add. He made no attempt to do anything once he had put it at my feet either. The budgie is still alive, and her name is Dikbod [don't ask!] and she has a companion called Captain Beaky. Sadly, shortly after I flew overseas in 2004 Mitten disappeared and although my partner said he search all over for him and put up signs, he was never seen again. No body even. I suspect the vicious alsation over the back of my place, but prior to that the neighbour had lost about three cats, so who knows. It is the no knowing, and he was such a special young man too.

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