Monday, September 04, 2006

Rescue Me

No one likes to water the yard. It's relaxing for the first few times you do it, then it's absolutely boring. Since the Pond is under water restrictions, I have to hand water the yard. So I take a book, and stand and read while I water the yard. The yard is quite splotchy as a result. Some patches are quite green, some are dead. However, I consider a splotchy yard a low price to pay for escaping my boredom. I don't think my husband is as quite thrilled with the arrangement as I am.

Friday, I stood reading while I watered our half dead trees. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched a dog approach me. Dogs run loose in our neighborhood all the time, so I wasn't very concerned. Usually they run across the street and glare at me from afar. However, this one bounded right up to me. He causally sauntered over to my hose and began to drink sloppily out of it. Wary, I stepped back a few steps and watched him. He took that as an invitation to roll on the dewey wet grass and continue drinking out of the hose. I was fascinated. The dog was a German Shepard, and barely above a puppy. He was almost full sized, but not quite. He yawned noisily, showing me black spots on his pink tounge.

The squealing tires of a schoolbus caused his ears to perk up. He was off like a shot, trotting to visit the small girl about to get on the bus. She was dressed in brand new school clothes, and her father drew her behind him when the dog ran up just as the bus pulled to the curb. She shrieked in fear and disgust and he picked her up and placed her on the bus, kicking the dog away with his leg.

Unfazed, the dog trotted back to me as I finished watering the yard. He followed me into the backyard as I hung up the hose and plopped on the back porch. I found him waiting by the screen door. He looked inside expectantly and looked up at me. "Come on," his friendly eyes said. "Let me in."

"No way, buddy," I said. "You're a wet, stinky dog."

Being a dog fanatic and bleeding heart, I couldn't kick him out. He looked hungry and lonely. He had been well trained- he could sit, play fetch and lay down. His fur was still marked with the imprint of his collar, which meant he hadn't been free very long. I had no idea what to do with him. I had to go to the gym and pack us up for an out of town wedding. I couldn't leave him in the backyard all weekend, but I couldn't just let him run on the streets.

So, I did what any sane rational adult would do. I fed him a muffin and some string cheese and placed a tupperware bowel full of water on the patio. With that, I was off to the gym.

Pounding on the treadmill, I felt a bit worried. After all, what if he dug up my garden or ate through the fence? I knew Ben would be furious if a dog, a rescue dog to boot, tore up his yard. I drove home quickly, worried about what I would find.

What I found was a faithful puppy waiting at the back door. When I walked into the kitchen, he sprang up and whimpered.

"Hello!" he barked happily. "I knew you'd come back. Can I come inside now? I'm nice and dry. I promise I'll be good."

I looked into his big eyes and felt terrible. There was no way he could come in. He was dirty and full of all kinds of fleas. I had to pack and couldn't worry about watching a dog. But what was I going to do with him?

I played fetch with him and sat on the porch, talking to my mother-in-law as he jumped into my lap for attention.

"He's just a baby," I said. "I feel terrible about turning him lose. He just wants to be rescued."

In the end, he made the decision for me. After a can of old tuna and some water, he ran out of the fence when I was collecting the trash can. He was down the street in a flash. The school bus had stopped to drop off the neighborhood children. They screamed when they saw him and walked to their homes. One boy kicked him. "Git, git!" he yelled. Wounded and confused, the dog ran down the street and turned the corner.

I watched him go, feeling terrible. If only I could have helped him, kept him and helped him find his owners. I could just picture some sad eyed little girl staring at where her dog had been. His eyes haunted my memory, full of happiness and love.

"Rescue me," they seemed to say. "I just want to be loved."

In the end, it was someone else that did the rescuing. When checking the mail, a torn handwritten sign was taped to the side.

"Found: German Shepard puppy, 8-12 months. Brown and black, black spots on tongue. Call 345-9876."

Reading the sign, I smiled and turned to walk back home. When I reached the backyard, I looked at the porch where his muddy foot prints still remained.

If I were romantic, I would say they were steps to his rescue and safety. I don't think that's the case. He wanted to be rescued, and he was. And for that, I'm glad.