A little dog wandered into the perfume shop where I work with a wily determination. She walked directly behind the counter and started sniffing at my shoes. I guessed that the dog was merely announcing her master's arrival and that someone would follow in through the door in the next few seconds; perhaps a young woman waving her fingertips, drying off a manicure. No one came though. I scooped up the dog who was surprisingly trusting and happy to be held. I went to the neighboring shops to ask if she belonged to anyone. Most people seemed concerned and wanted a detailed account of how a strange little white dog happened to be in my temporary possession but no one claimed ownership. A couple of hours passed and after posting a Found Dog ad on craigslist and taping a few notices on lampposts with my phone number, decided to take her home. There really was no other option.
Rosie the pug was slightly intrigued by the new house guest but hardly seemed put out in any way. Rob was equally intrigued (even a little thrilled I suspect). The new girl jumped up on the sofa and stretched out by Rob. I didn't allow her to sit on me as this would rile Rosie's jealousy. At one point I received a call from a guy who lost a dog and saw my ad on craigslist. I asked him to email me a picture. He did and it was not the same dog. I felt sad for him. More sad for him than for the dog's actual owners since they didn't seem to be taking great efforts to find their well-behaved, charming pet. I imagined my reaction if Rosie ran away. I pictured myself pounding on doors, mumbling countless pleas through heavy sobs. There would be search parties driving slowly through neighborhoods as flashlights poked through car windows, illuminating sidewalks and trees.
We brought the new dog to the vet the next morning. Rob thought he felt a microchip in her neck and proved to be correct in his assessment. Despite a scan we were unable to gather any more information about the dog's owners since she was either not registered or the registration had lapsed. I posted signs with the dog's picture in the neighborhood of the shop. I took off her pink studded collar before taking her photo thinking that I would cleverly ask any callers to describe the dog and collar in detail (key word, pink). Many of my Facebook friends responded to my open question of "What do you do with a found dog?" Overwhelmingly the advice was to keep her. One friend alerted me to a group in Echo Park / Silverlake that helps to find foster and adoptive masters of runaway and abandoned pets. I had a multi-pronged plan in action and felt that if nothing worked, perhaps Rob and I would secretly have to keep her despite our lease only allowing one dog. As she settled into our apartment and brought out the playful, fun side of Rosie I suspect we both hoped that we could keep her. Although we never said so.
On the dog's second night with us I started thinking of possible names as I drove home from work. No one could predict how long we'd have her and we couldn't very well refer to her as 'the new dog' forever. Maybe she liked the smell of perfume which is why the little runaway selected my shop as her destination. Maybe she enjoyed sniffing flowers. I thought Poppy would be a suitable name. As we watched TV that night, a pack of hounds settled on the settee, Rob suggested we come up with a name for 'the new dog'. "What about Cookie?" I liked it a lot but responded with an I-don't-know expression on my face. Quickly he added "What about Poppy?" I burst out with "I thought of Poppy too!"
Shortly before tucking Rosie and Poppy into their beds and retiring myself I received a call from a woman who lost a dog. "I lost a dog and you found one. I think it's mine." She sounded as though to be describing a yoga mat. I asked if her dog was wearing a collar. "Yes, it's pink with studs." (Damn). I asked her to email a photograph. She did. It was Poppy. I asked the woman on the phone what the dog's name was. She said Bobby. (!!!)
The next morning, Sunday, I brought Bobby to the perfume shop with me. Eventually a man appeared identifying himself as the boyfriend of the woman who called the night before. She had a dental appointment which is why she couldn't come to collect Bobby herself. I wondered what dentist made appointments on Sunday mornings. Bobby looked up at the man and didn't wag her tail or approach him. I told him how wonderful it was to look after Bobby. I gushed. I asked that they call me if they ever needed a dogsitter. He chuckled as though I were joking.
He admitted that Bobby had run away in the past. More than once. I suggested that they attach a name tag with phone number to her pink studded collar. He said that they were 'just about to'. He pointed out that she was microchipped. I notified him that the microchip was not registered. I suggested they check craigslist if this ever happened again. He said that they were 'actually just about to'. Their neighbor spotted one of my signs and recognized the dog in the picture -this is how their tear-free reunion came to be. Although not wearing a large coat or holding a bag of any sort, the man somehow produced a large bottle of Bailey's from his person and handed it to me. "For your trouble" he announced. He scooped Bobby up and they left.