July 20, 2006

Where we find out herky isn't actually herky

This began here, continued here and hopefully will end here.

Thursday night, after introducing Herky to the family we had made the choice to keep him. Really I think we decided that as soon as we found him, but we made at this point it was official. He slept -sorta- next to the bed on Ensie's side, waking her every so often just to shove his big goofy head in her face. We woke up with the intention of doing our damndest not to find Herky's home. We knew we had to do the three things we promised: 1-check to see if he's microchipped, 2-check the local area for signs and 3-check the local pet stores for signs. Once we did all those, and we hadn't found anything, we'd be okay with keeping him.

It didn't work that way of course. It never does. We took him into our vet's office and they fell in love with him too. While the vet tech went off to get the scanner, the secretary rubbed his head and told us how it was obvious he should stay with us.

That's never a good sign.

The tech returned with the scanner, a bright red contraption that looked like a prehistoric cell phone. She waived it over the back of his neck.


Oh no...

Ensie went white. I'm sure I blanched. The tech went into the back to call the chip company. She came back with a name and two phone numbers. Maybe the numbers were out of date. Maybe the owner didn't want him. Maybe... maybe we don't need to call him. To our credit, neither of us considered that. Well, we didn't consider it very long. We went out to the car and Ensie dialed the first number.

"Maybe we won't be ab-"

"Hi, uhhh... you don't know me, but my name is Ensie Frinklin and I think I have your dog."

Christ, first ring. He picked up on the first ring. This probably isn't a good sign. Ensie spoke with him for a moment or two. His name is Josh, he lives nearby. He's been looking since Thursday. He asks if he can pick the dog up after he gets of work. I fight the urge to yell "NO".

It's set, he'll stop by after 5 this afternoon. At the last second I ask Ensie to find out Herky's name. His name is actually Gnosis, though why anyone would use the Greek word for knowledge to describe this lumbering goofball I'll never know.

We now find ourselves with an extra dog for our errand day. We could -and almost certainly should- take him back to the house and stick him back in the backyard. But we don't. We decide to torture ourselves by hauling him along. We're going to some pretty dog-friendly places, and well... well, we really don't need a reason now do we?

Of course, this just made it worse. Herk -er, Gnosis- is just about the most lovable dog in the tri-state area. The kid outside the Starbucks? Loved him. Four different families at the pet store? Adored him. And that was the problem. Not only did we love Gnosis, we loved the idea of him. Don't get me wrong, I love Matchbox and Jeffrey. They are and always will be my boys. The problem is neither of them is what you call a real social dog. Matchbox is simply terrified of anything that isn't his normal pattern. Jeffrey gets agitated, and while he doesn't lash out, he always looks like he will. Gnosis was different, just a sweet-natured dog that everybody could approach, despite his size.

The late afternoon was torture. We came home with a couple of hours to spell. It was hot and we were still exhausted from the previous day's hike, so we did nothing. We laid around the house. We bent our rules and let Gnosis on the couch. All he wanted to do was cuddle. All we wanted to do was keep him.

We didn't get to though. Josh came round at about 5:45. Gnosis seemed happy to see him,but not as overjoyed as we would expect. It turned out that his wife had picked him up from the vet on July 3rd, and forgotten to put his collar back on. He slipped out during the fireworks on the Fourth and ended up with us. Josh was perfectly nice -though it seemed he wanted to be out of our house as quickly possible- and offered us money for taking care of it. We refused, of course. He seemed a bit uncomfortable when Ensie and I attempted to explain -without sounding like a couple of dog-obsessed lunatics- just how much we loved him and how we'd like to set up play dates with our dogs. He seemed to be okay with that, but not terribly excited.

And so he left.

It didn't hit us until the next evening. The Missus became profoundly depressed. She missed him. I missed him. Hell, Jeffrey and Matchbox seemed to miss him. The cats were okay without him though. Everybody else was gloomy. I tried to do something about it.

I asked for him back. I didn't demand, I just sent an email stating how much we loved him and missed him. Josh had mentioned that he was a new arrival to their house, and I thought maybe they weren't that attached to him yet. It was really just a fool's hope, but I had to take the chance.

The said no, of course. I got back a very polite response from Josh's wife turning us down. I didn't come as a shock; neither Ensie or I thought they'd let us have him. The funny thing is we can't stop running into these people. The day they turned us down we saw Josh at the pizza place near our house. A couple days later we saw them walking Gnosis around our neighborhood. Turns out their house is on Jeffrey's normal walk route. I sure hope they don't think we're stalking him.

We aren't, just so you know. I mean, we joke about the Herky Liberation Front, but we know he's with his family. This experience has taught Ensie and I a couple things. First, Jeffrey isn't as crazy as we think he is. Done correctly, he's fine with adding another dog to the pack. Which is good, since the other thing we learned is that Ensie and I want another dog. We've come to the rather counter-intuitive position that a third dog - a calm, friendly and submissive one- will actually calm our household down.

And we think we've found one. She's in Wyoming of all places, but I'll write about that when we get her.

Posted by Frinklin at July 20, 2006 09:35 PM | TrackBack

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