Sunday, July 13, 2014

Last Tuesday - Planes, Strays, and Arachnophobia

I have a soft heart when it comes to stray dogs and spiders.  When a spider infiltrates the house I usually try my best to capture it move it outside. I have a lot of respect for spiders.  They do creep me out on a visceral level, like everyone else, but they do us a great service by capturing and eating flies and mosquitoes. So I try to give spiders a run at freedom.  Even in the dead of winter, when moving them outside is probably akin to death sentence in Siberia.  I've found that the best way to capture them is with a short water glass and a cardboard mailer from Pam, the real estate broker who helped us buy our house.  Then its a quick jaunt to the trees near the compost bin.  Flies like the compost bins, go figure.  Spider paradise?

I also try my best to help stray dogs, which brings us to last Tuesday.

Last Tuesday was incredibly hot.  It topped out at about 98 degrees.  We live in a old Victorian with no A/C, so we make do with a couple of portable condensation coolers which allows us to keep at least a couple of rooms of the house cool.  They work well most of the time because Denver is generally pretty dry. One is aimed into Robin's room upstairs, and the other one migrates between the living room and the bedroom.  Okay, that last bit wasn't important to the story, but just know it was hot, and because of the amount of rain we've been getting, too humid for the coolers to really do any good.

My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew were flying back from Michigan and due to pick up the dogs around 3:30pm.  Around 11:00am I got a text from my sister that their flight was delayed and that they would probably be getting over here around 4:30.  So I decided that I would make them dinner so that they didn't have to worry finding food after traveling with two year old all day.  Looking through my fridge I had the stuff to make chicken burgers and a pasta salad, but I needed buns and some ketchup.  So when Robin was up from is morning nap, I fed him a snack and scooped him up to head to the store.  This is when the plan got completely derailed.

Just outside was cute little 8 pound stray mutt.  She immediately ran up to me and started jumping up excitedly on my leg.  She had a collar and rabies tags, but no identification tags.  As she ran in happy little circles that sometimes included the street I decided I had to keep the little thing from a horrible accident involving tires.

My first thought was that she had escaped from the dog park just around the corner.  So I grabbed one of Maddie's leashes and with a toddler on one hip walked over to see if anyone was missing a pooch.  There wasn't anybody over there, which made sense since it was noon on one of the hotter days of the summer so far.  So we walked back to the house while I contemplated my next step.

Baby gates are great not just for keeping kiddos contained, but for keeping dogs separated.  The gate between the kitchen and the dining room was especially helpful because Maddie hated this adorable little dog right from the start.  "Don't you dare usurp my lap space or my food" she's bellow.  How could anybody hate this little girl:


But Maddie sure did.  They other two dogs followed her lead somewhat.  And everyone sure wanted into the kitchen to see the new pup.



I ended up putting Maddie in the crate in the bedroom to calm her down, because she wanted to eat the little girl.  She keep charging the gate and barking, which started everyone else barking.  The usually tolerant Robin was kinda scared by the whole thing and got pretty upset.

After getting all the animals separated I called denver 311.  After a wait of around 5 minutes, I spoke with a dispatcher who took the little girl's tag numbers and told me that they'd get back to me with the owners info shortly.

I posted a picture of the pup on the neighborhood facebook page and waited.  Robin and the little pooch got on quite nicely.



I then got a text that Paige's flight had to make an medical emergency landing in Chicago and would be at our house even later.

I was drenched in sweat from wrangling four dogs and a kiddo who was rapidly approaching nap number two, so I did what anyone would do in my situation and went into the kitchen to bake buns for dinner.  Robin settled into his second nap and we waited.  and waited. and waited.  After about 2 hours I called 311 back to make sure they had the correct contact info for me.  (they did).

I continued to wait.  I prepped the chicken burgers and then set about reading.

Around 5pm I decided to call 311 back and ask them to send an officer over to pick up the little pooch.  I didn't really see a workable way to keep the little girl around over night.  I guess escalating the request to a pick up got attention, because I got a call from animal control within about 5 minutes of getting off the phone with 311 with the owner's phone number.  A couple of calls and texts later, the little girl's (Grizz) owner showed up and took her home.  Hooray.

When my sister's plane landed I got another text.  Something had bitten Jack's face in Michigan and now he had swollen up like Quasimodo.



Some benedryl and a couple of chicken burgers later, everyone was happy, if exhausted.  All in all it was a good day.  But darn was it hot.

The next day around 3:30pm the animal shelter called me with Grizz's tag info.  I guess better late than never.