Mysterious Stranger

Look who popped up at my place one day.

Look who popped up at my place one day.

A few evenings ago, while my family was playing with our dogs out in our back lot, we discovered a transient cowering in the old grapevines that have taken over the back fence. A tiny little dachshund was leading my dogs on a merry chase. It seemed to be lonely, but as soon as our dogs tried to make contact, it would take off. When it ran into a clump of overgrowth in a corner where several yards come together, we figured it must belong to one of the neighbors, and decided we better have a look at the fence. A little dog like that could get across our property and end up in a completely different neighborhood.

The little dog kept coming over the next couple of days, becoming comfortable first with our two dogs and then increasingly interested in us. We realized, this dog does not live around here, it’s lost. But, we assumed, it couldn’t have come far, and we took some pictures to hang around the neighborhood. In the meantime, we offered it some kibble – yes, that worked, it finally allowed us to come close, even pet it. We noticed it had a worn pink collar with no tags, and that it was a girl. We started calling it “Badges,” as in, we don’t need none. She is adorable, but the last thing we need around here is somebody else lined up for attention.

It was my older son who immediately looked at the lost and found section of Craigslist. There it was, just reposted yesterday – a woman looking for her little Zoey, with a picture of this dog, pink collar and all.

“Lost in the 20th street area. Last seen at One Mile” she said. We live at least a mile north of One Mile.  I’ve heard crazier stories – our friends moved, and their cat Buster kept showing up at their old house,  miles away, across Esplanade and Mangrove Avenue, this cat would just show up at the old house. And then there was our neighbors old black lab, an ornery creature name of Sally. They took her to the river, and she slipped out of their truck at Scotty’s Landing. They had looked for her half into the night, but left without her. That guy had that dog since he was a teenager, she had a gray muzzle, he was heartbroken. But three days later, there she came, her feet just about worn out.

Zoey was pretty starved and thirsty, I can only imagine her incredible journey. her owner said she’d been missing for a week!  I think she was coming around our dooryard at night when the dogs were there alone to drink from their water dish. She was perfectly comfortable with our dogs, who could rip her in half. But, you know little dogs – whenever they get too in her face, she bares that nasty set of over-sized teeth, and they back right off.  We used to have a tattered old poodle who ran our old pitbull mix like it was the other way around.

This is Max's rug, but he gave it right up to Zoey. She's nobody to mess with.

This is Max’s rug, but he gave it right up to Zoey. She’s nobody to mess with.

Right now, the Zoester, as we like to call her, is out in my back yard giving my neighbor a ration. Just what does he think he’s up to with that hammer?! She’s really barking like she wants a piece of that guy – meanwhile, my dogs lounge on the porch, used to Neighbor and his early morning attempts at manly labor. She has no idea, her mom is on the way to get her, all the way from Sack-o-tomatoes. Wow, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

UPDATE:  Well, Zoey’s mom picked her up about noon. It was a scene worth Technicolor, but I forget to get my camera. Zoey’s mom told me, the little rascal had jumped out of her family’s car at Chico Mall, and before they could react, she had disappeared into the parking lot. Her boy, being taken to visit relatives, was frantic – wouldn’t you be? 

We can only speculate where she’s been, who she’s interacted with, how many dangers she encountered. And all the while, she kept looking for her family. It was the funniest thing – this morning, she seemed to be extraordinarily interested in our front gate. She was friendly to us, but nothing like the display she made for her mom this morning. 

So, I think this may have been one of the most important things my family has ever done. I feel good. 

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