I met two old friends (old as-in long-time friends, and old as-in can we talk about our aching joints? Srsly?) on Friday at the Como Conservatory. We were supposed to see the spring show and instead discovered that the spring show was being dismantled. We sat down on a couple benches after making a penny wish and discussed our kids and our parents and mostly our in-laws. It’s a mess.
My one friend wants a shih tzu. Her husband doesn’t. They wonder back and forth if their lifestyle is compatible with canine ownership. She really wants a shih tzu. Or a retired greyhound. But really a shih tzu.
I left the Conservatory, heading for home along Lexington Parkway. Lexington is a fantastic thoroughfare for roadkill, like one of the best. One of my finest specimens, Matilda the Baby Raccoon, came from Lexington. So you can imagine my distress when I saw what appeared to be a dustmop darting right across the four lanes of traffic. I watched the little dog make a beeline for the Great Dane on the other side, the Great Dane attached to a leash being held by a woman with a baby in a stroller.
Well, that looks challenging, I thought. I pulled onto a sidestreet. The woman, the baby, and the Great Dane asked if the dustmop was my dog. Nope, I said, I just thought you might need some help.
We used the Dane for bait, attempting to lure the dustmop away from Lexington. I tried my best koochie-koochie voice and it worked. The dog came over. I reached for it, it feinted, I koochied, it came back. I grabbed the mop’s scruff, realizing I might get bitten.
The dog didn’t bite. I tucked her/him under my arm. I’ll take care of her/him, I told the Great Dane. And the lady. And the baby.
We drove back up Lexington. The stinky dustmop settled right in, gazing out the window for a time, then snuggling down on the passenger seat.
Can I tell you exactly how much I love my vet clinic? We pulled in fifteen minutes after closing time and Erik, my favorite tech, scanned the mop for a chip. No chip. No collar, no tags, no chip. We clucked over the matted fur, the curved nails, the intact testicles, the goobery eyes that made sight a real challenge.
I confessed that I was sorely tempted to clean him up and present him to my friend, the one who really wants a shih tzu.
We gave the doggie a one-year rabies shot and a nail trim.
Ace was not particularly surprised to see a stinky dustmop in the backyard, making friends with Chester and Fergus. “I manifested a shih tzu,” I said. I gently cut the hairs and goobers from around his eyes.
Life goes on and I had an appointment to keep. I named the mop Max, Max the Mop, and he went on my errands, mostly content to sit in a kennel in the front seat. Upon our return, we posted on the Humane Society Lost-n-Found page. I scanned the Lost section and spotted “Lucky” who looked suspiciously like Max.
Heavy sigh. I really wanted Max to have a happy ending with my friend. I really did. I called the number on Lucky’s listing. Phone out-of-service. Great. I sent a message with my landline.
Max and I settled down on the stoop to give him a haircut.
A child called me, maybe 12 or 13. He described how his sister had been crying for an hour at the loss of Lucky. Lucky escaped exactly where I found Max. I’m pretty sure I have your dog, I said. Drat. We agreed that I would drop off the doggie when I picked up The Big E from school.
My friend K called while I trimmed the mats from around Max’s paws. K is a social worker. I bemoaned the fact that I had to return Lucky to a family that didn’t trim his nails or brush his fur or clean his eyes. K reminded me to have a bit of empathy. Focus on the kids, she said. When you return Lucky, make sure the kids look healthy and cared for. Fine. Harrumph.
I finished trimming all the matted fur from Max’s paws and back and face. Then I gave him a nice bath.
When I walked up to the house on Lexington Parkway, the Roadkill Mecca of St. Paul, two kids burst from the door. “Lucky!” they exclaimed. And one plucked the little dog from my arms. The kids looked well-fed. They had clean clothes and made appropriate eye contact. They smiled and thanked me.
I asked if Lucky ever goes to the vet. Yes, they said. We’re planning to get him a rabies shot this summer. I gave them the rabies tag and certificate.
Does Lucky have a collar? I asked. He did, but it got lost. I show the kids my phone number, printed on the rabies certificate. If you ever want help getting him a collar or tags, I said, just give me a call.
Have a nice life, Lucky. I walked away.