Two weeks ago today, Otto and I brought home the big black dog with the pretty eyes who proceeded to slip out of our yard hours later. He hung around our neighborhood, evading capture, for about a week.
It has now been another week since I’ve seen him, and about five days since anyone else told me they saw him, either. The live trap we borrowed from Animal Control is languishing outside, full of every possible goody a normal dog could want—dry food, wet food, rib bones, pork cutlets, and chicken breast. (Technically we rotated through most of those. It’s not like there’s just a giant cage of MEAT out there, or anything.)
The rescue where we got him has ignored my messages and I have contacted every animal expert in the area, most of whom agree that he’s probably not going to be caught at this point. And so tomorrow we will take the trap back to Animal Control and admit defeat.
But you see, Super is gone but not forgotten. He’s still very much with us.
For me, this experience has completely changed some of my assumptions about animal ownership and the folks who work in pet rescue. Several people I know who either work with or favor purebreeds have tried to gently steer me towards picking a breed and then shelling out a couple thousand dollars to a reputable breeder to “know what I’m getting,” and while I certainly understand the advantages of that (now more than before), I’m still left in a place where I can’t see spending that kind of money to acquire a pet. And the “if you don’t have that money to spend you don’t have the money to properly raise it” argument I’m hearing is, pardon my language, bullshit. I don’t want to spend that kind of money when there are so many unwanted animals who need homes. I’m more than willing and capable of spending money on the gear we’ll need, on food, on vet bills. That’s all fine. But to purchase a show-quality dog when all we want is a family pet? It’s not for me.
All of that is in the back of my mind. In the front of my mind, however, is a newfound wonderment over other dogs.
For example: Otto and I like to pass an hour or two most evenings watching stupid things on television. It’s relaxing. But then there are these commercials where there are dogs. HAPPY dogs. WAGGY dogs who LICK people.
I will blink at the television for a while and then turn to Otto. “I… don’t understand,” I will say, tilting my head a little to try to get a better view. “That dog appears to… LIKE PEOPLE. I don’t see it chewing through the leash or running away or ANYTHING.”
Otto will pat my arm, usually, and murmur comforting noises, and remind me that someday we’ll get our dog.
“I’m pretty sure that’s a ROBOT,” I will whisper to him, eventually, having figured out what the gimmick is. “I mean, if it was a REAL DOG, surely it would’ve stolen an entire bag of Pupperoni by now.”
And then, of course, there’s the time I spend on Petfinder. As if Otto isn’t patient enough with my nighttime television confusion, I also like to send him listings for dogs that intrigue me, usually ones which are located out-of-state because I’m stupid like that.
“Look at this one,” I’ll write, along with the link. “It says she LIKES EVERYONE. They are probably lying liars. But really, I think she’s SMILING in that picture. And she’s only 16 pounds, which seems a good size if I’m just going to put her in my purse so that she can’t run away. Can we go to Florida?”
I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: My husband is a very patient man.
And lord, you are about to understand that statement at a whole new level, because Super left something behind for Otto, too. Remember the chase through the woods? After he escaped? And we went bushwhacking to try to find him?
Otto has a bitching case of poison ivy.
So, no, Super will not be forgotten. Much as we might wish he could.