Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My little man is looking for a home

Wanted: Warm bed, lots of belly rubs and scratching between the ears, someone to play with and love unconditionally as only a dog can.

Likes: walking, cuddling, playing fetch, other dogs, people, treats, escaping from the yard then waiting outside the fence to be let back in.

This is my little man. I found two weeks ago a block away from my house. Pippi and I see stray dogs on a regular basis, and normally we just keep going. This guy, though, was just too sweet for words. And he was hungry. I got him some food and wondered if he was the same dog I'd seen a couple of times in my neighborhood weeks before. Worried that he'd been out for a while, I took him home, figuring I could at least make sure he was fed and safe for the night before taking him to the pound the next day during my lunch break.

The thing is, I know the likely outcome of dogs that go to the pound, and even though this little guy is, like, the best dog ever, I knew it probably wouldn't make a difference. My lunch break came and went. The little guy stayed.

For two weeks I put up fliers, posted his picture on Facebook and Twitter and advertised him on Craigslist and other groups. I asked people who I thought might want a dog if they wanted this particular cutie. I found a no-kill shelter that had space as a last resort.

After two weeks and no one came forward, I called the no-kill shelter. The owner said no. I asked myself one more time if I could keep him. The responsible side of me said no. I almost took him to the pound right then because putting it off felt a little bit like walking toward my own death.

Instead, the three of us had one last night -- a long walk, playing ball, Pippi and the little man wrestling, extra treats, lots of ear scratching. And I woke up to this.

And then I had to walk away as he stood on the counter, shaking with fear, probably wondering why this person who he trusted was leaving him in this scary place. It was the worst feeling.

I should have written this post before, when I still had him, but it's not too late. Animal Services keeps all dogs for a minimum of three days, then if they're healthy and adoptable they put them on the adoption track. I have to believe this little guy is adoptable. Don't you want that cute face in your life?

If you do -- and how could you not? -- here's how to save him:

Please go to Lubbock Animal Services (3323 SE Loop 289) and tell them you're looking for a little tan and white dog, male, who came in on Tuesday (May 12) with a woman who said he was a stray but couldn't stop herself from crying. The employee wrote down that he was some kind of basset hound mix, though that was just a guess. His nose has a little pink. If you need help, I'll go with you and make sure you find my little man. 

And hurry! He's only guaranteed a place through Friday. 

If you already own a dog:

Put a collar on it, microchip it and do everything you can to escape-proof your backyard. And for heaven's sake, do not put your dog in an unfenced front yard without restraint of some kind, because as soon as another dog, an interesting-looking person or a butterfly passes, your dog is running away. Even if you're out there with him, you're doing a little chasing. 

And please, please if your dog does run away, look for it. Every time I see a dog on the side of the road, a part of my soul dies.

Spay or neuter your dog. 

If you want a dog: 

Don't go to a pet shop or a breeder. Go to your local animal shelter, the Humane Society or a nonprofit or rescue organization. So many cute, sweet dogs need good homes. You don't need a purebred dog to find a good companion, a cuddler, a smart animal who can be trained or the most adorable pooch of any size.  

Know what you're getting into. Dogs are a commitment. They should live for 10-15 years, and they need food, exercise and companionship. When you adopt a dog, you're becoming its pack. It's not a goldfish you can feed, change the water and be done. Your dog needs love, time and attention. Be prepared to give it some. The good thing is, all the love comes right back at you in slobbery kisses, a warm body to cuddle with and a reason to go running on days when you'd rather not. (Or, if you're not into running, find a dog who wants to hang with you on the couch. They are out there.)

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