No, we haven't taken the plunge yet (still working on Geoff)...we are not dog owners.
But on Friday, on route home from a friends' house, I spotted a small dog wandering down a busy road and, even as my heart sank just a little because I knew our afternoon's trajectory was about to change, I pulled over to the side of the road. Just as I was doing so, Seth saw the little guy and immediately became teary and insisted that we stop to help the dog (a boy after my own heart, without a doubt!).
I instructed the kids to stay in the car and I grabbed a handful of kid snacks that I had in the car. And off I went. The dog clearly hadn't been away from his home for too long because he was still a little full of his own adventure; he wasn't too keen on being caught! In the meantime, Seth was (literally) hanging out the car window, alternating between sobs and pleas to get him, and cheering me on and clapping. Thankfully I was able to accommodate: After less than two blocks of tracking the dog, I noticed that he was listening to the sound of my voice and he stopped briefly to pick up one of the little food bits I'd thrown at him; then, when he stopped to do his business on the grass, he let me grab his collar.
I've rescued many a dog in my adult lifetime - it has seemed, from time to time, that stray dogs seek me out, knowing that I'll do my best to help. It's just something I do.
In fact, the night before this most recent dog rescue, I was out for dinner with one of my oldest friends, and we were talking about this tendency of mine to pick up strays. She's been with me on at least two occasions when I've picked up a lost dog and has earned the right to roll her eyes at me on the topic. :)
The most memorable experience we shared on the rescue front happened over a decade ago, on an occasion when my rescue attempt failed. My friend was visiting me in Vancouver and we decided to spend a few days on Vancouver Island, in the Long Beach area (side note: Eucluelet, which book-ends one end of Long Beach is pretty much my favourite spot in the world). So we took a ferry over to Nanaimo and then drove that oh-so-beautiful highway cross island, on a narrow and wind-y highway that cuts through mountains and borders the prettiest lakes on the continent. Mmm...I'm longing to be there just thinking about it.
But I digress...
Coming around a corner on that bendy highway, we spotted a German-shepherd-like dog wandering down the narrow shoulder of the highway and knew immediately that something was amiss. I slowed the car and I remember to this moment the sound of my friend's groan; she knew, she just knew, knowing me as she does, that that dog was going to delay our min-vacation.
And it did. By at least an hour (possibly more??). I tried, oh how I tried to get that dog into our vehicle. But nothing - not bribery, not softly-spoken words, not commands - nothing ultimately worked, and it remains one of the few times that I've been forced to give up on a dog rescue. Sometimes you have to move on.
But it was a different story on Friday afternoon. As I walked back towards the van carrying that little white dog, I was Seth's super hero and it was a good feeling...worth the effort of the next twenty-four hours before the dog's family was found.
I'll probably never change. Given Seth's reaction to this rescue, I'm not sure I'd ever want to change. Sure it was inconvenient. Sure it wasn't precisely fun to wipe leftover poop from a canine butt. But to see the boys that night sleeping on the floor as close as possible to the dog, to see their joy as they discovered that the dog knew how to play fetch, to listen to their peals of laughter as the dog did some cute thing or another, and to feel on my shoulder the devastation of their loving tears after we delivered the dog home the following afternoon...well, those things made a bit of inconvenience all worthwhile.