Yesterday, I’d just come home from a fun day at Karen’s house. Part work and part play. We talked about some edits on my manuscript and then we painted a corner cabinet and she let me do some funky spray paint on another piece. Imagine farmhouse graffiti – I promise it’s prettier than it sounds. When we finished working and playing, she sent me home with enough home cooked food to last a few days and I planned on spending the next couple of hours writing.
But that’s not what happened. Thanks to NPR, I was sitting in my van in front of my house, waiting for the story to finish. If I had been listening to my music, I would have gone straight inside and missed some of yesterday’s magic.
Something caught my eye through the window and I looked up to see a beautiful, big, blonde golden retriever type dog walking up the street alone. I forgot all about NPR, got out and called to the dog. He ran right up to me and hopped in the open door of my van. I laughed out loud and left him there while I looked up and down the street for his owner. I didn’t see anybody so I opened up the side door and crawled in the back of the van with the him. Luckily, he had a tag attached to his collar with a name and number.
What are the odds? Another Moe. I laughed as he tried to sit in my lap, just like my Moe does, but he was thirty pounds more dog than my little guy. I called the number on his tag, but no one answered and the voice mail full. I thought for a second, then remembered that I’d seen a lady walking a dog that looked like Moe a few days ago towards a house down the street, so we took a drive.
This is where the magic started.
I knocked on the door of the house that I thought Moe belonged to. A dog I’ve seen many times, came barking to the door to meet me. He looks like a long-legged Pearl with wire hair. The man who owns the terrier that my dogs terrorize every time we cross paths on our morning walks, who always smiles and waves, no matter how loud my dogs are, came to the door. He looked confused for a second, like he was trying to place me. I saw the lightbulb go off over his head.
“Oh, you’re the lady with the three dogs.” He said. We both laughed, and he came outside.
I apologized for bugging him, and explained my situation. He came out to my van to see if he recognized the runaway. He made a sad face as he pet Moe through the window.
“I think he lives on First St., but I don’t know which house. I’ve seen him out before.” He loved on Moe for a minute then smiled at me.
“Maybe he’ll tell you.” He introduced himself as Pascal and wished me luck. It was nice to have a name with the face, and nice to be able to say a few words other than good morning over the barking dogs.
We drove down First St., but Moe wasn’t talking. He was too busy enjoying his ride in the rolling doghouse. If we passed his house, he didn’t notice or care. At one point, he sat straight up in front of the rear window, tail wagging, watching the kids as they got off the school bus.
“Focus, buddy.” I said, and he came up behind me and licked my ear.
I spied a man walking down First with a fold-up chair strapped on his back and a glass in his hand, about my dad’s age. I pulled to a stop beside him and asked if he lived on the street.
“Yes. I do.”
“Do you know who this guy belongs to?”
“No, I don’t, I actually just moved in.” Moe gave the sweet puppy eyes to the new guy he gave to me and I watched the guy melt. He walked up to my van and started petting him through the window. “But, oh, he’s a sweetheart. What a pretty boy, what a good boy.” He said as Moe smiled and wagged all over.
“Well, shoot. He just hopped in my van and I can’t reach his owners.” I laughed.
“What a good person you are.” He said in the same voice he used to tell Moe what a good boy he was. I admit it – if I had a tail it would have been wagging. He had the sweetest blue eyes surrounded by a web of laugh lines, and a red nose (from the sun, or possibly the drink in the glass)—kind of like Santa without the beard.
He introduced himself as Daniel, asked my name and talked for a second. Then he pointed back down First. “Go to the big blue house with a little white car out front. Sandy lives there – she knows everybody, she’s a real estate agent.” He wished us well – told us a quick story about Jesus, then shook my hand. “There is no disgrace if you have grace, and you my dear have plenty. God bless you.” He called as we drove off in search for Sandy. Moe wagged his tail enough for the both of us.
I pulled in beside the white car, went up the steps to the front door and laughed out loud when I realized who Sandy was. She’s The Beige Shitzu Lady we see on our walks that my pups bark at most times, but thankfully the last time we saw them on the beach, they were perfect little angels.
She had the same look as Pascal – formerly known as Wire-Haired Terrier Guy – but then she remembered where she’d seen me.
“Oh, hey. You’re the lady with the three dogs.”
She laughed, “Not always.”
I introduced myself and told her why I was there.
She pointed across the street to a house. “Moe lives there. He gets out all the time. I’m glad you picked him up.” She sighed. “Yeah, see? The door is open.”
I thanked her, got back in my van, crossed the street and pulled in the driveway. Moe hopped out and walked me to his house. Then he let himself in and I knocked on the doorframe. Nothing. I called out, “Hello?”
A young guy in a polo shirt and khakis, wiping the sleep out of his eyes came down the steps as Moe passed him going up.
“I guess he knows where he’s going.” I laughed.
The kid, who looked all of twenty, thanked me and shut the door.
When I was getting in my van a little white Maltese looking thing came trotting right down the middle of First towards me. I couldn’t believe it, I’ve been here two months and I’ve never seen a dog without an owner attached. Now two in one day.
Sandy, who was standing on her front porch waiting for her son called out. “He lives there, too!”
Fluff was walking right to me but wasn’t as trusting as Moe. He turned when he got to me and started barking. The school bus was coming and the little white dog wasn’t paying attention to the traffic – walking backwards right towards the bus. A young boy I’d met on one of our walks started helping – turns out he’s Sandy’s son, and Sandy ran down her steps. Together the three of us were able to corral the little thing. “Just open the door and put him in.” she suggested. Right when I reached the door the same guy opened it.
“Oh, shit. Sorry.” He mumbled. “Thanks, ya’ll.”
Sandy and I looked at each and shook our heads. Then we laughed and she told me it was good to finally meet me.
Life is funny. It took a dog, someone else’s dog—another Moe, no less— to introduce all of us dog people and give us names to put with the faces we see every day. I don’t mind being called The Lady With Three Dogs – but Pascal and Sandy might not have appreciated the nicknames I had for them.
A happy ending! All the neighbors here know all the dogs names but not the names of their owners. There is Chip (and Chip’s Owners), Aslan and Owners, Squirrel and owners.. you get he picture. If it weren’t for our neighborhood directory we wouldn’t know anyone!