fishing for chihuahuas

I heard a light thunk late yesterday afternoon while cooking dinner and thought a crow had landed on the panels. They do that sometimes. Muffin looked up from the heating pad but figured it didn’t warrant getting up.

I heard it again a few minutes later; Muffin got up and I looked outside. The pick mattock had fallen over from where I’d leaned it against the van and a small multicolored cord was wrapped around the curved, fishhooky head. I could hear a mild ruckus and thought maybe a balloon clump had escaped a child’s birthday party and was blowing around under the van.

The cord turned out to be a leash and the balloons turned out to be an ill-tempered Chihuahua wearing a sweater. I reeled in the dog and heard someone walking up from the other side of the van. It wasn’t the owner, but rather a camper who was trying to find the dog. Let’s call her Tall Boy because she was holding a tall boy in a coozie.

The dog snapped at me a couple times but I scooped her from underneath and she (Sadie, as it said on her tag) settled down. I attempted to hand the football off to the dog-searcher who (unbeknownst to me at this time) was actually afraid of dogs. My own dogbeest was losing her mind inside the van due to the proximity of Strange Dog and dinner was cooking so I wasn’t going to be on Team Let’s-Find-the-Owner. I set the package down and handed Tall Boy the leash and fully expected it to be over.

Narrator voice: "It was _not_ over." > >

Tall Boy wanted to discuss the next steps and tell me a half-dozen times she couldn’t have slept knowing the dog was Out There. She seemed unfamiliar with how to walk with a dog on a leash. I wasn’t putting the pieces together yet but I had the distinct feeling this wasn’t going to end any time soon.

During one of Sadie’s tasmanian devil spin-frenzies I noticed the backside of her tag had a telephone number on it, but I couldn’t read it without being bit. My gloves were just inside the door but so was Muffin, who hadn’t had her evening kibble yet and who, coincidentally I’m sure, seemed keenly interested in the snack-sized visitor The wind was chilly, I was wearing a tshirt (heated by the inside cooking) and quickly losing my dedication to the program. I love dogs as much as the next guy but IMO I had handed the recovered animal over to the searcher: “you have the conn”.

About this time a pickup arrived. It was yet another person involved in the search. Brown Beanie (do I have to spell it out?) and Tall Boy discussed the next step at some length. Since this was happening in my campsite I didn’t think it polite to walk off and resume cooking. Tall Boy blurted a few times that she’d been attacked by a dog once, and referred to the dog many times as traumatized. I’m no psychologist (of humans or canines) but Sadie seemed to be of average temperament for a Chihuahua* and the repeated claims of trauma seemed more like projection.

Beanie got bit a couple of times picking up the dog but was at least wearing mittens. Yet another pickup arrived and this one was Sadie’s owner. Diagnoses of traumatized were relayed another 3-4 times to the owner and by now I was starting to get a bit traumatized, or at least mildly annoyed at the drama.

When the dog was safely in the hands of the owner I returned to the camper and resumed cooking. The dog rescue drama crew stayed in the campsite a few more minutes then drove off.

*Yes, I know that not all Chihuahuas are foul-tempered and/or demon-possessed. For example, I worked with superchill Pepe at the shelter and was extremely fond of him:

The timing was wrong for an adoption as I was still working full-time. I did have a few aberrant thoughts about trying to hide a pet carrier under my desk in the office.