A Dog Running Down a Dark Street

I’m sitting at my kitchen table right now, typing away as a tiny dog is dozing off in my lap. It’s a chihuahua and it’s not even mine. Last night, as my boyfriend and I were driving back home from a dinner date, our headlights caught this little thing, darting back and forth across a dark street. When it became clear that it was a dog, and not a squirrel, I felt like I just had to do what I could to save it. In these parts, small dogs left out at night are very likely to become food for coyotes.

This was easier said than done, as the little guy was quite the sprinter. Those tiny little legs moved faster than seemingly possible and every time he stopped to look at us, pursuing him in our car, and I tried to call him, he darted off again. Finally, we drove up way ahead and I got out of the car to walk back and meet him. He was standing by the stairs of a storefront, looking absolutely terrified. I got down as low to the ground as I could, to make him less scared of me, reached my hand out and started talking softly to him. He just stared at me in horror. Every minute, though, he let me get a little bit closer and after a while I was able to pick him up.

The dog was shivering in fear as I carried him to the car, but he settled in quite comfortably as we sat down, and seemed to really enjoy having me pet him on the head. He even let out a big sigh, hopefully one of relief. We went to the food store to pick up a few cans of dog food and headed home.

My new friend, the chihuahua, getting comfy on a towel in my lap.

My new friend, the chihuahua, getting comfy on a towel in my lap.

I sat down on my couch and laid a pink towel across my lap (you know, in case he would try to pee on me) and ended up sitting there all night, petting the tiniest dog I have ever held. It was very relaxing and comforting, I think for both of us. He fell asleep and started to snore a little bit, which made me feel a tinge of love in my heart for this little creature.

When it was time to go to sleep, I tried having him lay down on the towel on the floor next to my bed. This was the first time he had actually stood on his legs since I had picked him up from the street a few hours earlier. They were shivering, and he looked like he didn’t know quite what to do in this strange new place. So, he hid under the bed, resisting our attempts to try and get him out by burying his little claws as deeply as he could into our sisal rug. Eventually, I got him out, and we made a nice little sleeping nest by putting the pink towel in a basket previously used for apples. He seemed to like to sleep curled up into a little ball, just like I do. Was he mine now? I hoped to find his owners in the morning, but if I didn’t, would I have the heart to drop him off at the shelter, knowing he might be put down if no home could be found for him?

My friends told me that your dog finds you, not the other way around, and that strays find you for a reason. I could not help but think that there was a bit of truth to that. Maybe we both needed some more love in our lives? (Don’t we all?)

Might it be true that your dog finds you, not the other way around?

Might it be true that your dog finds you, not the other way around?

I put the basket in the bed next to me, since I didn’t want him going under the bed again, and had to admit that it was kind of nice to have this snoozing litte creature next to me. He slept all night in his little basket, curled up into a little ball. In the morning, he did not seem to want to get up. I think he was just being shy and scared, but was also pretty sure that he may need to pee soon. We gave him a bowl of food, which he licked clean in a few minutes. Then, I found this old metal chain bracelet that could work as a collar, put it around his neck and decided to take him for a walk on the leash that we have hanging in the closet, just waiting for a dog to put it to use. All dogs like to be walked, right? Well, apparently not this one. He was shivering and resisting stubbornly. After a while he took some careful steps, as if trying out the pavers and making sure they weren’t going to hurt him. He started sniffing around the bushes and, finally, peed a little bit. After that, he seemed to be fine with walking, for just a minute, then he sat down in a patch of dry leaves and would not move again. I picked him up, carried him back to the house and called the local animal shelter that had just opened for the day to file a found dog report.

The woman on the line says that we should bring it in to check for a chip, since the dog doesn’t have a collar. If we wanted to leave it there, they would keep it for three days before sending it to the county shelter, which is a kill-shelter. We all know what that means. Ten minutes later, my phone rings and it’s the owner of the chihuahua. She sounds incredibly relieved and tells me she has just adopted him the other day and that he had just taken off last night. I feel relieved too, knowing that he has a loving home to go back to.

A happy ending: handing my little friend over to his mommy.

A happy ending: handing my little friend over to his mommy.

Part of me is a little bit sad though. I had already gotten used to having this little guy curled up in my lap. But so it goes. I saved my new little buddy, whose name turns out to be Petey, from potentially being eaten by coyotes and got him back to his mommy. Apparently many people had tried to catch him last night but I was the only one who had been able to. Maybe soon another one will find me and decide to stick around a little longer.

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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