By Michelle Boyaner
arrived at one of the "Beautiful Lost Dog" signs, but
upon closer examination of the accompanying photo, we realized the
"Beautiful Lost Dog" in all the signs was not our
Found Dog. Just to be sure, we called the distraught owner of the
"Beautiful Lost Dog," and he described in great detail
his four-year-old dog. Barbara could tell our dog was less than
a year. We kept the "Beautiful Lost Dog" owner's phone
number anyway, just in case it turned out we were wrong, and our
dog's youthful appearance was due to its having been the subject
of a recent Extreme Makeover: Canine Edition on the ABC Family
stopped at our local grocery store and picked up a bag of dry dog
food, a plastic squeeze toy in the shape of a bone, and a real bone
in the shape of a bone. We pulled up to the house and headed toward
the backyard where we had previously secured the dog using a long
leash, and where we'd left the formerly-collectible Bauer bowl filled
with water, a plate of cat food (it was all we had) and a Danielle
Steel novel (my idea, in case it got bored).
were greeted at the side gate by the dog with four inches of its
freshly chewed-thru leash hanging from its collar, its mouth forming
an "I could have run away if I'd wanted to, but I like you"
smile. This is similar to the "I could have slit your throat
while you slept, but you're sweet and quirky" grin that you
might receive from a friendly stranger the morning after you invited
them home from a local bar on a lonesome, drunken night.
would need to take additional security measures while we looked
for its owner but hiring an armed guard and electrifying the fence
were not within our means, so instead we quickly dog-proofed the
garage. Then we arranged a plate of the newly purchased dry dog
food and tossed the plastic squeeze toy in the shape of a bone in
front of the Found Dog. She sniffed the food, and looked at us with
a "Are you kidding me with this? Dry food?" look and pushed
the toy bone aside like a seasoned gambler who'd been dealt a lousy
then the phone rang. With glee I raced to get it, but it was not
the Found Dog's owner. It was, however, an answer to an un-uttered
prayer. It was a close friend, co-owner of two dogs. She was calling
on an important, unrelated matter ("who wants frozen yogurt?"),
but when she heard of our plight, she raced over with an extra leash,
dog bed, wet food, fiber-filled chew toys that included squeaky
sound effects, and lots of advice.
securing the Found Dog in the garage (or "The G" as we
began to call our improvised, canine version of The Oakwood apartments)
we quickly made up our second batch of "Found Dog" fliers,
this time on the computer, using a large display font (Helvetica,
72 point). This we copied onto bright orange paper. We plastered
them all over, extending our target area to include several major
cross streets, as well as two local dog parks. Then we went home
and waited, watching local investigative reporter Joel Grover report
on dirty bathrooms in fancy restaurants on NBC 4 LA, as late afternoon
Now, while I don't advocate the doping of athletes or animals, to
ensure that all of the inhabitants of our household would get a
good night's sleep, we administered one half of one very small tablet
of an over-the-counter drug called Benadryl to the Found Dog, who
by this time was showing no signs or plans of calming down. This
was suggested to us by a very kind, wise friend who had used this
method with her own dogs (on rare occasion) and assured us that
it would not harm the Found Dog in any way. Of course I worried
that the Found Dog would become hooked (think: Gia) and I felt guilty
about the whole thing, but in the end, the idea of a good night's
sleep won out over guilt. We hid the one half of one very small
tablet inside a small serving of cottage cheese (it always worked
for Grandma), and the Found Dog was none the wiser. After 45 minutes
of roughhousing and bone chasing, the Found Dog changed into its
pajamas and settled into its borrowed bed for its first night in
"The G." As I tuned out the lights, I could see the silhouettes
of our two cats, Lucy and Buddy, hunkered down at the kitchen table,
involved in some sort of "why is there a dog on the premises?"
summit meeting. The lack of attention on this very long day was
beginning to take a toll on their egos.
next morning, the cell phone started to ring with leads. Bad leads.
Everyone called and reported in their best "good Samaritan"
voices that they knew who Found Dog belonged to, and then each and
every one of these fifteen callers directed us to that distraught
lost dog owner who put up all the "Beautiful Lost Dog"
posters in that local canyon area.
We began posting "Found Dog" notices on every available
"Lost Pet" website we could find (lostpet.com, whereisfido.org
and lassiecomehome.net.) We looked under the "Lost Dog"
sections on all these sites to see if any owners' postings matched
our Found Dog, and everywhere we looked we saw postings by that
owner of the " Beautiful Lost Dog" from the signs in that
local canyon area. But there was nothing about our "Lost Dog."
day, night, and one half of one small tablet of Benadryl passed
with still no solid leads. We took pictures of the Found Dog (think:
Rolling Stone magazine cover shoot) and created version #3 of
our FOUND DOG poster, this time including a large photo with the
words "FOUND DOG, " now in HELVETICA 96 point, and a few
details plus our phone number. We printed this set on bright green
cardstock, plastered them on any poles and walls we had previously
missed, then took a trip to three local Humane Society/Dog Pounds
to place fliers in the appropriate places.
hygienically-challenged volunteer at Pound #2 told us that if we
brought the Found Dog into the pound, they would photograph it and
put it up on their website. This, of course, meant we would have
to actually bring the Found Dog to the pound and leave it there
for several days. We could pay a fee and they would call us if no
owner appeared. But what if there was a mix-up with the paperwork,
and they accidentally didn't call, and instead, they, you know,
sent it to its final resting place? We couldn't bring ourselves
to do this. Even I, a person who finds herself somewhat challenged
in the "perfect-love and enthusiastic-admiration of dogs"
department couldn't imagine leaving the Found Dog there.
reasoned that if we had been the owners of this dog, this wonderful
one-year-old "Liberian Rusky," we wouldn't just check
the website of the local pound, but we'd get up off our fat asses
(obviously the owner was a bit lazy because, come on, it'd been
two days already) and come down to the pound and look for the dog
and look through the found dog posters. Plus, if the actual owner
were looking on websites, then he'd see our numerous postings all
over the previously mentioned lost pet sites. We felt we had it
covered, and we were not going to put our Found Dog in any of these
dirty, sad animal prisons.
as we were returning from the cleanest, happiest of the three dirty,
sad animal prisons, we received a phone call from a local dog walker.
She was sure she'd seen signs in the last few days all over Los
Feliz about a LOST "Liberian Rusky" and she'd seen our
FOUND signs and she was positive it was the same dog. We questioned
her about the "other" lost dog signs, the ones from the
local canyon area, but she assured us she was talking about a different
set of signs and these surely were of our Found Dog.
PAGE 1 2 3
version for easy reading
material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission|