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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Valentine's Day Heartbreak: Lost and Found

This is the story of the little girl (or boy) inside all of us.  The girl who finds a puppy and dreams what her new puppy-filled life would be like.  I was that girl two weeks ago, when this precious puppy made her way into our lives.

This sweetheart walked right up our driveway to our front door to introduce herself, on my day off, no less.  She obviously belonged to someone, but she had no collar and, it turned out after a trip to our vet, no microchip.  As strong as she was on a leash (she just about pulled my arm out of my socket on our first walk), we figured she had probably pulled out of or broken her collar.  Mr. Great Indoors and I did our due diligence, calling the pound and the local vet, putting out messages on local listservs, asking the neighbors we knew.  But after a week of waiting, it seemed no one was looking for her.

She's so dark you can hardly see her without natural light or a flash!

So we took her in as our own and named her Descha, after Zooey Deschanel.  We pronounced it like "geisha."  Can't you see the resemblance?

Zooey's image from here

We cobbled together a crate and collar from friends until we could buy them all ourselves, started house and leash training her, and generally fell in love with this sweet-natured, happy-go-lucky, and energetic puppy.  Our vet told us she was about a year old, likely a pure-bred cocker spaniel, and hadn't been spayed.  After hearing that news, we truly thought she may have been the product of a puppy mill.  And based on the knots and mats in her fur, it seemed she had been out on her own for a while.  We made a grooming appointment for her last week, and they shaved her clean.  She. was. naked.

Chewy was skeptical at first, but he adjusted fairly quickly to the stranger in his house.  She was twice his size, so she shouldered him around on a regular basis, forcing him to get off his butt and play.  By Monday, two weeks after she happened upon us, they were playing like old pals.  He had even shared his beloved fox for games of tug of war.  Trust me, this was serious.

Puppy Playtime from Mrs. Great Indoors on Vimeo. (Sorry it's sideways!)

But last night it all ended as suddenly as it had begun.  Mr. GI was herding Chewy back into the house after using the bathroom, and Descha saw her opening.  She bolted from the living room right out into the back yard and disappeared.  Mr. GI called me at work an hour later to tell me what had happened, and my stomach dropped when I realized that we had yet to chip or tag her.  We made the same mistake her former owners had made.  He spent the good part of three hours looking for her around the neighborhood, but no luck.

Needless to say, we were torn up.  Mr. GI fell in love with her faster than I did, but we were both attached to her by this point.  We hoped she would be okay out at night in the cold-- especially since she was newly shaved and it dropped to 32° last night.  We hoped she wouldn't be run over, that she would find her way back home, wherever that was.  We hoped for the best.

After hardly sleeping a wink last night, I took Chewy on an early morning walk to see if we could find our little girl.  A neighborhood backs up to our house, and we had taken Descha on walks there to wear her out.  We walked all around the neighborhood, but no sign of her.  Then, on a whim, instead of turning into our driveway, I walked up our street a little farther.  I made it five driveways away when I saw a black, naked puppy on a neighbor's front porch.  Taking the chance, I walked up onto the porch and there she was, tied to the porch railing.  I knocked on the door (I must have looked like a crazy person-- it was 8:15 at this point, and I was bundled up against the cold with a freezing cold Chewy) and it turns out that "our" puppy had made it home.  Her name isn't Descha but Precious, and her family lives right down the road from us.

What a relief to know that she wasn't run over or frozen to death.  She made it back where she belonged.  Because of the family's choices for her, a small part of me wants to think she may have had a better life with us.  But we can never replace the memories of her family, the mom and dad and two kids who love her.  For now, we'll remember what it was like to have a two-dog household (a little stressful, but a lot of fun) and how nice it was to have something different for a few weeks.  How she burrowed her way right into our hearts with her sweet demeanor.  Maybe someday we'll bring another dog home, but today we're back to our little family of three.  With the spoiled, prissy puppy who won't cross a stream because he might get washed away, but cuddles like the dickens and tugs like a dog six times his size.


  1. WOW! This story breaks my heart!! It sounds like you would have been a much better parent... maybe she will run away again and right back to you

    1. I know-- although at that point I'd feel bad since we know where she lives. :-( Tough situation in general, but I'm sure it's working out for the best. And we still have an awesome little puppy who keeps us busy!


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