Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Story of Sadie

I hadn't planned on writing a detailed story about Sadie. She was back with her owners and that very small chapter of my life was over. No need to rehash it.

But when your sister-in-law, who also happens to be a heart specialist for animals, wants the story behind a dog or cat, you tell it. The following is from my email to her.

Here's the story of Sadie. Christy may jump in and add her own details.

So there I was driving Christy's car back from a smog check when I spotted this little, scraggly, black terrier mix. It was just around the corner from our house, dangerously close to Magnolia. The dog didn't appear to be very afraid of cars, so I became alarmed and pulled over. My first thought was: "Oh, my God, this is the exact dog with which I've always pictured myself." Which was quickly followed by my second thought, upon noticing the collar and tag: "Damn it!" (For purely selfish reasons, mind you.)

When I got out of the car, the dog seemed friendly but wary. It circled me, always out of arm's reach, making a feeble attempt at pretending to not care about my presence. I could tell it was hoping for a friendly face, eyeing me as it continued to circle, its tail between its legs. I squatted down, put my hand out, and called to it. It came over, took a quick sniff, then returned to circling just out of reach. I did some dog whisperer-type stuff, and the dog came back in for another sniff. This time, it stayed within reach, so I gently began to pet its head. When it seemed more relaxed, I looked at the tag, hoping for a direct number to the owner, but only finding the web site "" and the ID number.

Being so close to home, I figured I could quickly look up the owner's information, so with some more dog whisperer-type stuff, I picked the dog up and placed it in the back seat of Christy's car. Fifteen seconds later, the dog found itself in our garage.

I excitedly ran in the house, made a beeline for our bedroom to find Christy just finishing making the bed, and said, "Guess what? There's a dog in our garage!" Christy blinked once, then again for good measure, and asked, as I led her to the garage, "What kind of dog?" My excitement came to a climax as I declared, "A scraggly one!"

In all my excitement, I was fully prepared to leave the dog in the garage as I looked up its information, but Christy brilliantly suggested, "Maybe you should put it in the backyard." So with Bertram safely locked away in his "playpen", I carried the dog through the house to the backyard. I let it explore the backyard for a while, introducing itself to all the neighborhood dogs. Then I remembered that the whole point was to look up the information online, so I picked the dog up, finally thought to check if it was a boy or girl, the latter being the case, and Christy noted the info from the tag.

Online, it was to my delight that I quickly discovered the information: 1) the dog's name is Sadie, for which I will always love the owners, and 2) the owners' surname, as listed on the website, is Barkley, for which I will always love their ancestors. The phone number I obtained from for the Barkley's was unlisted with, but a quick search for the last name Barkley in our zip code returned a handful of results... one of which was on a neighboring street. I now had a full name and address for the owners.

I called several times, leaving a couple of messages, letting the Barkleys know we had their dog and that we would contact them again upon our return home from work.

Before leaving for work, I let Bertram out of his playpen and observed his interaction with Sadie, the two separated only by a screen door. The meeting went surprisingly well: no hissing, lunging or swatting. At one point, Sadie sat by the sliding door, surveying her new territory (it didn't take her long to claim our yard as her own), while Bertram did rollies, scratching at the glass in a "Can I play with you?" sort of way.

The last time I saw Sadie, I started up my car and she came running around the side of the house, gazing at me hopefully. "Can I come with you?" she seemed to say. "Bye, Sadie," I said as I rolled down the window. "It's alright. You're a good girl."

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