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I Keep Finding Dogs

Is this a sign that I need to get a dog for myself???

Here is Lucy, the first dog we found.
Elise Mattaliano

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Over the past seven months, my girlfriend and I have found three stray dogs and helped find them either new owners or their previous owners. I know what you’re thinking, because I’m also thinking it: this is simply too many dogs to stumble across in such a short amount of time.

Last August, our friend told us that she found a dog at the park the morning after a pretty bad storm. The dog’s fur was matted, she had no tags, and she was terrified, but she was also incredibly friendly and one of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen. We had been thinking about getting a dog, so we decided this would be a good test run—hopefully we’d find her owners, and if not, maybe we’d want to keep her, or at least find her a new home.

The dog, which we named Ziti as a placeholder (good name though), spent the next five days with us while we got her checked for a chip (she didn’t have one) and tried to find some indication of where she lived. For five whole days, she refused to piss anywhere except for our carpet. We took her out on walks every few hours, and she would act like she didn’t need to go to the bathroom, and then piss on our floor. She was also terrified of our cats, and our cats were terrified of her, so it was pretty clear from the jump that this unfortunately wasn’t going to work out.

Eventually, though, we understood that the dog was abandoned, and so we started looking around for friends to adopt her. A friend who lives in Philly was immediately interested, so we took the day off and drove up to the middle of Virginia to meet in a state park and make the switch. I knew it was a good fit from the jump because almost immediately, Ziti—who is now named Lucy—took an Austin Powers-length piss.

One Saturday in January, we dropped off a bunch of stuff we didn’t need anymore to a donation center that’s right off a busy highway. As we were heading back home and taking a shortcut through a business park, we saw a dog dart out into the woods, which were, again, off of a busy highway. So we pulled over and tried to coax the dog into coming over to us with a donut. As we got closer, but not close enough to find any tags or anything, we saw she had a huge red spot on her side that didn’t exactly look like blood.

We weren’t super successful at getting the dog to trust us, but this went on for about 45 minutes, until a car driving by took a sharp turn into the parking lot. Once the driver got out, a woman in her late 40s or early 50s, the dog happily ran over to her. The woman proceeded to tell us that the red spot was actually Kool-Aid — “Long story,” she said — and that the dog had run away from her, I swear to God, “47 times.” I don’t remember the name of the dog, but here’s a picture:

Photo: Paul Blest

Then, last week, we were walking on a trail near our house. I went a bit further to explore a part of it I’d never been to, and as I was walking back to meet up with my girlfriend I got a text: “There’s a loose dog lol.”

The dog, which looks like some sort of pit bull mix (I think? I didn’t know the Discourse Blog bird was a starling so don’t take my word for this) followed us for at least three quarters of a mile, which was made all the more impressive by the fact that she had three legs.

Photo: Paul Blest

When we got back to our car, another couple was walking their own two dogs as we tried to get the dog to hang out with us and chill out for a little bit so we could find the owners. Feeling the “Look at these fucking assholes with their unleashed dog” judgment of a couple walking their own dogs, I called out from way too far away, “No, no, this is not our dog,” which probably didn’t reassure them at all.

But they turned out to be super nice, and after putting their dogs in the car, they snapped a leash on her and we tried to figure out where the dog came from. Eventually, we took the dog back to their place, and later that night they drove around the area where we were walking and found the owners.

Listen, I’m no hero. I’m just doing my job, which is “find dogs.” Is it a sign from the universe or a higher power to get a dog? Maybe, but I genuinely don’t know when it’s going to stop. Should it stop? Sound off in the comments!