We live maybe five or ten minutes from Giant, and pass it on our way to just about anywhere, so we often make quick stops on the way home for whatever we need at the moment. A jug of milk, a block of cheese, a case of Mountain Dew…you know, the essentials. This usually keeps us going for awhile, but every so often we need to do a full clip-the-coupons, make-the-list, pack-the-cart type trip. Life being what it is, occasionally this ends up meaning Andi clips the coupons and makes the list at night, and I head to the store after the girls are in bed. Every once in a while, for whatever reason, I don’t get out the door until 10 or 10:30, and Giant closes at 11:00. We know it’s pushing it, and that I’ll probably end up annoying some cashier or other for being kept late, but sometimes there’s just No Other Way To Do It.
Okay, so Safeway’s just as close in the other direction and they’re open an hour later, but I don’t know that store as well yet and it takes me two to three times as long to find things. I’ve got Giant down pretty well.
Anyway, two nights ago was one of those nights. We got the girls to bed, and Andi still had some work to do getting the list and coupons together, so I made a few phone calls I had to make. By the time we were both done, it was past 10:30. Ack! I grabbed my coat and all the shopping stuff, reminded Andi that my cell phone was charging so she wouldn’t be able to reach me, heard her say she was heading to bed anyway, and headed out the door in a mad rush.
As I’m driving down one of the main roads in our community, I suddenly see a small animal up ahead in my headlights. Large cat, small dog, raccoon? Hmm…it’s not running out of the way, it’s coming toward me…better slow down and pull over…it came over almost in front of my car…dumb dog. A beagle, to be exact — a young male beagle with no collar, running about at night in under-twenty-degree weather. Escaped, kicked out, stray? I had no idea, but at the rate he was going he’d be roadkill before long. What to do? Almost instinctively I reached for my pocket. D’oh! No cell phone. After glancing around and finding no handy way to tie him up while I figured out what to do, I let him jump into my car and took him home.
The cats were of course thrilled with the visitor, which is to say Katie ran upstairs and Keesha sat just on the other side of the child gate, back arched, tail poofed, a low growl in her throat and a ready paw in case the beast got too close. The dog, on the other hand, was so relieved to be in a warm house that he just relaxed and let the warmth soak in. *Ahem* which is to say that he tore around the first floor like crazy, running and stopping and sniffing and Ooo, a toy! and No, that’s a cat toy, put that down! and sniffing and running and Ooo, another toy! and No, that’s a baby toy, put that down! and running and Cats! and yelping and Quiet! and Is that food on the counter? and Get down from there! and He’s so cute! and No! and running and sniffing and slobbering and…
So Andi calls Animal Control to see what’s to be done, and finds out that the Animal Wardens are only out during the day. So unless it’s an emergency (I’m guessing of the rattlesnake-in-my-bed variety), she was told we had two options — drive him to the animal shelter ourselves, where there are drop-off cages for just such a purpose, or keep him at home overnight until they could come pick him up in the morning. (Quick glance at the dog…running and sniffing and yelping and jumping and chewing and…) Right. Where’s the shelter?
Internally I was kind-of conflicted about this, though. Don’t shelters euthanize if the animal isn’t claimed in a certain amount of time? Am I sentencing this cute little guy, spazzy freak though he is, to death simply because his doggy curiosity led him to my car? But it was quite obvious that he couldn’t stay in our house overnight, and we didn’t see any other options.
So it was that I found myself driving nearly to Quantico at midnight with a random beagle in my passenger seat, found the shelter, filled out the paper, put the dog in the cage (which was outside anyway, so that didn’t help much, but at least he wouldn’t get himself run over), drove home (stopping by 7-Eleven on the way to pick up orange juice), and finally rolled into bed around 1:30.
Last night I got to annoy a cashier at Giant. 😉
Yesterday Andi called the shelter and found out that this one doesn’t euthanize if the animal isn’t claimed, but puts it up for adoption instead. So that’s all good. But now there’s an awful lot of dog hair on my car seat…