Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Evening With Beethoven

Last Tuesday evening as I was leaving with the little girls from ballet class, I saw this guy standing in the middle of the parking lot.  

 I immediately stopped my car got out and looked around to see if someone was going to come running after him.  I assumed he had just gotten away.  There was nobody around, except a man playing with his son in the park about 50 yards away.  I got his attention and asked if it was his dog, but he shook his head no.  Now I didn’t know what to do.  Lana and Georgia were in the van flipping out.  

“Mommy! Who does he belong to? What are you doing with him?? Don’t just leave him there!!”

This was mostly Lana.  Anytime a neighborhood dog gets loose for some reason, Lana always spots it and yells for me.  Then I have to got outside and wrangle it back to whose backyard it escaped from.  If I try to ignore that a dog is running around in our front yard, Lana just about loses her mind.  

“Mommy!  The doggie will get squished by a car!!  You have to put it back!” 

This happens more often than I can tell you with multiple dogs on my block.  My neighbors really need to look into getting better locks on their back gates.  

So there I was looking at this little doggie trying to figure out what to do.  I briefly thought about  leaving him there, but I just couldn’t.  He would get squished by a car he was so little.  I approached him with my hand in a fist for him to smell me.  He was scared, but didn’t growl or back away, so I just picked him up.  He was completely fine with me doing that and he was so light. I could tell he was a sweet dog even though he was mostly a Chihuahua, a type of dog I am not usually a fan of.  He looked like he might be mixed with something else though.  Miniature Pinscher perhaps?  Either way, he was a good dog, and he appeared to be well taken care of.  So he had to belong to someone.

I put him in the van, much to the delight of the girls, and left.  Then I tried to figure out what the hell to do with him.  I had to pick Sonya up from Girl Scouts, run home feed everyone dinner, and get out the door to have Sonya at her baseball game in just over an hour.  There was no way I had time to deal with a stray dog, yet there I was.  

I texted my friend, Cecelia, who volunteers at the Burbank Animal Shelter on the weekends.  I was thinking, maybe he was chipped and the owner was out looking for him.  If I could find out, then I could have this little guy home before bedtime.  

No such luck.  The shelter was already closed for the day.  We were going to have to keep him for the night.  That was going to be fun with the cat, and Andy, who is not really a dog person, and my girls who were already pleading,

“Can we keep him??”

I was thinking the same thing though, because he was so sweet.  We got home and Mercury took one look at him and decided to hate him.  He stalked him for a while and when he realized he was actually bigger than the dog, decided to start chasing him around the kitchen and the living room.  The dog would turn to bark at him from time to time.  It was quite a scene.  So I sent the girls  outside with the little doggie, who they had decided to name Beethoven. 

I’m sure most of you are thinking right now that they named him that after the movie about Beethoven the dog, but no.  They’ve never even seen it.  They named him that because my father-in-law mistakenly (and I’m pretty sure jokingly) calls Mercury that.  So they decided Beethoven would be a perfect name for our dog.  (Their second choice was Jupiter which I personally liked.)  Yes, they thought he was staying despite me telling them many times that he probably had a family that was looking for him, and we needed to find out so he could go home.  They didn't care what name someone else had given him, he was now Beethoven.  

As they were outside playing with him and carrying him around the yard-because he let anyone pick him up and carry him-I called Andy to tell him the situation.  He sounded a bit annoyed but I reiterated "What could I do??!  I couldn't just leave him there!".  He understood, as long as he went to the shelter in the morning.  FINE, WHATEVER!  

I did want to find his home though, so it was the best option.  Since he and Mercury had not become fast friends, I took him with us to Sonya's baseball game where every person there ooohed and aaahed over him and how cute he was.  I told the parents the story and let them know if they heard of a missing dog to contact me.  I put it on Facebook -the King of all happenings on the internet.  By the time we got home from the baseball game I still had Beethoven in tow.  

Mercury continued to stalk him so I decided to put him in Sonya's room for the first part of the night.  Then he slept in our room at the foot of the bed, on Andy's side no less, for the second part of the night.  We shut the door so Mercury would leave him alone.  Now, had we decided to keep him, I would have made them hash it out and I'm sure after a day or so they would be over it.  However since he would hopefully go home the next day, there was no point in putting anyone through the cat/dog anxiety.  

Unfortunately the shelter didn't open until 10am, so I decided to take him to our vet instead and find out if he had the chip.  Turns out he did!!! YAY!  He did have a person he belonged to!  He was chipped!!  All I had to do was wait for them to call me and come claim him and he wouldn't  have to visit the shelter.  

Yeah, except I forget people suck.

I waited for a call, and waited.  After a couple hours I called back the company that does the chipping and talked to them about little Beethoven again.  The woman put me hold to call the owner.  I was hopeful in that two minutes of phone silence, but those hopes were dashed when she came back on the line to tell me the owner said she gave that dog away to someone else a while ago.  I called bullshit.  Well in my head I did.  Then she asked if I wanted the (ex) owner's number to call and talk to her about it.  To say what?  Why the hell would you give such a sweet dog away and did you really give him away or did you leave him in the park you heartless bastard?   No, the only thing to do was head to the shelter and drop him off.  Unfortunately, I had no time to do that before I picked up the two little girls from school.

Who would give up this little guy?

When they saw Beethoven was still with us, they were understandably excited.  The "is he staying?" questions started.  They weren't thrilled when I told them that he was going to the shelter after we had our lunch.  I had to make sure to do it before Sonya got home.  I didn't need three crying girls on my hands.

After lunch, we drove the five minutes to the Burbank Animal Shelter while Lana and Georgia cried in the backseat about wanting to keep Beethoven.  I felt bad.  I wanted to keep him too, but I knew Andy wasn't interested and I know how much work and expense taking care of a dog can be.  I wasn't prepared to try and take that on at the moment.  Not to mention Mercury still wanted to eat him when we left.  

We walked into the shelter and I started telling the women behind the counter my story about finding Beethoven and how sweet he was.  Then one of the women turned and looked at him and said,

"Oh, I know that dog! There was a woman in here yesterday trying to give him up, but she was from Toluca Lake and we told her we couldn't take him."   Then she shook her head in disgust as she realized what the woman had done.  

"I swear I found him in the park," I began.

"Oh-I believe you," she assured me.

Then I realized also what had happened.  See-the Burbank Animal Shelter is technically a no-kill shelter in that they won't kill an animal just because it's been there a month and they have no room.  Eventually, if an animal has been there for over a year or two, they tend to get stir crazy and go a little nutty being cooped up in a cage for most of the day.  So if they get to that point and are deemed unadoptable, then they will have to put them down.   However, they get a LONG chance before that happens.  Most of the other shelters  just don't have the room and will put a dog down after a month or so.  Because of this Burbank Animal Shelter will only accept animals from Burbank residents only.  Or if someone just leaves a box of kittens in front of their door as someone did with Mercury and his sisters and brothers.  

Since the woman who tried to give up Beethoven, did not have a Burbank address, they wouldn't take him.  So her solution was to drop him off in a Burbank park, where some sucker would pick him up and either keep him, or take him to the shelter.  Hi.  I'm the sucker.  

Now there were two thoughts here, the first one being "well at least she tried to get him into the good shelter."  The other one, however was "HE COULD HAVE BEEN SQUISHED BEFORE ANYONE GOT TO HIM!! I CAN'T BELIEVE SHE LEFT HIM IN A PARK!!"  What is wrong with people?

I shouldn't judge.  I don't know anything about this woman and her life and why she had to give up this dog.  It certainly wasn't because he was aggressive, because he was one of the sweetest dogs I'd ever met.  Especially for being part Chihuahua.  I've met some pretty nasty, snarly, ones in that breed.  But if you are going to take on having a pet, you should know you are taking it on for at least 15 or so years.  It's not something fun to just have until you get bored with it.  It upsets me the amount of animals that are in the shelters across the country.  Did no one listen to Bob Barker??

Well, after handing over my license for them to write my information down and signing a form, we left Beethoven behind in the very capable hands of the people at the shelter.  The woman I was talking to was great.  She assured me that they would have no problem adopting him out, because he was little and sweet.  

"I know you guys name the dogs while they're here if you don't already know their names, I said.  "Is there anyway you can name him Beethoven?  My girls have been calling him that since yesterday."  

She told me if they couldn't get in touch with the owner to find out his real name she would make a note of it.  Then as she picked him up to take him in the back she said,

"I should have just taken you yesterday, little guy."

"Yes",  I told her, "but at least now he went through the proper channels."  Not to mention it gave me something to write about.  

The girls were upset again when we got back in the car, so I took them to get the one thing that makes everything better, ice cream.  They did feel better after that but even now, a week later, they are still talking about Beethoven.  We didn't even have him for 24 hours! 

 I have to admit I kinda got attached too.  I do want a dog.  And I know the girls do.  All I have to do is convince the husband.  Or just sneak Beethoven back in and pretend he's been here the whole time. Andy doesn't have the best memory, so it's a possibility.  As long as Mercury doesn't try to eat him we should be all good!

Before school they wanted a picture before he left.  

Quick footnote: Anyone living in the L.A area looking for a great little dog, the Burbank Animal Shelter will have him up for adoption on April 15th.  I would love if someone I know took him.  Just promise me you will name him Beethoven.  (Or Jupiter)


Lindz said...

We had a similar event with a small white fluffy dog. The girls named him Marshmallow. He was not chipped so we had him overnight. When we left in the morning to go to school, the neighborhood was plastered with his photo and lost dog. We were able to return him to his Mommy. We have a neighbor down the street that takes in all the found dogs, she has around 8 at any given time.

Hollyhome said...

We did this a few times. I posted Craigslist ads and found a new home myself...sad cuz the dog stayed for over a week. But here in Hollyhood people leave litters of kittens and puppies at the POST OFFICE!?!?!
In this case...go get him back. I am a firm believer sometimes a dog choses his family! Who knows a dog you choose may not be as perfect of a fit...
Tell Andy it's my fault (although I don't think that would matter. HA!)