He’s Rocky, for now

On Friday afternoon, I and my training partner set off for a run. I say “partner” in the sense that we start our runs at the same time but, per her preference, do not actually run together much of the time. And I say “training” as though the ambitious limping I do for about an hour at a pop these days represents anything greater than a rehearsal for the even more ugly limping I’ll be lucky to do as I skate further into my fifth decade.

Anyway, I set out toward the east on this trail while my partner-of-sorts headed west, each of us planning to do 30 minutes out and 30 back. I turned around a little early out of boredom, and as I drew within a half-mile of the starting point a young-looking dog ambled hesitantly out of a nearby thicket and started toward me. I immediately pegged him as homeless, and not just because we were near the equivalent of this city’s ‘hood. He was thin (but not slat-sided), not neutered, collarless, and trusting in that “someone who looked kind of like that gave me a bite to eat recently” way. So I switched off my MP3 player, which had been playing “Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh, and greeted him formally.

I kept trotting toward the place where we’d parked, which was one of many “stations” along this paved trail. The dog, who was clearly either a Boxer or a mutt with lots of Boxer in him, kept pace. He had nothing around his neck but a shoelace, and I was worried that his veers toward the nearby main drag would take him into traffic, so I grabbed this makeshift leash and led him toward the station. Once there, I was able to get him some water. I was also trying to figure out what to do next. My partner would not be back for about half an hour and she had the keys to the car. All I had was a hat, shorts, socks, sunglasses, shoes, an MP3 player and a dog. Standing still, I was bound to get chilly soon and I had no shirt. But I didn’t want to just run off. I decided to take the dog to the police station a half mile further along. I was recalling my partner’s mention of being followed the previous day for a couple of miles by a stray dog, but reckoned it wasn’t this one because unfortunately the area features quite a few stray animals.

When I got to the PD it was closed because of a holiday, presumably Good Friday. But there was a call box outside and I used it to call dispatch. The dispatcher said that an officer would be by by and by, and by golly he was right — about 10 minutes later a bored-looking young patrolman came strolling toward me less-than-purposefully and carrying a Big Gulp soda. I told him where and when I’d found the dog, who was sitting patiently at my feet. In short order the cop called his supervisor, who told him to call Animal Control. At this point my partner came into view and I flagged her down. As it happens, this was the same dog she’d encountered the day before. She suggested bringing the dog to her house for the night and then turning him over to the proper authorities. This made even more sense when Animal Control got back to the cop and said they couldn’t come out until Saturday morning anyway. (Obviously this gang is either very busy or incompetent.)

On the way back, I stopped and got a collar, a leash and a few cans of wet food. The people I’m visiting don’t have any dogs but they do have six cats, all of them rescue creatures, and the first order of business was clearing them out of the way so that the dog wouldn’t cause problems merely by dint of being around. As it happened he turned out to have surprisingly little abiding interest in the cats, which didn’t keep them from staring and hissing. (If cats were people, they’d be paranoid right-wingers driving cars plastered with NRA stickers.) He ate a can of food and then I took him to “my” room. He fell asleep pretty quickly — who knew how long he’d been out walking around without respite? — and that was that. I had already taken to calling him Rocky because of the song I’d been listening to when I found him, or vice versa (“Joe Walsh” seemed lame).

I’ll finish this up and add a few more pics on Monday afternoon, when I’ll know more about where this fella’s headed. Sadly, I am not in a position to take him in. But that hasn’t discouraged me from teaching him a few things and giving him more hugs than is good for my own mental health.

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