The first night, part 1

The first night with Rufus started off well. He got along with Sophie and wanted to play with the big bone. Sophie stayed in her standard guard mode, sitting directly in front of me while watch him with fascination. She’s part pit, part Australian Cattle Dog so when she needs to protect the flock, she means business. But she was willing to play.

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I contacted some nearby friends who have rescued lots of dogs in their time. They found this whole thing hilarious. I’d been talking about getting second dog, and was actually awaiting word on a pocket pointer from Texas. Word was coming in very slowly. I was not going to get three dogs. My friend Morriah said that the Texas rescue would understand – but I still felt a bit guilty. Fortunately the pointer was in a wonderful foster situation so there were no concerns for her safety.

If I adopted this alley mutt. Which I was not going to do. I’d foster him. That’s it.

But this first night required a few things: where was he going to sleep? I took him to PetSmart and picked out a crate that seemed to fit him. Around $80 but I’d use it for future fosters as well! Whatever. I was already feeling tired. This guy had a lot of energy.

Went back to the house and stuck him in the crate. He hated it. Like really hated it. Cry, bark, whine, lather, rinse, repeat. Of course he did. He was an untrained puppy.

After an hour or so my head couldn’t take it, so I let him out. He ran to Sophie.

Alley stray

I created this site to tell the tales of Rufus, my year old Rottweiler mix whom I rescued from a life of stray wanderings in an alley.

On April 13, 2016 I was nearly home from my 45 minute commute through town. At the edge of an alley that was close to my street I saw a little black dog sitting and watching the world. He definitely looked alert to the on-goings (which were not terribly exciting). I knew I hadn’t seen him before. A┬ávoice inside told me to check out this guy out. He had a collar and leash but no people around him. I decided to get to my house first and let my dog out first. On our walk, if this guy was still milling about, then I would make an effort to see who he was.

I got a little lazy and it took me about an hour to get my girl Sophie out for a walk. She remained patient but got my butt up and out the door. As we rounded the first corner I saw the same black dog at the alley again. Sophie looked at him and barked, and he barked back. He clearly hadn’t gone anywhere and nobody had gone looking for him in the past hour.

I took an amped-up and soon-to-be pissed off Sophie back to the house so I could try and see what this people-free dog was all about. On my first try he ran away and I followed him for about a block. Some neighbors were out. I asked if they knew who the dog was and nobody could say. One man warned me to be careful while another said she’d seen him for “three days now.” Looking back I think that may have been an exaggeration – I walk Sophie twice a day and hadn’t seen any dog looking like this stray, but I could be totally wrong.

In this time I called Animal Control and reported a stray black dog, about thirty pounds running through our neighborhood. They responded, “Great! We’ll be there in an hour.” I felt like a responsible citizen.

I walked around the block, going through the alley behind my house and then across the street to the alley where I first saw him. Another neighbor was trying to get him to come over but the little guy was too skittish. The neighbor brought out a few biscuits and his very old lab as enticements. He was clearly hungry and he went for a biscuit. I managed to snag his leash on the third try. The neighbor gave me a few biscuits to keep the little guy following me, and it turned out I needed them.

“He looks like a Rufus,” I thought on the way home. “No naming!” I chastised myself immediately, knowing where this would lead.

He remained interested in the biscuits and had the final one before we got to my back gate. Approaching it, he suddenly cowered. He refused to move. I crunched down to pet him, and he scooched behind my feet. He let me pet him but he was clearly terrified of being taken to a new spot. We waited there for a few minutes, basically until my legs got tired of crouching. I tried pulling him along and he reluctantly came with me. At this time I could hear Sophie barking her head off inside.

I closed the gate behind me and tied up Rufus – not his name yet but we were getting close. Then I brought out Sophie. This would be the test. She got along with everyone so if she didn’t like this dog we were in for a rough night.

In the first five seconds of them meeting, they were sniffing and wiggling. I untied him and they ran all over the back yard.

I called Animal Control to let them know the stray was now at my house and to please come over to fetch him. They said, “Sure!” Not twenty minutes later they called me back to say, “We are really overwhelmed at the moment. Could you keep him overnight?”

Keep a puppy in my house overnight? A puppy who gets along with my dog? And then hand him over to the authorities? Do you know what you are asking?

“OK,” I said.