On Sunday I had to stay for an extra 1 1/2 hours after church to play the organ for the spanish congregation. By the time I pulled up to our street, I only had about half an hour before I had to turn around and go back for choir practice. I really needed to get something to eat before I went back. As I was turning the corner on to our street, I saw two little dogs playing in the grass at the school. I couldn't see any owners nearby, so figured someone's dogs got out.
I was so hungry and tired, and really didn't feel like dealing with someone's dogs. But then I remembered a story my neighbor often tells. When she was a teenager, she had two shelties. They are dogs that look like a small collie. One morning as she was leaving for work she had a feeling that she should go check on them. But she was rushed, so she didn't. Later that day, when she came home from work, she found that they had been hit by a car.
A day or two passed and she saw a neighbor of hers. The neighbor said, "I saw your dogs out the other morning, but I didn't stop." My neighbor said, "Oh, well they're dead....." She still feels anger that her neighbor didn't stop and try to help.
So, I pulled my car in to a driveway and started to turn around to go check on the dogs. As I was doing that, I was thinking about the dogs I had seen, and realized that I recognized them. One of them had just been groomed, so that was why I hadn't recognized him right off. He is a toy poodle. The other is a miniature greyhound. He had been bent over smelling something, and from a distance had looked like a chihuahua. I drove back and called his name, and sure enough, he came running. (Isn't it funny that I know the names of everyone's dogs, although not the names of the owners? lol)
The people in this neighborhood take their dogs up to the school yard every day at the same time to let them play together. I realized it was about that time, and thought maybe the owners were there, but that the dogs had just snuck out the gate without anyone noticing. So I called them and they followed me in to the school yard. The owners weren't there, but there were other neighbors there who had cell phones to call the owners. As soon as they took over, I made my escape to go get some food before I had to leave.
What I found out later is that the greyhound's owner was recently widowed. This dog is the only "family" she has left. She had asked her next door neighbor (toy poodle owners) to watch him for her. Both dogs had gotten out and gone exploring together.
I tell you this to encourage you to stop when you see a dog out. It might just be another animal to you, but it might be something much more to the owner. Of course you would never want to put yourself at risk, but if the dog is friendly, check their collar to see if there is a phone number you can call. My dog's tag has my number on it. You may be tired like I was, but it will mean the world to someone else. I think that woman has thanked me almost very day since this happened.