Sigh – it’s happened again. Blondie, the Queen of All Yard Sales, went out prospecting last Saturday morning to the neighborhood on the opposite side of Stahl Road, and returned with a very cute stuffed bear (practically new!) who sat in his own (cheap but cute!) upholstered armchair, which was for sale for the OMG-have-to-have-it price of a whole $3!

And there was another item, accompanying her, upon this expeditionary trip into another neighborhood: something live, black-furred, wiggly and friendly. A small and relatively well-kept dog, about twenty pounds at a guess, somewhat gray about the muzzle – which Blondie found, running around in the street, a heavily-trafficked suburban street adjacent to the yard sale – a venue which could easily spell death to small dogs.

We’ve rescued a number of dogs, in our residence here – mostly lost, and now and again dumped. We can read the whole sad story in their demeanor and behavior. Someone gets a cute puppy, puppy grows up, becomes a handful and not so cute, someone decides not to want to cope with it any longer . . . short drive to a likely neighborhood, a quick dump out the door . . . and the problem dog becomes someone else’s problem. I wish we could put people like this in the stocks, so we could throw rotten vegetables at them. Better yet – dump them in a strange town, completely naked and gagged, and let them fend for themselves and find their way home. Dogs are . . . well, they are dogs. Thousands of years ago – wolves who decided to throw their lot in with us, to look to us as the leader of their pack of one or two. The love of a dog is the only kind of love that money buys – and sometimes a love that is horribly misplaced.

Why, oh why do we always seem to undertake these rescue missions on weekends? No collar, no tags. He (definitely he and neutered) is about 20 pounds, black fur with a grizzled grey chin. Mixed breed – almost certainly part Shih-tzu, for the body conformation is the right size and confirmation, although I think there must be something else in the genetic mix. He has a long muzzle, and the veterinarian’s assistant who regretfully turned up no chip guesses Maltese, or Maltese-poodle-Shih-tzu. He is inclined to be glued to whichever one of us is working at a computer, and lays quietly under the desk, unless provoked by a cat. This is what lap-dogs do, they want to be near their chosen person – He isn’t chipped, no collar, no tags. No one has papered the neighborhood looking for him. I’ve put his picture on a couple of local lost and found websites, but no one recognizes him. He was well-cared for, healthy, fairly clean, well-mannered, obedient and affectionate … the only rationale we can come up with is that perhaps he belonged to an older person, who either passed on, or was moved into a nursing home, and the next of kin just didn’t want to botherIn the meantime, we have another dog about the house. We will make one last stab at finding his owner this weekend, by going for a walk with the dogs in the neighborhood where Blondie found him – which will probably prove to be fruitless, for no one is papering that neighborhood with posters of him.

I confess – I have rather missed the rapid clicky-clicky-clicky-nails sound of a small dog’s toenails, as they follow me about the house. Another neighbor presented us with a barely used pet-bed – the kind with the removeable cover, over a heavy foam base. We washed it all, and put it under my desk, and there he is, every day after I work. He’s there now.

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