There was a strange dog without a person at the park today. She was square-headed and solid black; maybe there was some mastiff or rottweiler in her, and she wore a hideous pink jacket with a brown, turned-back collar and pockets that looked like it had been salvaged out of an old child’s coat. She wandered about, playing with the dogs that came and went, but still staying around the park area until I left with my two much smaller dogs, when she followed us. The last time a dog tried to come home with us, Jilly got quite ugly and let that dog know that it was not welcome in our pack, but neither she nor Kieran minded this black dog at all. She kept scraping herself against bushes and rolling, trying to get rid of the jacket she was wearing, and after we had walked several blocks, I realized that she had decided to adopt us.
I recently saw a wonderful but horribly sad movie, “Wendy and Lucy,” about a girl and her dog with no home but their car. They’re on their way to Alaska when the car breaks down in Portland and Lucy, the dog, gets lost. It was heartbreaking, and I kept thinking, what if this dog belongs to someone like that? Not a far-fetched possibility in these times. We turned around and headed back to the park, and the dog was delighted when I took the jacket off, which by now was somewhere between sideways and upside down. A lady with two pugs tried calling the humane society, but it was closed.
The lady next door has a backyard abutting the park, and she said she’d put the dog in her yard where the owner could see her. Once that was done, I leashed up my dogs again and started to leave. The poor dog was right up against the fence, wanting to come with us and I knew I’d be back first thing in the morning to see if she was still there.
This story has a happy ending. I was barely out of the park when a man came riding an old bicycle across the grass, and I called to him, “Is that your black dog?” “Where?” he yelled back. I showed him the dog in the back yard… “Yes, it’s my dog, Karma!” We opened the gate, and they were reunited. Karma was overjoyed, and so was I.