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Last night, Max and I went to the nearby county park for our daily walk.
At the end of our walk, as we approached the exit, a medium-sized, black dog came walking in.
All by himself.
He was wearing a ratty old blue collar, but he didn’t have any tags.
He appeared to be very friendly, but, just to be safe, I picked Max up.
He walked a couple of hundred feet into the park, went pee, and then started to slowly wander around that same area.
Thinking he was someone’s pet who had gotten away, I called him to come to me, hoping to grab his collar.
He seemed kind of scared, and mostly ignored me, until I said, “Hey, bud — come !”
As soon as he heard that command, he came right to me.
Unfortunately, just as I leaned over to snap Max’s leash onto his collar, Max barked at him, and he quickly backed out of reach.
But I had gotten close enough for me to see that he was soaking wet.
It had been thunderstorming on and off all day, and raining hard for the past few hours.
It was obvious that he had been out in that rain.
One of my neighbors was nearby, walking her two dogs, and, with his tail wagging, Bud approached her dogs.
I called out to her, to ask her to see if she could catch him.
So, when he got close enough, she managed to grab his collar, and I quickly leashed him, while I continued to carry Max over to them.
Crouching down, I began to gently pet Bud, look him in the eyes and, in a calm, soothing voice, I told him “You’re a good, good boy.”
It was amazing. As soon as I started petting his head, the fear instantly rushed out of his eyes and was replaced with a relieved “Oh, you’re my friend!” look.
A few seconds later, he leaned closer and gave me several warm kisses on my face.
Bud’s old blue collar was way too big for him, and couldn’t be made any smaller, so, hoping that he wouldn’t slip out of it, I walked home with Max in my arms and a very enthusiastic, very stinky Bud at the end of Max’s leash.
Standing inside our garage with Max in my arms and Bud at the end of Max’s leash, I opened the door from our garage to our kitchen and called for my wife to come over.
I handed Max to her, told her what had happened, and asked her to call the county animal control office, to have them come and pick up Bud.
When she called, animal control told her that, because it was after hours, we would have to take him to their un-staffed drop-off building and leave him in one of its pens, and they would get him out of the drop-off building later.
I walked Bud back to the pedestrian entrance to the park, to get my car and take him to the drop-off building.
But, when we were about 100 feet from my car, I saw a woman walking a large black dog about two houses away.
So I called out to her, hoping that she might know whose dog he was.
To make a long story short(er), it turned out that she didn’t know whose dog he was, and neither did any of the people that she called. But she and several other neighbors had seen him running around the neighborhood for several hours in the rain that day, and they had all felt sorry for him and tried to catch him.
Unfortunately, he had eluded everyone.
As we talked, and I spent more time with Bud, I realized that I wasn’t really in any hurry to drop him off at the animal control building.
So Bud and I got in my car — he was happy to jump in and sit on the front passenger seat — and drove back to my house.
Along with a bright green collar and lead, I borrowed a large dog crate (and large pillow and sheet and rubber ball and stuffed duck toy) from neighbors Mike and Annamarie, and set it all up for Bud in our garage.
Regular readers may remember that Annamarie is the good soul who rescued Scooter exactly three years ago.
Bud was happy to go into the crate.
He was happy to be dry.
He was happy to drink lots of water.
But, I think, mostly, he was happy to be with someone who was nice to him.
With a box fan blowing cooler night air into the garage, and a boombox playing calming lite FM music, Bud relaxed in our garage all night long.
No barking. No crying. No problems.
Just a happy, grateful dog.
I checked on him at least once every hour, all night long.
And, every time I did, he would lift his head slightly, wag his tail with happiness and then fall back asleep.
Several times, I opened the door of his crate and reached in to pet him.
Each time, he kissed my hand, and several times, he rolled onto his side and raised his upper leg, to let me rub his chest and belly.
And, every time I got close enough to him, he kissed my face.
Today was my day off of work.
So, at 7:30 AM, in no hurry to take Bud to the animal control office, I took him to our vet instead.
They said he appeared to be a mix between a Labrador Retriever and a Boston Terrier.
He weighed 39 pounds.
By checking his brilliantly white teeth, they said that he’s still a puppy — and probably about a year old.
They scanned him, to see if he was microchipped.
Then they clipped his nails and gave him worm medicine inside of doggy treats, to kill any internal parasites that he might have.
And they talked nice to him and gave him lots of love.
So, of course, he gave them lots of kisses.
By the way, they refused to let me pay them anything.
When we got home from the vet, I called the SPCA, the Humane Society and the county animal control office, to register a “Found” report with each of them, in case Bud’s owners call any of those places, looking for him.
The first thing I discovered is that the SPCA and the Humane Society are happy to accept unwanted pets.
And sick or injured animals.
But they don’t accept healthy stray animals.
Instead, they ask that you take healthy stray animals to the county animal control office.
The same place that I had planned to drop off Bud last night.
But, now I’m really, really glad that I decided to keep him last night instead.
Because, this morning, I also learned something else.
The county animal control office only keeps stray animals for 72 hours before they kill them.
Late this morning, I gave Bud a bath in our driveway. He stoically stood still while I soaked him with our garden hose and repeatedly lathered him up with Selsun Blue shampoo, leaving it on for 15 minutes at a time, just as the vet technicians had advised, to help heal the strip of dry skin going down his spine.
After his bath, he was clean and shiny.
And very handsome.
And he smelled really good.
So I took him for a walk around the block, hoping that we might meet someone who would know something about where he belongs.
That’s when I found out the truth about him.
One of my neighbors told me that she had been jogging in the park yesterday morning, and had seen a white man in a nice-looking car throw Bud out his car window and loudly swear at him — “dumping” him at the entrance to the park, to die (probably by the pack of coyotes that lives there).
So that explains why Max and I found Bud near the entrance to the park last night.
Because, even though there were thunderstorms on and off all day long, and our neighbors had seen Bud running around our neighborhood in the rain, when it started getting dark, he had returned to the spot where he had been dumped.
Hoping to find the man who had yelled and sworn at him.
And had abandoned him there to be killed and eaten by the park’s coyotes.
As I write this, Bud is happily sleeping in the large crate in our garage.
And that’s where he’s going to stay for now.
Feeling happy and secure and getting lots of love and attention.
While everyone we know tries to find a really good home for him.
Because he’s a really good, good boy.
Who knows how to “come” and “sit” on command.
And is crate-trained.
And peacefully sleeps through loud thunderstorms.
And walks well on a leash.
And is calm and patient.
And loves other dogs.
And has lots of love and kisses for anyone who is nice to him.
Update: Here are some Bud updates .
Update: Here’s a video that I made of Bud .
Update: Bud now has his own music video: Everybody Needs A Bud .
Update: Bud found his forever home!
Below are some photos of Bud (with neighbor Mike):
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