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How to Catch a Stray Dog | Or How Not to Catch a Stray Dog
The blog moved! Click to join us at Wendy-Nielsen.com

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

January 24, 2012

Damn you Clare Boothe Luce and your “no good deed goes unpunished” black cloud that is hanging over us tonight. Damn, what a day. I’m not trying to get too dramatic here but I haven’t experience a range of emotions like I did today in – thankfully – quite a while. January 23rd = a fourth birthday, dinosaurs fossils, a dog I’ve nicknamed “Pre,” and a visit to urgent care.


The morning started off wonderfully fun. It was our little one’s fourth birthday and just after 7:00 am she was riding her new Barbie bicycle in the house as the weather finally decided to act like January and not July. The rain also meant our trip to Disneyland would have to be postponed for another day. Instead, we decided to head north towards Los Angeles for a day at the Natural History Museum to check out the amazing dinosaur fossils and exhibit after exhibit of preserved mammals. It was actually a lot of fun – with the exception that even though it had been raining on and off all morning we didn’t think about bringing an umbrella. All three of us were completely rain soaked and the museum gift shop cashed in when we bought sweatshirts and an umbrella for the road.

Next was an unplanned jaunt across the street to the USC campus for a coffee and a look-see in the bookstore. Upon crossing Exposition Blvd. I see a wet and injured dog scurrying around some hedges far too close to a very busy street. “OH MY GOD! WE HAVE TO GET HIM!”

Our first problem: our car is parked in the museum parking lot. IF we did get the dog to come to us how would we get him back to the car? Second problem: we didn’t have a leash. Third problem: It’s starting to rain. Hard. Fourth problem: We have nothing to lure him out of the bushes. Fifth problem: What are we going to do with this dog if we did successfully save him?

The poor thing is shivering in the bushes and is scared to death when we try to approach him. Luckily, the bushes were surrounded by a 3-foot high wall so we knew he was contained in the space – for now. I had the brilliant idea of running down to the bookstore knowing I could grab a USC collar and leash there and maybe something to entice the poor pup.

My hubs and girl stood watch while I jammed across campus to get what we needed. {Side note: must start exercising regularly because the half-ass jog I was attempting almost killed me}. $110 got me a collar, leash, blanket, and roast beef sandwich. Oh, and another umbrella because now it’s really coming down and I left the other one with the dog watchers.

I get back and rip open the sandwich. My husband treks back into the shrubbery and within thirty seconds shouts “he’s coming your way!” The poor dog was cornered – and scared – and jumps the 3-foot wall and is off heading back towards the museum and four lanes of traffic. I’m screaming “NO PUPPY!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

I immediately break down in tears. The dog makes it safely across Exposition Blvd. and takes off out of sight. The three of us are standing there, soaking wet, with $100 worth of dog gear and no dog.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been presented with helping a stray dog and have failed. It happened just a few weeks ago in my own neighborhood and I drove around and jumped out of my car like a million times trying to swoop up a little Yorkie that eventually got out of my reach and I had to rationalize my failure with “at least I tried.”

We head back to our car and as we reach the lot I see the little dog about 200 yards down the street – IN the street! And I also see a bunch of people just walking by like they don’t see the pup hobbling around on three legs.  My hubs takes off and luckily there’s a huge grassy area that we’re both hoping the damn dog runs towards but nope he instead jams out into the street where a car nearly misses both the dog and my husband. But my hubs is a runner y’all and he gets his hands on that pooch but the dog is wet and he slips right out.

I stood there with my four year old and watched my husband just slightly trail the incarnation of Steve Prefontaine. You’d never believe that dog was running on only three good legs.

I give my hubs the shoulder shrug and now believe we really did try. What else could we do except hope someone else sees him and tries picking up him. This of course if he makes it back across the four lanes of traffic.

You’ll never believe what happened next.  Come find out tomorrow.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

kathleen January 24, 2012 at 6:05 am

Oh NO. What a day. And the worst part is that you now have all of that USC stuff (my husband and I went to grad school at Notre Dame 😉 My husband is a runner, too… is yours running Beach Cities? If so, maybe we can meet for coffee after drop-off?


Mama Bub January 24, 2012 at 7:26 am

You went way above and beyond in the pouring rain, lady! Looking forward to tomorrow!


Ashley January 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

Next time, call the SPCA :-) They will come take care of it. :-) Cheaply. But I can kind of see you guys running around in the pouring rain… hate to say it makes for some amusing visuals :-)


Sara @ Periwinkle Papillon January 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

don’t leave me hanging like that!!!!!! Is everyone OK? Why the URGENT care??


Maegan January 24, 2012 at 8:38 am

Ho. Lee. Crap.


Jennifer Probst January 26, 2012 at 8:23 am

You have to tell me what happened! Kudos for you to take the time and effort to help – this has happened to me twice before and the animal always ends up running away so I suck at it too but I always TRY. That is key…oh, please tell what happens!


Ali January 26, 2012 at 8:25 am

You should switch to rescuing turtles. But I already know what happens. I saw your instagram picture 😉
You’re a good lady!


Wendy January 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Aw, thanks! Yep, something far slower…turtles, spiders. Ha!


Leigh Ann January 26, 2012 at 8:25 am

The suspense! The name Pre is genius. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve come across stray dogs in my neighborhood, usually while walking my at the time baby twins, which made it even harder. But I’ve luckily always had a happy ending with a found owner. Can’t wait to see what’s next!


Wendy January 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

I LOVE Pre. No one else thinks it’s a good name so thanks for the support!


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