This morning I was rolling happily along to work on a four-lane divided highway where the speed limit is 55mph and most people do 65, when the car a ways ahead of me slammed on its brakes, turned on its hazard lights, and then swerved. Around a dog. A freakin ginormous yellow dog who was standing smack in the middle of the right-hand northbound lane, watching the car swerving around him and the more cars approaching with a “My, how interesting this is” look on his face.
There is a saying I have at times like this, brief and to the point, which encapsulates a whole complex range of feelings and covers the concept that my day is about to get more complicated because whatever else happens, I am going to have to get an animal out of the situation it is in and into a better one. That saying is “Well, shit.”
So I stopped my car and noticed with deep gratitude that a good ol’ boy in a big battered pickup truck had pulled into the left-hand lane and stopped, blocking traffic there. I made a silent apology to the commuter traffic backing up behind me, and I briefly considered the three ways this situation could go:
1) the dog could be fearful, in which case I needed to step out in front of that pickup truck and try to approach him from as far to the left as I could get, so that if he ran it would be towards the woods beside the road and not towards the southbound lanes of traffic;
2) the dog could be aggressive, in which case I needed to step out in front of that pickup truck and stay as far away as I could while attempting to head him toward the woods, with the distinct possibility that I might wind up scrambling into the bed of the truck to get away from the dog;
3) the dog could be friendly, in which case I could get him in the car, enlisting the help of other motorists as necessary since they probably wanted me and the good ol’ boy to stop blocking the road.
Having briefly run these scenarios, with the dog still standing there watching my car with a relaxed and alert expression, I got out and stepped out in front of the pickup truck, trying to watch the dog without looking tense, and said “Hey, buddy! You wanna go for a ride?”
Oh boy did he want to go for a ride. He came right to me, which is when I noticed that while his back and sides were clean, his underside, legs, and face looked like he’d been playing in mud puddles and also that while he was wearing a collar for an underground fence, it didn’t have any damn tags on it, and when I opened the back of my car he jumped right in. I made apologetic and grateful faces at the traffic behind me, slammed the back of the car, jumped in myself, and started down the road with this ENORMOUS yellow Lab, a hundred pounds easy, trying to stick his tongue in my ear. I effectively discouraged that behavior, and he rested his huge head on my shoulder. His huge, muddy head. On my shoulder, which was wearing a white shirt. Jesus wept.
Then my passenger decided he didn’t want to ride in back, he wanted to ride in the passenger seat, so there I was driving down the road trying to hold a hundred pound dog in the back of my car with one arm while he leaned progressively more and more weight on it. I finally barked “BACK!” and he jumped back in the back of the car and looked so despondent that I told him it was OK, I wasn’t really mad, at which point he came back up and stuck his tongue in my ear. Again. And so it went for the last few miles to my office, where I left him in the car (thankfully it was heavily overcast and 70 degrees, so he was safe enough for a few minutes) and ran upstairs to look up Animal Control’s information, which is where I found out that 1) they didn’t open until 1000 and 2) they don’t take animals from out-of-county people anyway.
Meanwhile, I looked out my window at my car to see that my huge, wet, muddy, and hairy passenger had moved to the driver’s seat. Argh. I looked up veterinarians in the area and tried them, thinking they could hold onto him (and might even recognize him) but none of them were open. Sigh. So I made one last desperate gamble and called my co-worker Matt. Matt likes dogs. Matt also lives in the county we work in. I didn’t get him on his cell phone but five minutes later he pulled into the parking lot and I said “OMG HELP.” and pointed at the dog.
Long, dramatic story made short, Matt took the dog, called the sheriff’s office, got someone to meet him at Animal Control, and dropped the big goofball off with them, where hopefully he will be reunited with his family, who will get a better fence. Later that morning I called both vet clinics and asked them to put notices up about him, then posted a Found Dog notice with the local rescue group. I’ve given him the best shot I could manage, with an assist from Matt (I bought him lunch to say thank you). Fingers crossed.
ETA: I am so upset about this. I was sure he was someone’s dog and they’d be looking for him, but here he is on PetFinder. He needs a person or people who will take him in, get him neutered, keep him off the road, and oh yeah get him chipped and put some tags on him. Fingers crossed that someone can help!
 OH MY GOD I WILL NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT ZILLEKINS AND HER SHEDDING AGAIN, SERIOUSLY. THIS DOG’S HAIR WAS TWO OR THREE TIMES AS LONG AS HERS AND HE WAS TRYING TO SHED ENOUGH OF IT TO REUPHOLSTER MY CAR. MY POOR, POOR CAR WHICH MAY NEVER BE THE SAME.