This is Zoe. She is our chocolate lab. I don't know if I've written about her here before . . . Anyway.
Whenever we go to do errands or to a park or somewhere we can't take her with, we leave her in the garage. She has a cozy bed in there, and she is so cool with staying in there that whenever we all go to get in the car, she just goes and stands in the garage while we drive out and shut the door. And when we return and open the garage door, she usually yawns and stretches and shakes, then runs over to say hello to her people.
Well, on Sunday, we went to a picnic at some friends' house. We left Zoe in the garage, like usual. We knew we'd be gone quite a while, so I asked my dad to let her out around suppertime, so she could do her business and stretch her legs.
When we got home, just after dark, Zoe was resting on our front porch. She hopped up and ran over to the car. My first thought was that my dad hadn't gotten the garage door shut tight. Because Zoe was out, Ben didn't open the garage door. While we were getting out of the car and collecting the stuff we had brought with us, we heard barking in the garage. Zoe was standing right by us. Weird. Then more barking. Upset, big dog sort of barking.
Ben told me to call law enforcement. He didn't want to open the garage and let an angry dog out. Then he grabbed a flashlight and looked into the garage and saw Zoe's look alike pacing in our garage. A chocolate lab. The same size as Zoe. Wearing a camo collar. Only, wait. This was NOT a female dog. The one in the garage was a male. Definitely.
I also called my dad. He had never been here. He totally forgot and felt really bad about it. So, that's not how Zoe got out.
While I was on the phone, Ben was curious about the dog in the garage, so he slowly opened the door, talking and moving gently. By the time the law enforcement officer was on the way, Ben had the dog laying in his lap. Ben was just petting and calming the poor boy down. And looking him over. He was very skinny. He needs some healthy meals.
The law enforcement officer looked at the dog's collar. No owner's name or number on the collar. Just an AKC tag. The officer brought a leash, which Ben hooked to the dog's collar and walked the dog right down the driveway to the officer's car. The dog was so calm by then. And Ben was wishing to keep him. We told the officer that if no one claimed him, we would definitely keep him. Zoe could have a buddy. Isaac could have a boy dog. Our thoughts were racing.
I called the humane society in the morning to let them know that we for sure wanted the dog if no one claimed him. But the woman there told me that they've had him in before and know who he belongs to. I had such mixed feelings about that. I know how bummed we'd be if Zoe were gone and would definitely want her back. But. If this dog has been at the humane society before - maybe more than once? - and he was definitely hungry, how well taken care of is he? . . .
The mystery, though, is how in the world did Zoe get out of our garage and he get into our garage? We asked our neighbors about it, and the neighbors on either side of us had seen Zoe on our front porch at different times during the day and just figured that we had let her out to do her business and hadn't let her back in yet. They had no idea how the switch had happened. The neighbors across the street had no idea what had gone on and couldn't figure out why the police were taking Zoe away . . . "Too bad Zoe can't talk," as my mom said. Wouldn't it be interesting to know what happened. Who opened the door and let Zoe out? Who put the other dog in? Did it happen all at once? Or at different times during the day? We'll probably never know. But if we ever have that male chocolate lab around here again, he might get a good meal and an offer to stay if he wants to . . . until we can personally track down the owner and find out if he really wants to keep his dog or not.