A woman showed up with a dog she had found on the streets. This is frequent as the shelter next door has limited hours, the city budget being what it is. So we scan the pet for a microchip – two were identified! This is not as unusual as you might think. Rarely as many as 3 can be seen on a radiograph.
After contacting the microchip registry company some phone numbers were ascertained, an address in San Jose (far) and a name which would imply ownership for this little sweet fur ball. Microchips don’t convey ownership, just identification like collar with tags. It is a poorly understood legal concept perhaps to be saved for another blog post.
So it didn’t look like we were going to reach anybody. Despite numerous numbers associated most were full voice mail or non working. A couple messages were left. The next step is to get in touch with the dispatch for the City for advice for our Good Samaritan. While I am on the phone with them one of the numbers goes through on repeat dial (the first time the number was misdialed apparently). Little dogs owner was coming here to get her! Often the drop point ends up being our clinic because it is neutral ground and is most comfortable for all.
We wait, we get a follow up call about our location. They are not coming from San Jose but less than 5 minutes away. Suddenly a somewhat dirty disheveled fellow shuffles in wearing the latest fad droopy jeans etc and grabs up the dog from the womans arms and stalks out, with sorta a “thanks” grunted at ME on the way out the door. The dog made no apparent recognition towards him. Our Good Sam had a paralyzed look of shock on her face. A nicer thank you and “where did you find her?” is typical for this kind of situation which happens more often than you’d think (reunification in our lobby, not the rude aspect). He just reflected his hassle, not appreciation for what was done for him and his pet.
She walked out slowly mouthing to herself that she shouldn’t have returned the dog, clearly disappointed.
This represents the ultimate fallacy of these situations. Nobody gets to decide what a proper “home” or “family/owner/caretaker” is for anybody else or another creature. Nor should we judge that the other is less than ourselves. But THAT is what happens all the time and it is sad. I’m glad it worked out the dog went home no worse for the wear and our Good Sam did the right thing. And of course that we were able to facilitate this transaction.
Microchip your pets people!
Leave the judgement at home.