Dorian Hargrove 8:30 p.m., Dec. 12
Today I found a little somebody at the Laundromat. Actually, he found me. I was reading a book while my clothes were drying and when I looked up a girl about eight asked, "Do you want to see my dog?"
"Yes," I said.
I took the young Chihuahua in my arms and then the girl turned to walk away. "Don't you want your dog?" I asked.
"It's not yours?"
Then I realized she had asked, "Is this your dog," not "Do you want to see my dog."
She and I discussed the matter for a few minutes and finally concluded it would be best if I hung around for a while to see if the owner showed up. If no owner could, I'd take him out to Escondido Humane Society.
As the minutes wore on, the skinny dog with long, tiny tallons on his feet became quite content while resting in my lap. I recalled my days as a shelter volunteer. My friend, Alice, would have said, "Melinda, that is your dog!" And then would try to talk me into adopting him.
Alice often referred to my behavior work with dogs, "Melinda's Magic." She and others were astonished when I could make friends with dogs that other people couldn't. That's why so many of them ended up at my house, and that's why I'm broke today.
I couldn't keep the little dog despite the overwhelming urge I had to take him home. The girl who was sweeping the floor near the washers said he'd been running near the facility all morning. She had caught him once, but then he sprung out of her hands and took off.
I knew his game and when he tried to jump, I held onto him firmly. There's no foolin' someone who used to run a Chihuahua rescue. After I managed to catch him mid-air, he decided to stay with me, and gratefully chowed on some Little Cesar's filet mignon I'd bought at 7-11.
After my clothes were dry, the ugly truth was there to greet me. It was time to drive him to the shelter. As I walked to my car, I saw a latino about thirty-years-old looking around. "Are you looking for your dog?" I called out, hopefully.
He shook his head and laughed as if to say, "He's all yours, sucker!"
With the clotes baskets in the car, I had no choice but to make the long drive out to Escondido Humane which is located way on the other side of town. In December, I had taken my dog, Nancy, there to get euthanized so I arrived with a heavy heart.
I knew the staff would take good care of him. And I was proud of myself for letting him go. At one time, I had attachment issues due to emotional abandonment in my childhood, and I would have burdened myself with another dog I can't really afford. I've been in the rescue game long enough to know that someone out there is dying to get his hands on a young Chihuahua. Little dog are in short supply at shelters and always high in demand when compared to bigger dogs like german shepherds and pit bulls.
So even if "Flaco's" (Flaco is the name I gave him) owners don't find him, his future is still very bright. But handing him over to the shelter staff was one of the hardest things I've had to do. As when I left Nancy behind, I left the place in tears.