It has been a crazy few days in Rocco-land. The good news is, I was able to raise the money for Rocco’s surgery and he had it last Friday. And it went well, though we are waiting for the pathology report on the tumors removed and hoping everything is benign.
The bad news is, two days later, we had terrible thunderstorms here and while Rocco’s foster mom, June, was out, Rocco had a little freak-out. He squeezed himself through a cat door, busted through the screened in porch, and escaped while June was away. She was distraught and searched the neighborhood with friends, but no luck. It was a very sad and restless night that June spent with Rocco on the lam.
We posted signs all over her neighborhood, including in the park near the state capitol where I was starting to think, on day 4 of him missing, that Rocco was gone for good. I imagined him trapped in a drain pipe or caught under bushes by his harness. I imagined all sorts of things I won’t share because the world is sad enough without my horrible fantasies. Although he has a microchip, Rocco wasn’t wearing tags, because he’s a foster dog (and let me tell you, neither June nor I will ever make that mistake again; we’ll have tags made up that say “foster” with our respective phone numbers on them for our respective foster dogs. By the way, read this article on how to make sure you don’t lose your dog in the first place, and how to get him back if you do).
Most importantly, I posted him on the Lost Pets of Baton Rouge Facebook page, describing his blue harness, his shaved back (he’d had a hot spot and the vets thought it best to remove the hair) and his incisions. And today, after I’d left a lunch meeting downtown, I got a call from a woman named MaryKay. She said she’d seen Rocco outside of her office (which was about a mile or two away from his foster home) but hadn’t been able to catch him. Then she saw his picture and description on the Lost Pets of Baton Rouge Facebook Page, where she’d gotten my phone number. She gave me the address of her office, and I was five minutes away, so I drove right there.
When I arrived, she met me downstairs and pointed to the areas where she’d seen him on the street. “I knew he had to be someone’s dog because of the blue harness,” she said, “But every time I took a step towards him, he ran away.”
Poor boy was still afraid, four days after that thunderstorm. I thanked her and did a lap around the block, calling his name and looking in bushes. I asked a little old man taking out the garbage if he’d seen a dog and he shook his head. No dog. I turned the corner and asked a middle aged man doing construction on a ramshackle cottage alongside the interstate if he’d seen a dog. He pointed to an alley between the house he was working on and the house next door to it and I said, “Really?” My heart was in my throat. I took a couple of steps in that direction and called, “Rocco!” And guess who popped right out from under that house and throttled me with love and kisses?
There is nothing happier than the abrupt ending of horrible fantasies. I clipped the leash I was carrying in my bag onto his harness and took him to meet MaryKay and say thank you. And snap their picture:
Then I gave the boy a treat from my bag (yes, my bag is like a mini-Petsmart), loaded him up in the car and took him back to June’s house. I have a key to June’s house, because part of our deal when I asked her to foster Rocco was that I would help with stuff like getting him to vet appointments and out for walks on her long work days. Fostering is great but it can also be time consuming, as shelter dogs are often sick, and so fostering partnerships like this can be a great way of saying yes when you might otherwise have to say no.
Anyway, neither of us ever knew what Rocco’s journey might entail (repeated vet visits for kennel cough and surgery and then a great escape and great reuniting). But I can promise you that neither of us regret stepping up for him for even one minute.
And the adopter who was interested in him a month ago? Still interested! In fact, this great guy is putting in a doggy door at his house and then wants to have Rocco over for an overnight visit in a few days to see how it goes. Of course, we will make sure his fence is secure, and we’re going to try out Rocco with a Thunder shirt so that next time there’s a storm, he remains calm. In fact, I wish they would make those for people because next time there’s a storm, I think I could use one myself after this.