Wanna hear a really boring story? I asked mom that question countless times during her lovely visit to San Diego last week, and she always said yes. She also always assured me afterwards that the stories were not at all boring, but I think she had to say that because she's my mom. You are under no such obligation.
Last Monday was a big day. Julie, Mom and Colleen were in town, I had taken the day off from work, and we had been on the go since dawn (ish) with a stunning variety of activities that had challenged each of us on physical, culinary, and leisurely levels. James was hanging out with a friend at home. Bill and Clara had suffered through a work/school day, the poor fools, but he had packed up surf gear and picked Clara up from school and we were all set to meet up in OB for a celebratory Bucket of Love and some surf spectating. Although Tower 2 was inexplicably closed, it was an idyllic scene nonetheless with the sun just beginning to set and an acceptable albeit lesser patio table secured for happy hour.
OB is a dog town, if you are on a patio you can be sure that there will be dogs nearby. The patio where we sat had built in leash hooks, water bowls on the ground, and a menu of selections for your canine kids. This day was no different, there were various dogs around on the patio and Clara made herself familiar with all of them, including a little brown spaz who was chasing the birds around with abandon. We couldn’t figure out who her people were because she was visiting everyone, and we all assumed that she belonged to another table. We soon heard some murmurs from the restaurant staff that informed us that this dog was on the loose and had been around for a few hours. Animal Control was mentioned, glances were exchanged, and something was going to happen.
Clara jumped to action, sitting with the dog and keeping her in line so no one would kick her out. The dog responded, practically crawling into my girl's lap and finally sitting still for a second. I went in to the restaurant to ask if they had a leash or rope of some sort that we could use to secure the pup while we ate, then we’d figure out what to do with her.
Here’s the thing: my people are dog people, through and through. We’ve always had an explicit family agreement that although we were not allowed to seek out dogs by doing foolish things like visiting the shelter, we would most definitely rescue one if the situation ever presented itself.
A guy came out of the restaurant with a shoelace, of all things. He called the dog and tried to get the lace around her neck to lead her off. We asked if it was his dog, he nodded and coaxed her away. My brave girl ran right up to him and said: “are you sure that’s your dog?” and he let us know in broken English that he was told to get the stray off the patio. He said he was taking her out back to the alley and would let her loose down there.
Not on our watch, he wasn’t.
We took the shoelace, we took the dog, we talked about calling animal control but giving them our contact info so that we’d have first dibs at adopting her if her owners weren’t found. We hadn’t been down to the beach yet and wanted to watch Clara surf before sunset… we were a little flummoxed, and also pretty buzzed. Then a young couple walked over and asked what we were going to do, we explained our idea about animal control and they said that they love rescuing dogs! They would take her home, put up signs, post an ad on Craig’s list, etc. I immediately handed over the shoelace, it was perfect. I gave the girl my cell phone number and said I’d help in any way that I could. Off we went for fun in the sunset!
And we got right on with our happy vacation lives.
The next day, I got a text from the rescue hero saying that she'd had the dog scanned and she had a microchip! Her name was Sam. Hooray for found dogs! The owners were in Utah, she was reaching out to them and had also posted ads and messages as discussed. If I'm ever a lost dog, she is the person I want in charge. We kept in touch over the next several days. She heard from the Utah owners who said that they'd had to rehome their two dogs, Sam and Jade, because their baby girl was allergic. But it was Jade who had been adopted out to a family travelling to San Diego in their RV, Sam had been adopted locally. Turns out the microchips were mixed up somehow, this was Jade.
You see where this is going, right?
The RV couple hadn't even looked for her. After days of texting and talking back and forth with the rescue hero and the original Utah owner, we realized that our family promise had been put exactly into the perfect course of action to bring our baby Jade home to us. She's a total dreamboat, almost 2 years old and will be in perfect health once she packs a few pounds on that bony frame.
Welcome home, kiddo. We can no longer imagine living without you, and we didn't even know we were waiting for you.