The secret sign in front of our house inviting stray cats in for care and feeding has now apparently been translated into dog.
We took to calling him Monster because of his bizarre shape. He seemed so huge lying down, then when he stood up he was revealed as a rottweiler body and head laid over a bassett hound chassis. He appeared to have been put together by a mad scientist, a sort of veterinary Frankenstein, or a committee that had to work with only the parts of dogs no one else wanted.
But his sunny disposition soon allowed us to overlook his physical oddities--like the front foot that pointed off to the left as if he was constantly signaling for a turn.
Friday morning, after he spent the night in our now barren vegetable patch, I put him in the backyard. Did I mention I was still in my pajamas? He promptly trotted down the few steps to the the pool deck and before I could catch him walked his large, weighty self out onto the center of the pool cover, which is just a heavy-duty tarp. Not designed to hold heavy-duty bassett-weilers. Then he got scared and wouldn't come back to the edge. He was sinking slowly into the disgusting muck on the cover, which was slowly slipping into the pool. With those short legs, drowning wasn't far off.
Carla, our friend and newly arrived tenant, grabbed the pole with the pool brush on the end and pushed at him from one side of the pool, while I took off my slippers and robe in the 40-degree morning chill, and slid down into the green, slimy muck, grabbed Monster's sturdy tail and pulled him to the side. Carla ran around to the edge and helped me lift Monster out. He shook off the slime and looked up at us with sweet brown eyes as if to say, "What next?"
The next couple of days were much less eventful, as he started to become one of the family. Then Sunday afternoon his real family saw one of the signs we had put out about a found dog. They lived just around the corner and were thrilled someone had him. He raced (you know, as fast as his tree-stump legs would allow) to their car, obviously equally thrilled to see his people.
And while I appeared as happy for them all as they were themselves, part of me enjoyed having this very unusual, easy-going dog around and would miss him. But now that the sign out front has been translated into canine, maybe another dog will stop by before too long!