Thursday, October 28, 2021

Dog’s best friend

Lucy’s Marco Island “vacation”. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Lucy’s Marco Island “vacation”. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

By Jay DiSandro 

I was really looking forward to finally getting my well-deserved vacation, spending ten days on Marco Island at my condo. I was due to leave on Friday, April 13 when several days earlier, my wife surprises me with what she called “good news.” She had reacquainted herself with an old school friend on Facebook who was living in Tampa and had posted a picture of a Yorkshire Terrier dog that a friend of hers had found. This dog had been found in a neighborhood near her in an abandoned house about three weeks earlier. The people who found the dog could not keep it, and when they contacted the animal shelter, they were told that after only several days, the dog would be put down due to the tremendous volume of animals they already had.

My wife being as compassionate as she is, happened to be looking for a dog for our four-year-old son, Lee. She wanted to surprise Lee with a small dog for Easter but as it turned out, she had no luck finding an affordable one. She responded to her Facebook friend telling her that I would be in Marco and that it would be a lovely surprise for Lee if I arrived home with this dog. As you can imagine, I was not keen to the idea. Furthermore, we already have a dog at home, Lucy, who is a Beagle- Cocker mix and is18 years old. Lucy may be blind in one eye, deaf, and have several other ailments, but she has been my faithful pet since she was a puppy.

When I arrived in Marco, I dreaded the day that I had to drive to Tampa and pick up this dog. I waited as long as I possibly could, but by mid-week, I finally (and reluctantly) made the trek to Tampa to acquire the dog. I purchased some food, a doggie carry-case for airplane rides, toys, etc. to make the dog as comfortable as possible in its new, unfamiliar environment. My wife’s friend told me the dog was a female and responded to the name Mya, so upon arriving in Tampa, I was introduced to Mya and we headed back to Marco Island.

The next thing I had to do was get the dog to a veterinarian and a dog groomer. I made several attempts at both, but many places were booked up, and I could not find anyone who would take the dog until May. I called Marco Pet Salon and, through a sympathetic ear, they told me to bring the dog in within the hour and they would groom her. I was also fortunate with the veterinarian because after explaining the story of how I acquired her, I was told to bring the dog immediately after the groomers to the veterinary clinic. After being groomed, but still having horrible breath, the Vet informed me of some horrible news; the dog needed approximately $1,000 worth of treatment. Mya had severe tooth and jaw decay, and she needed to have blood-work, shots, etc. before I took her back to Rhode Island.

The vet also strongly suggested that I do not fly the dog to Rhode Island until she got a clean bill of health and until then, it may be best to keep her from other pets. Visions of Mya attacking Lucy immediately came into my thoughts. “Poor Lucy,” I thought, “…blind, deaf and being attacked and infected by a dog that weighed 1/10 of her weight…what a Welcome Home.” At this point, we decided to check Mya for a microchip. To my surprise, she had one! The veterinary clinic obtained the information from the microchip, and called the phone numbers that were associated with the chip. Unfortunately, there was

Lucy, aka Mya.

Lucy, aka Mya.

no answer at any of the numbers, but the clinic left my cell number on the recordings. I immediately stepped out of the office, called my wife and explained the situation. Reluctantly, she decided that we could not afford the treatment, and that I would have to find someone else to take the dog, or take her to a shelter.

It was my plan to bring Mya to the shelter the following morning in hopes that she would be adopted. In the meantime, a neighbor dropped off a newspaper clipping to me of a Yorkshire that had been missing in Tampa since the 13th. I knew this could not have been the same dog, but I called the number anyway. I spoke to a woman who agreed to take the dog if hers was not found. I couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled to have found a potential new owner.

About seven hours after my visit to the vet, my cell phone rang. It was the woman whose number was associated with the microchip! She seemed so nervous and excited. The curiosity and apprehension in her voice told me that she must have strong feelings for this dog. She told me that her dog had gone missing in December, 2011 just before Christmas. She, her husband, and their seven-year old son made tireless efforts to find their dog, to no avail. She and I matched the identification number of the microchip and determined this dog, in fact, was HER dog.

She and her family, in all their excitement, drove to Marco Island from Tampa that same evening. As their family caravan pulled up, I noticed the dog’s ears perk up and her tail start to violently wag. The woman stepped out of the vehicle and the dog immediately took right to her. As she restrained herself from crying and tried to  maintain composure, she thanked me for my efforts. I invited them in to collect the things that I had purchased for the dog. She insisted on giving me forty dollars for the supplies which I reluctantly accepted; I was just so pleased to see the family reunited again. “Incidentally,” I asked, “What is the dog’s name?” – “Lucy”, She replied. “You’re kidding me”, I said, “That’s my dog’s name!” Several minutes later they were taking off back to Tampa. I was so thrilled to have helped.

The following morning I spoke to the groomers who were very interested in the dog’s history. The owner insisted that I return there immediately because she wanted to reimburse me the money I spent on the grooming. Although I was, again, reluctant to take the money, she wanted to be a part of the wonderful reunion that took place with this pet. I then called the woman in Tampa who would have taken “Lucy” and told her what had happened and she explained to me that she had set a safe-trap outside her door and found her little Yorkshire inside the cage that following morning. I also had to call my wife’s friend in Tampa and explain what happened to the dog she thought I was adopting.

All in all, I did get to enjoy my last few days on Marco by sitting by the pool and telling this story to whoever would listen. I knew I would be returning home dog-less, and having spent over $300 for a dog I “owned” for less than 48 hours. But at least I could finally forget about this whole situation and enjoy the rest of my vacation. When I arrived at the airport in Ft. Myers, I had to stop at the Southwest counter to get my boarding pass. The gentleman said to me “It says here you’ll be traveling with a pet today. Where is it?”

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