A Lose-Lose Situation | The Problem with Helping a Stray Dog

So, do you remember where we left off in my tale of the dog otherwise known as Pre? My husband was oh-so-close in nabbing the little guy but after our second failed attempt we decided that it just wasn’t safe to chase that damn dog back and forth across traffic in South Central with our four-year-old in tow. We caught our breath – well, actually, my husband did – and we piled ourselves back into the car. As we pulled out of the parking lot towards the same direction the dog last was seem heading my hubs says “I’m afraid to turn this way.”

We turned right onto Exposition Blvd. and what do we see crossing the street back to the USC campus? You’re right! My husband asks “What do you want to do?” “Let’s try again” I say.

We pulled onto the USC campus with protests from the little girl in the car seat. She’s refusing to get out of the car and I’m feeling a little thankful because I just didn’t know how much more I could take. I sit with her and my hubs sets out with the blanket in hand. Not only does Miss Thing not want to help get the dog, she sure as heck doesn’t want this dog coming home with us. To change the topic, I suggest we say a little prayer that the dog stays safe. I decide that I should send out a few tweets about a lost dog and jump out to get my purse from the back of the car. Just then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I see my husband turn the corner with the pup cradled in his arms. Holy shit, prayer works!

As he gets closer I see that he looks like he’s been filming a scene for True Blood. He’s got blood streaming down his face and chin from the puncture wounds in his left cheek. Oh my God, there goes my hero.

We put the dog in the back of the car where he chilled the entire hour drive back to Orange County. Not a bark or a whimper, only a huge crap. But hey, he was totally under distress and who can blame him?

I couldn’t believe when my husband told me the story of capturing the dog. He said that the little guy was laying in the wet dirt beneath some bushes and totally let my husband approach him {hey dog, this would have been great plan earlier}. The dog smelled my husband’s hands and allowed him to wrap him up in the blanket but when he went to cradle him in his arms the dog went all Mike Tyson on my defenseless husband.

Yay! We saved the dog!! Oh but wait…

Did you know you aren’t supposed to cross county lines with a stray animal? Did you know that rabies is fatal in humans? Did you know there isn’t a test to determine if a dog has rabies other than euthanasia and brain dissection? Did you know if you seek medical help for an animal bite that the doctor is required to the contact the county animal control?

Hello, ye ol’ can of worms.
Because of where the dog bit my husband – his face – it becomes an urgent situation to determine if the animal has rabies. Of course, there is no medical history on this dog because he was a stray without a microchip. He was also “intact” or un-neutered which likely means he has not had any vaccinations. If your neighbor’s dog bites someone, you can assume that the dog has been vaccinated. But this stray could have belong to any irresponsible college student or one of the several homeless people near the adjacent freeway underpass or he could have even been brought over on a truck from Mexico where rabies runs rampant. Even though the possibility of rabies is slim we obviously weren’t going to risk my husband’s life – right?

Right. I left the vet in a sobbing mess. My husband ended up in urgent care to have his wounds treated. And my girl had her special birthday dinner at McDonald’s. “No good deed goes unpunished.”

However, this little guy may have received a pardon.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Damn you Clare Boothe Luce and your “no good deed goes unpunished” black cloud that is hanging over us tonight. Damn, what a day. I’m not trying to get too dramatic here but I haven’t experience a range of emotions like I did today in – thankfully – quite a while. January 23rd = a fourth birthday, dinosaurs fossils, a dog I’ve nicknamed “Pre,” and a visit to urgent care.


The morning started off wonderfully fun. It was our little one’s fourth birthday and just after 7:00 am she was riding her new Barbie bicycle in the house as the weather finally decided to act like January and not July. The rain also meant our trip to Disneyland would have to be postponed for another day. Instead, we decided to head north towards Los Angeles for a day at the Natural History Museum to check out the amazing dinosaur fossils and exhibit after exhibit of preserved mammals. It was actually a lot of fun – with the exception that even though it had been raining on and off all morning we didn’t think about bringing an umbrella. All three of us were completely rain soaked and the museum gift shop cashed in when we bought sweatshirts and an umbrella for the road.

Next was an unplanned jaunt across the street to the USC campus for a coffee and a look-see in the bookstore. Upon crossing Exposition Blvd. I see a wet and injured dog scurrying around some hedges far too close to a very busy street. “OH MY GOD! WE HAVE TO GET HIM!”

Our first problem: our car is parked in the museum parking lot. IF we did get the dog to come to us how would we get him back to the car? Second problem: we didn’t have a leash. Third problem: It’s starting to rain. Hard. Fourth problem: We have nothing to lure him out of the bushes. Fifth problem: What are we going to do with this dog if we did successfully save him?

The poor thing is shivering in the bushes and is scared to death when we try to approach him. Luckily, the bushes were surrounded by a 3-foot high wall so we knew he was contained in the space – for now. I had the brilliant idea of running down to the bookstore knowing I could grab a USC collar and leash there and maybe something to entice the poor pup.

My hubs and girl stood watch while I jammed across campus to get what we needed. {Side note: must start exercising regularly because the half-ass jog I was attempting almost killed me}. $110 got me a collar, leash, blanket, and roast beef sandwich. Oh, and another umbrella because now it’s really coming down and I left the other one with the dog watchers.

I get back and rip open the sandwich. My husband treks back into the shrubbery and within thirty seconds shouts “he’s coming your way!” The poor dog was cornered – and scared – and jumps the 3-foot wall and is off heading back towards the museum and four lanes of traffic. I’m screaming “NO PUPPY!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

I immediately break down in tears. The dog makes it safely across Exposition Blvd. and takes off out of sight. The three of us are standing there, soaking wet, with $100 worth of dog gear and no dog.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been presented with helping a stray dog and have failed. It happened just a few weeks ago in my own neighborhood and I drove around and jumped out of my car like a million times trying to swoop up a little Yorkie that eventually got out of my reach and I had to rationalize my failure with “at least I tried.”

We head back to our car and as we reach the lot I see the little dog about 200 yards down the street – IN the street! And I also see a bunch of people just walking by like they don’t see the pup hobbling around on three legs.  My hubs takes off and luckily there’s a huge grassy area that we’re both hoping the damn dog runs towards but nope he instead jams out into the street where a car nearly misses both the dog and my husband. But my hubs is a runner y’all and he gets his hands on that pooch but the dog is wet and he slips right out.

I stood there with my four year old and watched my husband just slightly trail the incarnation of Steve Prefontaine. You’d never believe that dog was running on only three good legs.

I give my hubs the shoulder shrug and now believe we really did try. What else could we do except hope someone else sees him and tries picking up him. This of course if he makes it back across the four lanes of traffic.

You’ll never believe what happened next.  Come find out tomorrow.