Sometimes you find a good dog, and sometimes he finds you
October 19, 2017
We weren't Chihuahua people before Bug showed up. It was January 2010 — during a particularly cold winter in the Bay Area — when he arrived at our house. He seemed determined to stay.
We didn't find him on our doorstep, or running loose on the street. He was in our backyard. To get there, he had to jump down a four-foot high retaining wall. No easy feat for a 10 pound dog.
He had no collar or tags. No microchip. And he wasn't neutered.
"We're not keeping him," my husband Skip said.
He was such a well-behaved and jolly dog. He got along well with the border collies, and was not afraid of us.
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"Of course not," I said. "We don't need another dog."
Especially not a Chihuahua.
We had two border collies that we'd adopted from the Peninsula Humane Society. We were specifically looking for border collies then, and if we'd seen this strange little Chihuahua mix staring at us through the chain link fence at the shelter, we'd have walked right past, never giving him a second look.
I called the Alameda County shelter and learned that if we took him there, his owner would have five days to claim him before he'd be put up for adoption.
Alternatively, we could house him for 30 days while we looked for his owner. If no one claimed him during that time, he'd be ours to keep or adopt out.
"I hate to put him in the shelter," Skip said as Bug slept in his lap. "Maybe we can turn him over to a rescue agency instead."
We contacted Dusty Paws Rescue in Castro Valley. A woman there said they'd take Bug if necessary. We'd just have to foster him until they could find him a good home.
We posted "found dog" signs around town, and put notices in the newspaper and on Craigslist. I walked him around the neighborhood, watching for reactions. Did he recognize any of the houses? Did anyone recognize him?
A neighbor told me he'd seen Bug running loose for several days. My heart hurt for this little animal. He had no undercoat to keep him warm.
What he ate, and where he went on those freezing nights, were as much a mystery as where he came from and how anyone could stand to let him go.
He was such a well-behaved and jolly dog. He got along well with the border collies, and was not afraid of us. He showed no signs of abuse. He was housebroken, and knew some basic commands. He wasn't yappy; barking was reserved for squirrels and delivery trucks. He danced on his hind legs at feeding time, bounced on his front legs at the sight of a leash, and burrowed under the covers with us at night.
The weeks went by, and his owners failed to materialize. We dropped in at one of Dusty Paws' adoption events, where volunteers gamely exhibited foster pets and answered questions from potential adoptive families.
I admired their dedication, but was heartsick at the thought of putting Bug in this situation. I couldn't see myself shopping him around to prospective owners, who might or might not fall in love with him as we had.
As the thirty days elapsed, we realized that we didn't need to find a good home for Bug.
He had found a good home. Ours.