Reub's journey

12 September 2010


My plans for the day included a hike near here.

Today was one of those spectacular Oregon days, with a sky so blue and air so clean and easy to breathe that you hate to spend any time indoors. It was a day to spend playing in the good weather that we have before the winter rain sets in.

Wallawa Lake, where John is right now, and this is his photo.

Knowing that John is conducting a field class with graduate students, spending the week in a splendid mountainous environment in eastern Oregon, I was left to decide for myself how to spend my own day. So I packed a bag of snacks and treats, a water bottle, leashes, and loaded Ed and Reub in the back of the Subaru. Time for a hike!


But you know, sometimes I get my heart set on something, head out to do it, and *poof* it doesn't happen. I had barely driven out of the neighborhood when I saw a man waving at me with one hand to slow down, his other hand gripping the leash of a golden retriever. Careening cluelessly back and forth across the road was a huge gangly gray dog. I avoided hitting him and proceeded another 20 seconds, picturing the awesome hike I had planned to take, before turning back. Sigh.

"He's not my dog!" the man was quick to tell me, as I handed him a spare leash and a handful of treats through my window. "See if he'll come to you for a treat, leash him, and put him in my back seat. " I said. While struggling with his own excited dog he quickly managed to lure the gray dog, who had been trying to follow him anyway, and loaded the stray into my car, the whole time looking nervously to see if we were all about to be rear-ended by some unsuspecting car coming over the hill behind us.

So I had an 80 pound Weimaraner in the car, with Reuben furious in the back, but luckily separated by a sturdy gate, and Eddy puzzled by the turn of events. What was Kerry thinking?

Indeed. He was my problem now.

Leaving Ed and Reub in the car, I took Crazy Gray Boy into the house, his little tail wagging madly, his big body lunging forward, and his nose to the ground. As I grabbed for the phone book, the dog sprang up, paws on the kitchen table, sniffing for food, then again onto the counter top. Nooo! He dragged me into the living room, directly to the corner where John has a collection of African drums. Crazy Gray Boy was quick to note that the drums are made of animal skins! Nooo! Dammit where was the number for Animal Control in the stupid ^%$#!@phone book?

Relax Kerry, it's just an excited dog, I told myself. Feed him and give him some water; maybe he'll settle down. Then you can find the phone number. By this time CGB had located the bag of dog food kept in the laundry and I could tell he was famished. I made him sit politely while I served up his meal. As he wolfed it down I fretted--knowing that his breed and body type are terribly prone to this-- that I might have just given him a case of bloat. Please, not that.

I wanted to leave him in the garage while I left a message at the Humane Society, but he barked and cried. Having to put him somewhere while I brought in Ed and Reub, I put him in a kennel in the back yard where, for about 5 unrelenting minutes he made the neighborhood resound with his Sunday-morning barking.

By this time it was 10:45, a full hour and 15 minutes before the Humane Society opened. What to do?


I'm not proud of this, but one thing I occasionally did when the kids were small and unreasonable, was to take them for a car ride. So I apologized to Ed and Reub, loaded up CGB, and drove 30 minutes south to Hazelnut Hill, where I bought chocolate-covered hazelnuts, chatted with the nice lady there, and bought some chocolate-covered blueberries as well. That was fun. CGB enjoyed it immensely. Then I took him to the Humane Society, where I had to fill out a form that explained to me that just because I found him, didn't mean that I would get to keep him if his real owners didn't show up. For a split second I felt bad. But only for a split second.

No hike today, but I did go for a 35 minute run and Ed & Reub enjoyed it just fine.


  1. I.Cannot.Believe.You.Stopped.For.That.Dog. A Weimaraner? Are you kidding? A stupid psycho escapee from some Ralph Lauren photo shoot? And you let him eat out of Eddy's bowl?

  2. Reub, you have anger management issues and you know it. At least I didn't feed him out of YOUR bowl.

  3. :) But his eyes are amazing! I'm so glad you stopped...I have often done the same thing. Gladly, I have always found the owners withing a day or two. And you did get to spend time outdoors too.

  4. You are a very good person and somewhere some owner will be relieved, I know. This guy is probably not abandoned. I love Rueben!

  5. Good for you! I loved Reuben's comments!

  6. He is a beautiful animal and probably worth a fortune. His breed is very expensive to buy over here.

    I am very glad you picked him up, I would have done the same. I just need to hear a dog bark somewhere and my antennae are up immediately. "Is that a stray?"

    Tell Reuben to pipe down, some dogs are so neurotic!

  7. You are an angel! Good for you. What a sweet story, a real story. Reading this I kept thinking about William Wegmen. Weimaraners are really photogenic!

    Love the "poof" pic - absolutely perfect.

  8. Kerry, thank goodness you stopped. You just increased the chances that whoever owns that dog will actually be able to find him tenfold.

    I know it's a pain, and not all pet owners are all that caring, but chances are good that someone was searching frantically for that dog. Thank you for helping them, and barring that, him.

    I'm sorry about your spoiled hike, of course and that poor dog truly does look lit from within by some bright-eyed, energetic spazziness :-) But no matter what, you got him to a safe place.

    We're also the people who chase down stray dogs, call numbers on tags and try to return pets. It's a pain, isn't it? Still, sadly your hike was likely spoiled either way, even if you went on it you'd end up wondering what happened to the crazed, gray one.

    A few months back I was driving home from the grocery store and saw a huge, speckled hound bounding all over an office park, sans person. The road I was on was 40 mph, the dog was headed in the other direction and I knew that if I turned around I'd be in for a hell of a search, and not only did I have perishables in the car on a warm day, I had no leash with me.

    So I did something I've never done before, I just kept going and hoped that somebody else would fill my role of local dog wrangler. I still think about that dog, I still wonder if I condemned some poor family to never knowing what happened to their beloved pet.

    Just saying, I've rounded up maybe a dozen and a half dogs in the last five years or so. That was the one time I clenched my jaw and thought "Two hundred bucks worth of groceries? I can't."

    Total mistake. I can still see that disappearing form in my mind's eye and I ended up with more than two hundred dollars worth of regret. I chose the easier option, for that particular moment, and have honestly had freaking DREAMS about that dog, in which I stopped and went back.

    It's actually a lot more of a hassle when you do something against your basic conscience. Boy, what I wouldn't give for a time machine on that one.

    But I think you know that. The easier choice in the moment is generally the more difficult option with which to live :-)

    You're a good egg, and that dog's hero.

  9. Oh Reub, the whippets totally agree!!! Thanks for the laugh.

    I love your header photo! Good for you for stopping. He does look to be very well cared for, and hopefully his owner will find him fast. Tags. Tags. Tags. Oh, and microchip too, but first and foremost Tags. with a current cell phone number.

    Here's wishing you another perfect day in the near future

  10. All of you are dog lovers, so I know you would have done the same thing. Today I am going to call the pound and see if CGB was claimed--like you say Tabor, Friko, and Patience he does look valuable and well-card for. True to his breed he was neurotic, and not a dog I would casually agree to keep, but still I want to know he found his home. Rebecca, those eyes say it all, don't they!

    Land of Shimp, you have written so well about this dilemma of do-I-pay-the-price-of-doing-the-right-thing. It is so true that if I hadn't done it, my day would have been ruined by my guilt. Ah, the burden of a conscience. Your comment is worth its own post; I hope you do it.

  11. I'm a HUGE animal rescuer (85 dogs and cats so far)... I smiled SO much when I saw the pictures of that doggie. Beautiful :)

  12. I know Annah, isn't he hilarious-looking? Especially since you know he's safe and sound there on my kitchen floor, drilling me with those weird eyes.
    85 dogs-and-cats. Wow, that's like a one woman shelter, really. I'm not even close.
    So. An update: Crazy Gray Boy was picked up Monday afternoon by his owners, who hopefully went straight out and bought tags for his collar.

  13. Glad he was found by his owners, and wow, what crazy eyes.


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