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Happy for a house guest

Mar 6, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer

Two weeks ago I had a house guest. I had not planned on entertaining the guest, but it gave me great joy for a few days.

She showed up as I had just finished typing my last story of the day and captured my attention with a perk of her ears and a wag of her tail. She was a little black ball of fur that had been found on the side of the road after dodging a car that made her rescuers whisk her to safety and bring her by The Ranger office to report her missing.

She had no collar, no micro-chip, no name and, seemingly, no place to stay.

Although her circumstances would cause even the most cheerful to break down, she maintained a sweet disposition and cheerfully warmed her way into my heart.

I was willing to take her in to my home but knew there was no way she could stay. I reminded her of this as she gave me very charming looks at the most inopportune moments. She liked to cuddle, shook at loud noises, and didn't like cats -- so we appeared to be kindred spirits almost immediately.

The original game plan was she would only stay in the garage with some very warm blankets and a dish of food and water to sustain her until I could take her to the animal shelter on Monday.

As I sat in the warmth of my home I envisioned her freezing and scared in an unknown place with strange food and the belief she might never find her way home. She was away from familiarity, away from people that understood her, unsure, a tad bit terrified, and yearning for a measure of comfort that everything would be OK.

Ten minutes later I was bathing her, wrapping her up in a hot pink blanket, nicknaming her Lucy, and letting her stay in my room, where I cradled her like a baby and attempted to remember every nursery rhyme from my childhood.

As I finished the last verse of "Daisy Bell," she fell asleep. I whispered, "everything will be all right. Your owner will come looking for you, and before you know it, you will be back home."

Apparently my plans to sleep in the next morning did not coincide with her plans and she nudged me with her nose before 6 a.m. We had a very early walk, ate breakfast together, and were quickly becoming friends.

The only thing keeping a distance from the friendship blossoming was the reality she couldn't stay and my lack of understanding her story.

Who was she? What was her name? Where was her home?

The second day we walked several times, frolicked in the park, explored my backyard, read a magazine, and discussed our dislike of cats.

Monday morning arrived, and I began calling different veterinarians, the animal shelter, anyone who might help with my new friend. I was presented with questions of whether she had a collar. Was she registered? Had she been vaccinated? I didn't have an answer and wanted to choose the best route of taking care of her, but I knew nothing other than she was cute, lonely, and trusting me to make the best decision for her.

Not 10 minutes after I hung up from talking to the vet, a woman walked into the office to place an ad for her lost puppy. She described my Lucy, who was her Molly. Although a tremendous amount of relief swept over me that "Lucy" would return home, an element of sadness swept over me as I said goodbye to the guest who had provided me with a tremendous sense of delight over the weekend.

Although I am thankful for having met her, there are many other dogs in this area that have lost their homes and would enjoy being reunited with their owners.

Collars can be purchased for less than $5. The Riverton City Council just passed an ordinance requiring registration of dogs for $15 , which includes a three-year license. People can contact local veterinarians and report lost animals.

The Ranger will run an ad free of charge. The police department takes reports of lost pets, with the assurance that if someone finds your dog, the RPD will know what to do.

It will ensure that Lucy is actually Molly and in turn offer Molly the belief that her owner will return. It will also allow for her temporary owner to easily locate her home and can often be the difference between getting a beloved pet back or not.

So to "Lucy," you are welcome at my home anytime, I enjoyed singing you to sleep and found you rather charming, but I promised everything would be all right. Thankfully, I was right.

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