Maybe it's not a phenomenon particular to Oklahoma or even to rural areas, but just about everyone we know out here has had it happen. The day dawns like any other - and the next moment a dog (or cat) saunters up your driveway and you're a pet owner. I don't know if there's an official name for it (other than some obvious choices: lousy, cruel, pathetic, heartless, cowardly), but I call it pet-dumping.
For nearly four years now we've dodged that particular bullet. We've come close a couple of times: a black and white cat seemed interested in finding out if we would be the recipient of its time and attention. We failed the test and the cat moved across the street. And then two dogs appeared one freezing winter morning and seemed in no hurry to leave. They had collars, but no tags. We bought a gigantic bag of Ol' Roy, bowls and a brush. The next day we drove around the area putting fliers in mailboxes asking if anyone was missing their dogs. No one called us. They were great dogs, followed us everywhere, barked when they should have and were quiet when they were supposed to be quiet. Then one morning they were gone. No goodbyes, no thank you note.
Yesterday when I got home from running errands in town, I saw a small black dog hugging Kel's heels as if his very life depended on it. I figured it was one of the neighbor's seven dogs that I just hadn't seen before. No such luck. It's a full day later and we still have a small black dog hugging Kel's heels - and mine when Kel escapes for a few minutes. He's a sweet dog, a puppy still, loving, gentle and obedient. Someone obviously spent time with him, trained him. Now we have another giant bag of dog food and the dog bowls have been pressed into service again; can't find the brush. He's worming his way into our hearts. We let him sleep in the garage last night and later I need to head back into town and see about getting some treats, maybe a toy for him to chew on. Will we keep him? We haven't decided yet. Maybe the better question is, will he keep us?