Today I took a dog on a walk. Not a dog of mine, or of a friend or acquaintance. She was a wandering dog.
A wandering dog who, thank goodness, was willing to let me get close, and had a tag with her name and an address. An address five blocks from where she was, not far; but she was at NE 26th and Burnside. A busy place. And she had no obvious owner nearby, and no leash.
Good-sized dog -- one of the pit bull terrier mixes -- and she had teats prominent enough to make me wonder if she was possibly nursing. No sign of puppies nearby: good, as if there were, they'd probably be loose and in more danger. Thinking that just now made me a little sad. And glad that didn't happen.
What did happen was her letting me read her tag. (Computer-chipping your pets is good, but I've yet to deal with a chipped pet. I'm glad this time I didn't have to. No, the suspense isn't going to kick in now.) Her name, her owner's phone number, and her owner's address. Five blocks away.
I got her there by walking along with her, talking gently with her and going "Good girl." Away from Burnside and the traffic, and towards her home. Took maybe 10 minutes from meeting her to letting her into the yard, and a minute of talking with a young boy who was home and recognized her.
Ten minutes to do a good deed I wasn't necessarily going to do when I first saw her. Worried about reading the situation wrong, butting in where I wasn't needed or wanted, or (more specifically) scaring off the dog -- watch me try to reach her and she runs into traffic, and my good deed would suddenly be a dangerous one, huh? (And how I wasn't guaranteed to be at that place at that time to see her; I'd almost bussed to my destination nearby, and would never have seen her that way, but had decided to walk instead.) I got worried. And doubt makes it easier to not get involved, but I've walked past other cases where I could have helped. Thank you, Emma -- that was her name, if you were in suspense hoping I'd say it -- for being OK with me helping you, what help I could help with.