Tag Archives: lost dogs

When Gestures of Gratitude Go a Long Way

Thank You CardYesterday afternoon, I was surprised to see this lovely card and a box of Mary Grace (one of my all-time favorite restaurants!) pastries on our dining table. When I found out that it was dropped off by Trisha, a young lady I had just met that morning, I was so touched. Nothing like a personal, thoughtful gesture of thanks to make you glad you do what do you.

The day before, I came home from fetching my daughter to see this Chow Chow in our garage, his leash tied to the fence. Our helper said that she saw this dog slowly walking on our street in the mid-afternoon heat. The dog was alone, wearing a collar and dragging along his leash.  She gently led him into our garage and gave him some water that he eagerly drank. As soon as I closed our garage gate, I slowly approached the Chow Chow to gauge his disposition. He didn’t bark, growl or show any aggression. We let him loose from his leash so he could be free to lie down and walk around the garage and garden.

Cafe Mary Grace pastriesHe started exploring, sniffing and peeing. We were surprised to notice that he was walking weakly, his legs very unstable. He struggled to walk up or down a step. Broke my heart to see this dog looking so frail. I hoped that he was just old or tired, not sick. I came near him, crouched down to be level with him and to look him in the eyes. I spoke gently to let him know that I didn’t mean him any harm. When I slowly brought my hand close to the front of his head, he let out a low growl and was starting to show his teeth. I pulled back, kept talking gently, then brought up my hand to the side of his head. He relaxed and finally let me pet him on the head. Yes, perhaps we could be friends.

I called our village administration office to let them know that a lost Chow Chow was in my house, and asked them to tell whoever would look for him to come to our address.

The Chow Chow drank plenty of water but we still worried about him. He refused to eat. We offered kibbles, then kibbles with wet dog food, then rice with wet dog food. But he just wanted to sniff around, drink water and sleep. And he was still moving very weakly. That night, I went to bed hoping that I would see him moving and walking better the next morning.  And in my mind, I was planning how to have a vet see him if his owner didn’t claim him the next day.

Zeus the Chow ChowThe next morning was all good news. The Chow Chow eagerly ate the dog food our helper gave. He was moving about with more energy, even trying to interact with our dog Matty. Then his owner, a young lady named Trisha, came to pick him up. We learned that his name is Zeus, that he is 5 years old and is the baby of the family. Trisha told me how Zeus got out when their garage gate was accidentally left open.  They looked for him around their nearby streets and vacant lots, but it turned out that Zeus had wandered many blocks away from his house and to our street, then probably couldn’t figure out how to go home (and he seemed exhausted from the heat). Trisha’s family was up till 3AM, worrying about Zeus. They inquired with the village office the next morning and learned that Zeus was in our house.

It was a happy reunion, and Trisha was so thankful that we gave Zeus a safe place for the night.  I explained that it wasn’t the first time we took in a lost or wandering dog as it’s dangerous to just let them go about on their own. Luckily, Zeus was no trouble as a guest and was even sprightly when he had eaten and had his owner nearby.

To Trisha and family, thank you. The appreciation you showed my family when you came to get Zeus, followed by the sweet box of pastries and the sweeter personal note of thanks really made my day. Zeus, thank you for letting me pet you and briefly care for you. Your gratitude goes a long way with this humble dog lover.






Shiro, Borrowed and Beloved Dog

Meet ShiroWe call this dog Shiro.

He first came to our house two weeks ago.  He peeped through the little openings on our gate, getting our dog Matty’s attention. My family saw the wagging tails and heard the pleading whimpers. So we let this dog into our yard to let him and Matty play. We left the gate open as this dog would run away whenever we tried to close it. While our Matty was on leash to keep her from running out, this dog would play, leave, come back to play again, and leave again. He left, presumably for home, when night came.

Although he didn’t have an ID tag or a collar, we thought that this dog must have an owner.  He was clean and looked healthy.  Not scrawny. No obvious injuries. We figured that he was just out wandering and saw a playmate in our Matty.

Doggie Play Dates

On the next day, I asked the village security guards if they knew our visitor. They immediately recognized him from a photo I showed (but they didn’t know the dog’s name) and gave me an address not far from mine. They said that this dog does belong to a woman who lived there, and that this dog usually just roams the village streets. I explained that this dog came to our house to play with Matty. I informed the guards that if the dog’s owner looks for him, she can check with us if the dog is at our house playing since he is a welcome guest.

Matty and Shiro playingAfter the first few days of these play dates (this dog came pretty much on schedule, at 6AM everyday), we started finding ways to close the gate while he was in our yard. I pitied our dog Matty for having to be tied up while they were playing. I also didn’t like that this dog would still wander our neighborhood streets during the day. Though he didn’t seem to be aggressive or threatening to anyone, it is still dangerous to let him, or any dog, wander the streets unleashed and unsupervised.

We had started getting comfortable with him, and soon he allowed us to pet him (wow!). We wanted to call him something other than Boy. Since he looked like a Japanese Spitz, I suggested giving him a Japanese name. We came up with Shiro, which means white. To us, he became Shiro.

Running Away

After Shiro had been coming over for about three or four days straight, his owner’s helper came one afternoon to fetch him. He said that the dog’s name was Tagpi (Tagalog word for “patch”) and that he always goes out of the house and roams around. As soon as we opened the gate, Shiro bolted out and ran away. The man chased him and we didn’t see them anymore that day.

That left me with a heavy heart. Was Shiro running away from that man because he didn’t know him? Or did that man hurt him? Was Shiro being treated well at home? And why was he left to roam the streets all day?

Walks, Dinners and Sleepovers

Matty and Shiro on a walkThe very next morning, bright and early at 6AM, Shiro was outside our gate again, barking and asking to come in. We were so happy to hear him back. He was a kind and quiet presence and a joy to have around.  In the next days, he gladly went with Matty and me on our afternoon walks (while Matty was on-leash, Shiro just walked beside us). He drank from his own water bowl and ate from his own little food bowl in our yard. He took naps on the porch.

Four days ago, ten days after he first came visiting, I decided to keep Shiro through the night.  He was still in our yard after dinner time, and it really didn’t feel right anymore to let him outside so late at night. What if the gates in his house were closed and he would be locked out for the night? I wouldn’t be able to sleep from worry.  I told myself that the owner would know where to look for Shiro since they had already found him here with us. And Shiro did come to us on his own, even after they had come to fetch him the first time.

For those four days, we had two wonderful dogs at home.  It was unplanned and unintended, but he became a welcome part of our family.

Goodbye for Now

Yesterday afternoon, two weeks since he first visited and three days after he started staying in our home, Shiro’s owner called him back for good. Another helper came to our house yesterday afternoon asking for Tagpi. I had been waiting for this chance to clarify Shiro’s story so I spoke with the man. He works for the elderly woman who owns Shiro/Tagpi and his son who also lives in our village. He said that during the day, while he is at the son’s house,  Shiro/Tagpi is left alone with the elderly woman in her house. Shiro is able to get in and out of the house on his own through the grills of their fence that are just wide enough for him to go through.

ShiroI explained that I’ve been letting Shiro stay with us during the day and eventually at night too because I worry for the dog’s safety.  I reminded him that it’s illegal for pet owners to let their dogs roam the streets unleashed and unsupervised. I asked him if they still wanted Shiro and reminded him that Shiro deserves to be well cared for.

He said that they do want to keep the dog and will continue to care for him. They have also reinforced their fence so Shiro won’t be able to get out on his own.

I wanted to see how Shiro would react to this man. I opened our gate and let the man in.  Shiro was huddled under the sofa on the porch, his preferred napping spot. As soon as the man called him Tagpi, he did turn his head and wag his tail. He didn’t bolt away or look panicked. But he didn’t get out from under the sofa. We all figured that he had gotten quite used to us, and especially to Matty.

Shiro didn’t resist when the man carried him out and away. It was time for him to go home to his owner, back to his life as Tagpi.

P.S. I’ll Keep Looking

I drive by Shiro’s house everyday on my way in and out of our village.  Since yesterday afternoon, after he was taken back, I’ve been stealing glances at his house, hoping to see him. I saw him once, leaning by the fence, maybe bored, maybe wishing he was with Matty. And when I got home, I saw Matty by the door, waiting for Shiro to come back. It’s only been a day since Shiro left, and we are all somehow waiting for him to come back. Even for just a visit.

Till then, I will keep looking out for Shiro.









The Importance of Pet ID Tags







As I was walking back to my car from our village association office this morning, I saw this little brown dog in a cage. No collar, no ID tag. His soft whimper caught my attention, and his gentle eyes kept it.

I stood by the cage for a minute or two, trying to comfort the dog with words. One of the handymen who worked for the village association asked me if he was mine.  I said no and asked why this dog was there and in a cage.  He explained that the security guards had found him roaming the streets, picked him up and brought him there. I asked if the dog has been fed, and I was relieved to hear that this man has been feeding him regularly.

This man said that when he saw me approach the dog, he was hoping that I was the dog’s owner.  The dog has been here for three days, and no one has yet come to look for him.  I asked if there was a way to inform the villagers about this dog, and he said that a photo and notice will probably be put up in the village bulletin board soon.

I went home, but this dog stayed in my mind.  I was thinking that if this dog had an ID tag, his owner could have been easily contacted and he would have been home by now. (I’d like to believe that this dog is not abandoned, and that his owner is somehow looking for him.)

Our family dog doesn’t have an ID tag.  I see many dogs and cats who also don’t wear ID tags.  Many pet owners, including myself, think that it’s unnecessary.  Our pets would never get lost. But here I am, thinking about this dog in a cage, without any identification whatsoever. No way to identify and contact his owner.

I’ve changed my mind, and am now planning to get our dog an ID tag.  I’d have more peace of mind knowing that if our dog ever gets lost, whoever finds her can easily contact us so we can bring her home.