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The Cheyenne Story - part 2 - Enter: Pookie:

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     It was a chilly evening in early November. We received a call that our Laserdisc player, which we had dropped off for repairs several weeks before, was ready. After dinner, we took a drive to pick it up. It had rained earlier that day, so the ground was wet, but the rain had stopped several hours earlier. We piled in the car and set out.

     We drove down Archer Avenue, catching the end of rush hour traffic. We were chatting as we usually did, probably about the events of the day, when we approached Pulaski, and the van in front of us slams on his brakes. I slam on my brakes and start to curse out the guy in the van, when we see a dog walk out from in front of the van. We wait for the dog to get to the sidewalk, and continue on. I look over at Stephanie, and she's giving me that look. You know the one: the wide eyes, the sucked-in lower lip, and the turned-down corners of the mouth, the one that says "Matt, you have to do something."

     I reach the next corner, make a right, another right, and head back towards the intersection. As we park the car and approach the intersection, I see the dog is in the middle of Pulaski, stopping traffic. As I approach, she sees me and stops. Without thinking about my personal safety (after all, she could have bitten me for all I knew) I approached her, talking calmly. As I reached for her collar, she squats and pees. At that point, I figured I was pretty safe. I got hold of her collar and coaxed her off the street, towards Stephanie on the sidewalk, probably to the relief of the people in the cars trying to get through. As we got to the curb, a guy from the car dealer on the corner comes running out.

     "I just saw her. Is she yours?" he asked.
     "No, we were just driving by and saw her. Is she yours?" I replied.
     "No. Why don't you bring her in here," he said, pointing to the car dealership.

     We walked her into the dealership, and she seemed happy to go. It was then that I got my first good look at her. She was mostly black, with some tan on her legs and white on her tummy. She was wearing a leather collar with a rabies tag, but no other identification. She looked well fed, if not a little overweight, and clean. It had rained earlier that day, but her fur was dry, so that she was shedding a little when we pet her. I figured she could not have been out too long. She looked to be part shepherd, but she had short, stubby legs, and big ears. And she had the happiest face, like she was really happy to be there.

     The dealer found a big paper cup and filled it with water, and she drank quite a bit. Then she wanted to go explore the car dealership. I followed her around, to try to keep her away from the other people in the showroom, while Stephanie went with the dealer to call the phone number on the tag to try to find the owner. While they were gone, I talked to her, gave her some more water, and just tried to keep her occupied. Stephanie and the dealer came back and said that the number on the tag was the county office that handles the tags and they were not open in the evenings. He said that he would call the Anti-Cruelty Society to see if they would come pick her up. But he also said that his boss did not want the dog in the showroom, because he didn't want to scare the customers. They suggested that I take her out to the show, where they gave me a long, heavy gauge wire to use as a leash. I figured I would take her for a walk and maybe she would recognize her home. I figured since she was dry, even though the ground was wet, she couldn't have been out that long, so maybe she lived close by.

     We went out and down the first side street. About the third house, she got real excited and pulled me towards the house. She bounded up the front stairs, and stood there, wagging her tail. I rang the doorbell and a man answered, and the dog got all excited.

     "Is this your dog?" I asked.
     "We don't have a dog" the man replied.
     "Does she live in the building, or maybe in the neighborhood?"
     "I've never seen her before." I thanked the man and the dog and I walked down the stairs.

     We walked a couple houses down and the same thing: she pulled me towards the house, ran up the stairs, and stood at the door, tail going two-forty. I rang the doorbell, but no one answered. I tried the other apartments in the building, but no one was home.

     "Sorry, no one's home" I told the dog and we went down the stairs and continued on down the street. A couple houses further, the same thing. Up the stairs, stand at the door, tail wagging. This time someone was home.

     "Is this your dog?" I asked.
     "Never seen her before in my life" the woman replied. I apologized for disturbing her and continued down the street.
     "You really don't know where you are going, do you?" I asked the dog, and she just looked at me with that happy face and we continued around the block.

     When we returned to the dealership, Stephanie and the car dealer said that they could not find any place that would come pick her up. They did find a place on Southwest Highway that would take her if we would drop her off. I said that we had spent that much time with her, so it would not be a problem to take her there. The Laserdisc repair place was closed already, and we really didn't have anything else to do. Besides, we've gone this far; why not make sure she was safe.

     Stephanie and I figured that we did not want her to make a mess in the car, so we thought we would go for one last walk before leaving. The three of us walked around for about a half-hour, occasionally stopping at a house that the dog thought she remembered. While we were walking, we kept talking to her, and kept trying to guess her name. I wish I could remember the names we were trying, because some of them were pretty funny. I don't know what Stephanie was thinking, but in the back of my mind, I don't think I was trying to guess her name as much as I was trying to find a name that would fit her. I wasn't planning to keep her, but something made me want to name her.

     We got back to the car, and Stephanie got into the back seat with the dog for the ride to the shelter. The dog seemed to really like the ride. She jumped into the car with little coaxing, and was very comfortable next to Stephanie. That may have something to do with Stephanie talking to her almost the whole way to the shelter. I thought that was interesting, because Sam never liked to go in the car. Maybe because about the only place we would take her was the vet and she hated the vet, but it was struggle to get her into the car. But not this dog.

     We pulled up to the Animal Welfare League, and it looked closed. I later found out that it is open twenty-four hours for drop-offs. We knocked on the door, and a guy let us in. We told them that we were the ones that had called about the dog we found on the street, and they said that they could probably find the owner using the number off the rabies tag. We filled out all the paperwork, signed a paper saying that the shelter would not tell us what eventually happen to her (which I didn't feel too comfortable about), and signed her into their care. They undid out makeshift wire leash, put a leash on her and took her into the back. We asked if we could check if the owners picked her up, despite what the paper I had signed said, and they said we should call in a couple days. We took the wire and the paperwork and left. Stephanie cried most of the way home.

On to part 3 -->

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