I was working at my office computer and I heard a deep, steady panting noise right behind me. Since nothing in our household makes that sound, I wheeled around and all I noticed at first was a large dog with a BIG set of teeth and he was panting like a steam engine.
I had never seen this fellow before and could not figure out why he showed up in my office.
After my surprise wore off, I noticed that he had friendly brown eyes and was ignoring the cats that were circling around him. He had walked in the open front door and was looking around with great interest. He had made no noise and the cats, who are normally very nervous, were standing around like we had strange dogs in the house every day.
The temperature was in the 90s and the dog looked very thirsty, so I coaxed him out onto the front porch with a bowl of cold water. He slurped it up noisily and the cats were absolutely fascinated. Even after slurping up a quart of water, it took him at least 15 minutes to stop his heavy panting.
Chester was so interested that he could not take his eyes of the dog. He eventually came up on the porch and sat where he could watch the dog drinking. The dog noticed Chester, but made no moves that would spook the cat. We figured he must live in a household with many cats.
We called Animal Control and no one had reported a lost dog, so we kept on calling around for information. After about four more calls, someone remembered seeing him at a nearby construction site and someone suggested who his owner might be. I left a message for the possible owner and we all spent the next half hour making friends with our new guest.
I was getting ready to take him back to the construction site to see if he knew his way home from there when our neighbor from the end of the road drove up in her truck and told me that "Cooter" was her son's dog. She said Cooter had been visiting the construction site for some time and the workers had been feeding him.She had asked the workers not to feed the dog, but it is so friendly that it must have been hard for them to resist.
Since there were no workers on the site yesterday, Cooter had decided to visit our house.
She also mentioned that he was always around cats and was very used to
being with them. Our cats were very happy with having Cooter around and sat and watched as his owner drove off with him. I have the feeling that he will be back.
It was a wake up call for Gretchen and I because we have been toying with the idea of getting a dog for several years. Once we got to spend an hour with Cooter, who is a friendly gentle giant and is a real joy to have around, we remembered all of the other things that come along with having a dog, like having your house smell like dog, and you smelling like dog, and walking a dog. It is a real commitment and we are not ready for that at this point.
I think we will wait awhile before adding dogs to our family. Cooter is always welcome to visit as he is a perfect guest, but I think we will draw the line at overnighters.