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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Part 3 of the found doggy - the Chip Scan

After my realization and subsequent humiliation of my kidnap technique with the young child on the corner (see part 2) I decide to forsake further interviews with strangers on the street and whisk mop dog to our vets office. I am hoping, as one of my co-workers suggest that a dog like this would have a microchip for identification. Since most vets know about these things, its off to the vet. I am supposed to meet up with a friend for coffee, but I call her, she will wait, I explain I need to get to the vet before they close.

I climb in the car and the mop dog curls up on my lap. Mop dog hardly weighs anything and I realize two things, one, I am used to a 70 pound Bernese Mountain Dog leaning her substantial head on my shoulder when I drive, two, I am looking like one of those people I always mock, the ones who drive with little dogs on their laps. You've seen them the big old dudes in the pickups toting Pekinese as their payload, paws up on the window. Geesh.

At the vet's office I automatically stick the dog on the scale - with a dog and two cats I am trained to do this. I have to push the reset button - this can't be right, but again the weight shows at 5.2 lbs. Holy cow! Even my cats and my newborn children weigh more than this dog, in fact my lunch likely weighed more than this dog. How can something so small not have gotten crunched by a car? Grabbed by an eagle? Pulverized by a pit bull?

Turning I plunk mop dog on the counter and ask if they can check to see if the dog has a chip. Now I have no idea how they do this - I am not sure if they put the dog under a machine, or have a hand scanner like the grocery checkout. At this point I am hoping, hoping the dog is chipped so I can find it's owner and get it home.

I already have one large dog, and two cats and a husband who loves animals too much. It took me years to beg for a dog, he hates to get attached to them. He would freak if I brought another one home.

So the vet tech, after she and the receptionists finish oohing and ahhing over little mop dog, pull out a gun like thing (the grocery scanner kind) and scan and scan and scan up and down mop dog's back. Nope, no chip.

"Can you try it again, please?" I am starting to feel desperate- what am I going to do next?

One of the vets cruises past the front desk, wondering who we have here. I explain, lost, nearly run over in Spenard, no chip (this will become my mantra).

She runs her hands over the dog, "hmmm an intact male! No wonder he was running loose."

Indeed! I think. So she runs down ideas, Craigslist, Daily News, call other vets. No one it appears has notified them of a missing Yorkie, for that is what the mop dog is, a Yorkshire Terrier, intact male, about middle aged.

Leaving I trot him over to the doggy pea garden and yep, sure enough its a he. So with no identity yet I take my new little buddy over to the coffee shop to meet my friend and my daughter (she works at the coffee shop and has begged relentlessly for years for a teeny dog).

Oh my my my, I have saved a little dog and now I am in such big trouble!!!
Bike 2 Work Day 2010

I almost missed this years bike to work day, or at least was late for it, there was a bit of a snafu with a child, cramps, heating pad and unplugging of the extension cord which plugs in the iphone with the cool wake up alarm. But I awoke none the less and made it to my post with a minute to spare.

I think I had the whole counting station thing down this year. I was able to prepare a cup of coffee in my new french press mug - since I was late I was able to press it on site, instead of trying to rush it at home. I brought along a bottle of water (little sips since there is not time to pee), a chair and my knitting. Of course I had about three layers, my fingerless gloves with flap for warmth a warm hat (dare I say togue) and my safety vest.

I took Fluer with me, it is the Frontier Blues Jacket as seen in knitscene. I should have got a pic of me knitting, but the bicyclists were on a mission. I have already added in the sleeves so it is all in one piece and quite hefty. In fact I am using my Denise needles and at one point I felt that ominous little click and yep, sure enough there I was trying to click it back together while trying not to drop stitches all the time with my thumbs in mittens, my fingers out. But I managed to reclaim them all.

I was not bored or too uncomfortable at all this year, despite being at the second slowest station. The chair and the knitting really helped. I almost ran to the car a little after 8 - I had it parked strategically to be able to warm up and count, but the combo of standing or sitting and knitting or not really helped. And then the sun came out and really warmed things up, ahhhh. And I do like being out on the corner and able to chat with the bicyclists.

Of course some people thought I was insane, the lady on the corner with the safety vest knitting. That corner puts you almost right on the road, and a lot of people que up to turn left onto Lake Otis, so there are a lot of folks staring. I just smiled.

I talked to a few bicyclists, some of them blew right by with the green light since they were on a hill and did not even see me. Others chatted. Like the guy in the recumbent bike. I can understand why he rides on the pathway - despite his flag he is almost invisible. But heck that guy is fast! I counted Lisa who bikes all the way downtown to the National Park Service. And I sent a lot of folks down to Paramount's coffee stop at Elmore and Abbott. I counted 88 at my station, which was up by over 10 bicyclists.

I realized how right I felt counting after talking to my compadre Jon. Jon said he had a miserable time and really felt all 4 years of our counting. He was stationed close to home at 36th and Lake Otis. He said he moved around a lot and did not engage with people much, kind of hung out at the bus stop. The way he was explaining it he sounded like a stalker. I told him next year I am suiting him up - the whole bit - except maybe not the knitting.

He had no safety vest, and I realized that if you have a safety vest you look legitimate. It really does not matter what you are doing, that safety vest makes you look like you belong on the street because you have the official uniform.

I also realized that since we are the organizers we should take the best spots and reward those who have volunteered for years. I only realized this after one volunteer could not make it (a big business thing - la di da) and sent a subordinate to his spot to count. But her numbers are totally skewed - they are lower than last year which makes me realize that either she did not show up for very long or she was just did not count. The station to the east counted over 150 more cyclists from last year and she counted less? argggg. PLUS - I had to beg and wheedle just to get their counts. So next year, I will likely not require his assistance. You get what you pay for! and this time I got it loud and clear.

But enough of this, I will have total counts on Monday, off to take pens to Kaladi's and bail out the baristas who have no pens!

wil work on doggy part 3 later.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Part Two - did you lose a dog?

Once we all finished cooing and petting the little dog (who kind of smelled) we noticed a house across the street with a huge fence and we could see someone inside the fence moving an arbor around. At least we thought there was someone there, all we could see was the rounded top of an arbor kind of moving around the yard. What luck! a neighbor!

Karen and I strode over, calling our hellos over the fence and asking if they had a dog. 'Sure we do', and sure enough they held up a little while scruffy thing, that kind of looked like the white version of the found dog. But no, after we held ours up, they did not recognize our little guy. With no one else in sight we decided to head back to the cars.

After hiking the 20 minutes or so back along Fish Creek to our start point and our cars, the little dog is still in my arms - not struggling or jumping to get down. I have several offers by others to carry him, but he's kind of cute, in a greasy, gnarly way and his heart is back to a normal beat, better to just let him be, so we trudge on.

Once at the cars I realize it is after 5 and Dr. Corps is worried I make it to the vet's office on time, so I am excused, while the others finish wrap-up conversations about the project. The plan, as we conceived it on our trek back, is to head to my veterinarian's office so I can have them scan the dog for a microchip.

I plan to drive back down the street where we found the little dog. Surely there will be someone calling, 'Scruffy!'or maybe 'Rex' or something. He must be missed by now.

Once on Northwood Street the only person I see is a young boy around the corner from where we found the dog, sitting on the curb. Now that is not a normal occurrence anymore, folks just don't sit on curbs, especially next to a busy street.

Dang, that kid must have lost his dog! So I take the corner rolling down my window, until I am in front of him, 'Hey, did you lose a dog?'

The kid looks at me, his face surprised - oh crap I have just done the 'what every mom tells their kids about thing' - the stranger coming up and talking about a lost dog. oops!

Before I can hold up the dog, who is quite comfortably seated in my lap, as evidence that NO, I am not a kidnapper, the kid stands and walks the other way.

'Nope.' he calls over his shoulder.

Okay, so I tried. Off to the vets.

Part three later.....


Sunday, May 09, 2010

on the job bonus?

Tuesday, cinco de mayo eve, I was out on a hike with the corps of engineers (2 of them), a consultant (2 more) our wetlands person and the project administrator (quite a gaggle of us) to walk the route of the future Fish Creek Trail. It's in the heart of Spenard, take a right at the Napa and follow the creek, then hop across at the homemade bridge, then wind your way through the old trailer park, watch out for spare engine parts, til you hit Northwood Drive, just north of the park by the same name.

But on this trip we veered off course somewhere in the middle of the old trailer park, just before we passed the rusted out truck, I think. We slogged across a few boards laid over Fish Creek to reach one of the park boardwalks. The corps person was musing aloud (she is quite good at that being an environmental Dr. and all, so one tends to listen to her) why we were planning to construct a parallel trail when this gravel trail was going to the same location. We could just pave the gravel trail. Why indeed?

Trying to remember past tales of the city, after all we were at least the fourth people to work on this trail project in over 12 years, the only thing I could guess (similar to another project) was that the community council wished to keep a gravel trail around the bog, for those folks who wanted to stroll slowly and look at birds, and the paved trail would work for roller bladers and bicyclists who wanted to go from A to B. I am such a quick thinker, that sounded excellent to me.

And her too I guess - she bought it.

So with that, we wended our way to the street to discuss where the parallel trail would really emerge. It was at that point that Brooke uttered a restrained, 'holy shit' and we heard screeching tires and a very small, very gnarly looking Yorkshire terrier clambered onto the curb at our feet.

The corps guy almost grabbed him, but the teeny dog got spooked and scurried back across Northwood Street. Now this is a fairly busy, fast moving street, very scary for me, let alone a teeny dog.

As the dog crossed the street it got close to a cluster of boys hanging on the sidewalk. I guessed they had just gotten out of the elementary school down the street. The four of them were talking and the dog ran towards them.

'Grab that dog!' I cried as I took off across the street, glancing for cars. But instead of reaching down, they all stood there and looked at the dog.

'Can you please pick him up?' I pleaded again. After all, he was smaller than my cats, not a mean pit bull, but they responded by shuffling him between their feet. Thinking they undoubtedly did not have pets, I raced between them. The fleeting thought of being bit crossed my mind, as I scooped up the little dog, feeling a frantically beating heart under skinny little ribs.

Part two to follow.