Two weeks ago after my husband and I came home from church, I was looking forward to spending the rest of the day tackling my ambitious to-do list. We changed clothes. I got to work and my husband headed out to the golf course. Not long after he left, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to see my neighbor standing there on my front porch with a big, black horse.
Well, not really a horse, but a dog as big as one. Have you ever seen the Mastiff breed? They are huge. Their weight can exceed 200 lbs.
It seems this dog just turned up in the neighborhood. My neighbor already has a Golden Retriever, who was none too happy that a dog triple his size had suddenly found its way into his yard. Why the knock on my door? Well, that's easy. As it turned out, the dog had tags. Ft. Bragg tags. I live in an overwhelmingly civilian neighborhood. If anyone in the neighborhood might be able to track down the dog's owner, our neighbor knew it would be us.
So, here I am, face to face with a dog who, when standing on his hind legs, is taller than me. We walked into the yard and played with him a bit, then someone took over my body and as I was petting this monster I blurted out, "we'll be happy to keep him until we can locate his owner."
After a few minutes of playing outside, we walked in the house and the dog went straight for Max's food bowl. I know better than to come between a dog and a food bowl. Especially a dog this size. He consumed the entire bowl of cat food as if it were an appetizer and then looked at me as if to say, "more please."
The dog was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. And despite his intimidating size, he was as gentle as can be. Once, he even jumped on the sofa with me, taking up the entire seating area and pinning me under his massive body. He was ultra-clingy and followed me all over the house, no matter where I went (yes, even the restroom). I'm not used to having something the size of a Buick in my house, so it took some time for me to adjust to having a bodyguard with me every step, and I do mean every step.
The phone numbers on the dog's tags had been disconnected, so I assumed that the family had just PCS'd from Ft. Bragg and were somewhere in the area. The veterinarian's office was closed, but would be open the next day. I had no doubt that we would find the owner very soon. Meanwhile, I spent a great deal of time loving this massive dog and walking it. The walks turned into a comedy show given the dog's size and strength. It was more like him walking me.
I was thinking, my husband is never going to believe that this dog just happened on our doorstep. Because, you see, I have been known to bring home all kinds of stray animals. You should have seen the look on my husband's face when he drove up to the house, and standing in the foyer looking out of the glass door at him was this massive beast.
"Andi, what have you done?"
I explain the whole thing and confidently proclaim that I'm sure we'll find the owner tomorrow, when the veterinarian's office at Bragg opened.
"Probably before then," I say. "This is a beautiful dog, he's very sweet and I'm sure his family is missing him right now. They will probably be knocking on doors any time now."
"Andi, don't get attached to this dog." (He knows me well).
"I'm not." I say, as I stroke the dog's belly while he's sprawled out, taking up our entire dining room floor.
"Oh, my...." I shriek.
"What?" Asks my husband, sounding alarmed.
"What?" He's looking, but not sure what he's supposed to be looking at.
"He's not a he, he's a she."
My husband decides to take the dog for a walk. He comes back holding up a broken leash.
"She saw a bunny rabbit and that was it. Snapped the leash in half and she was off."
My husband decides not to wait until Monday morning and does some investigating. We thought we might have a lead on who the owner may be and I called the number we were given, only to hear a little girl tell me her mom and dad are unavailable. I know the drill. She's not supposed to talk to strangers or tell them that her parents aren't home, so I say I'll call back later.
My husband raised his eyebrows.
"Call her back."
So I did.
"Hi, I just called you and this may be a strange question, but do you have a dog?"
That whole don't talk to strangers thing went right out the window.
"Yes, Yes. Do you have her?"
"Yes, I do. I've had her for several hours now. She is safe and sound."
You could tell the little girl was emotional.
"Write this number down and have your mom call me."
About one minute later, I got the call and five minutes later they were at our house.
Turns out the dad is currently deployed. They have four kids, all of whom had been heartbroken all day. It was absolutely meant to be that this military dog ended up with our military family, if only for a short time. It was wonderful to see the dog reunited with her family. But a bit sad, too. I enjoyed having her around.
So, we start talking about Army life and Ft. Bragg and SpouseBUZZ LIVE Ft. Bragg/Pope. Turns out, the lady knows the person I'm dealing with at Ft. Bragg. I made a new friend, whom I hope to see again very soon. The bonus: I get to see the dog, too.
Oh, and Mr. Andi, I've now decided that when we leave here in a few months, I want a Mastiff puppy. Brace yourself....