Puppies on the Porch
It started at 6:15 when I suddenly heard insistent barking outside from what sounded like a very young dog. A couple of our neighbors have dogs, but they don't bark much at all. And it sounded so very close - as if the dog were, perhaps, on our sidewalk - that (in my half-awake fog) I felt compelled to peek out the small window at the top of our front door, from which I saw a car parked in front of our house and noticed a woman with black, curly hair looking in the direction of our porch. She seemed to hesitate, but then got into the car and pulled away.
The barking persisted, sending my cats running to the windows to see what was up. And then I realized it was coming from my front porch. But I couldn't see the dog out the windows, and I didn't want to open the door because of the cats. My husband suggested it was likely a neighbor's dog or a stray who'd mistaken our porch for its own, so he said we should ignore it and it would go away. And it did stop barking, but a while later I noticed that my cats were still hovering around the door, so I doubted that it had left.
At 7:00, my husband got ready to leave for work, and he said he'd check the porch and check with the neighbor as well. But he came back a minute later to report that there were actually two dogs - puppies - huddled up together on our porch, shivering in the January cold!
Truth be told, I panicked a bit at that news, wondering how we could manage a couple of strange dogs in our house. But the next thing I knew I was spreading towels in the bathroom and directing Abigail to corral the cats into the basement. Anxious or not, I was not going to leave abandoned puppies outside.
A minute later, they were in my arms, needing no more than a tad bit of coaxing to come into the house. They were shaking all over, obviously petrified and chilled to the bone, but it was instantly clear to me that they were sweet, well-mannered puppies who had been properly cared for. They were well-fed and even wore collars.
And at that point, I got mad. I put two and two together and realized that the black-haired woman had dumped the puppies on our front porch and, though hesitant for a moment, didn't really have any qualms about abandoning them. I just couldn't (and still can't) understand how anyone could do such a thing - not with any animal, and certainly not with these two very well-behaved pups.
Of course, the girls instantly fell in love. And, not surprisingly, Abigail gravitated toward the smaller, more timid dog, whom she thought looked like a "George," while Rachel latched onto the bigger of the two brothers, later naming him "Springer" because of how he started jumping straight up into the air to get our attention once he'd warmed up.
After a while, we put them in the toasty bathroom while I called our vet's office, wondering what to do. They gave me the numbers of two local no-kill rescue shelters but also advised me to call the police to report the incident. I did that, and the dispatcher said she'd send an officer out right away.
In the meantime, we played with the dogs again; they gobbled down our cats' food in about a minute flat and happily romped through the kitchen and living room, exploring their new, temporary digs. I again wondered at anyone choosing to abandon them, as they were even house trained.
But then the officer arrived, took my statement, and said he could transport the pups to one of the shelters my vet had mentioned. I hesitated - rather wishing I hadn't called - because I'd thought we might find them a home among our friends. But the girls and I were already becoming way too attached; ultimately, I decided to let them go then to make the parting easier than it would have been after a whole day or more of having them with us. Still, we were glum all day afterwards, missing our new little buddies.
Some of my friends wondered why we didn't just keep them. And, believe me, I thought about it. However, we have our cats to consider; I don't think any of them would have taken kindly to the pups, though I'm certain Springer and George would have been more than friendly. Plus, I know how expensive dogs are - much more so than cats. That's simply not feasible for us right now. And there's also the whole matter of what do with them when we're away from home; cats can be left alone for a couple of days, and it's easy to hire someone to come in once a day when we're gone for a longer stretch. Not so with dogs. So, though we would have dearly loved to keep these beautiful boys, I knew it wouldn't be best for us overall.
I'm remain baffled by the whole situation. I'll never understand the heart of a person who could thrust those babies out into the cold, not knowing anything about the house at which she'd dumped them. And what caused her to choose us out of all the homes in the city? Of course, I'm glad for the puppies that she did because there's no question but that we'd show compassion - but she had no way of knowing that.
I wonder, too, if there's some sort of spiritual lesson to glean. I really don't know, but I never dismiss God's hand from anything, even when I don't understand at the moment.
We prayed for George and Springer through the day, though, asking the Lord to protect them at the shelter and to find a wonderful home for them - hopefully together. I don't know if it's possible to find out what becomes of them, but I'm going to call the shelter and ask. We could use the closure of knowing.
Of course, even with that we'll still have a little ache in our hearts for a while, missing our sweet, unexpected puppies on the porch.