The mail lady knocked on my door early this afternoon. She's a great mail carrier and I am lucky to be part of her route. She's seen our dogs from time to time and knows I've fostered. Today she told me that there was a little dog in a box abandoned in front of one of the houses around the corner. It's been raining and the temperature fairly cold by California standards, and the mail lady said the dog was shivering but would not come to her.
So I put on my shoes, grabbed a leash, the car keys and Phoebe (in case the dog was dog-friendly and Phoebe could coax it to us). Boomer decided he wanted to come along too, so they both hopped in the car. It was still raining at the time. Here's what I saw when we got there.
I got out of the car and immediately the dog stepped away. I let Phoebe out, but the dog backed away and went off to huddle in the corner between the house next door and the side fence. I knocked on the door of the house and asked the person who answered if she had a dog. Lots of times when dogs hang around in front of a particular house, especially little ones, it means they've escaped the yard. But she said no.
We both went over the dog, still huddled in the corner and growling at us. I tried to loop a leash around him but he kept attacking it. The other woman is a cat person so didn't know too much about dogs. I'm a wuss otherwise I would've just picked the dog up. Instead, we decided to try to trap him. I had a mail bin in my car which I angled in front of the dog, between the house and the side gate, so that he couldn't escape. Of course, he could've jumped over the mail bin but luckily for us, he wasn't that adventuresome. If he was, he would've taken off from fright rather than back himself in a corner.
The woman went back to her house and came back with a pet crate, which took the place of the mail bin. We had the door open, and the dog was cornered. He had only to take 2 steps to get into the crate. But he wasn't moving and couldn't be bribed with treats. Shaking and growling, he just cowered. I found a piece of cardboard and put layed it on top of the crate, with part of it sticking out so that the dog was covered--not just from the rain but also to prevent him from jumping over the crate. We then left him alone and went to stand by my car. 2 minutes later, I heard a little noise and when I went back to look at him, I saw he had finally gone into the crate. It was a simple matter of just closing the door and packing him into my car.
When I got home, I pulled out one of our spare crates--an XXL one. I wasn't sure how scared and withdrawn this dog was going to be so I wanted him to have his own little space. Luckily, he was such a small dog that a large crate was plenty of room. I set up the 2 crates facing each other so he would have access to both.
As it turns out, the moment he was let out of the plastic crate, he transformed into this tag-wagging, friendly dog who wanted to be lifted up. We named him Pip, short for pipsqueak, which is what Popeye calls him. Popeye's not a fan yet.
Pip was not microchipped and had no collar, which actually isn't uncommon. We had gone on the assumption he had been abandoned in that cardboard box, but I immediately noticed how well groomed he was. Nails not overgrown, hair brushed, ears cleaned, and I could smell the fragrance of shampoo on him.
The more I get to know him, the more I find it impossible to believe that somebody abandoned him. Maybe if he had some super annoying habit like incessant barking or hyperness or some behavioral problem. But he is, so far, a fabulous dog. Judging from his teeth, he appears to be only about 5-6 months old. He is not yappy, though he does make little squeaky whines when he wants attention. He is definitely used to being cuddled because if you sit on the floor, he immediately crawls onto your lap. He doesn't mind being picked up and he's fine with the other dogs. He has a tendency to mark (and he's not neutered) but he appears at least somewhat housetrained.
This dog is just too cute, too young, and too well-behaved to have been dumped so unceremoniously in the rain and cold. We'll be making more calls. In the meantime, he'll have a warm place to stay. And maybe, in a week or so, Popeye will warm up to him and finally have a buddy that's smaller.