At first I couldn’t tell if the four-footed black blur was a dog or a cat. I was on my bike, listening to (what else?) Kylie heading up Clayton Road through the Grove on my way to Forest Park. When I crossed Tower Grove I saw the dog trotting the other direction, and it took me all of one second to have the following conversation in my head: Was that a cat? Black cat? Janet Jackson. No, it’s a dog. Look out for that car. I should stop. Where’d he go? Maybe he belongs to someone wait he has no collar I’m on my bike how am I supposed to get him to follow me?
I like to maintain an active internal monologue.
It took a while, but eventually, thanks to a combination of cars going by on the street, wind that blew a crumpled piece of newspaper behind his tail, and a modicum of patience on my part, the pug mix (who was clearly a he—spay and neuter your dogs, kids) sidled up to me and sniffed my hand, then my leg, then practically jumped into my lap. (He also tried to pee on my bike, but I asked him not to.) He had a rough spot on one ear, a bit of a crusty nose, and was panting like the perpetually congested (mind you, pugs always sound like that), but he was adorable nonetheless. And I had no idea what to do with him, since I was on my bike and hadn’t even brought my water bottle with me.
Luckily, he seemed game enough to follow me, so we started heading back toward the house (my ultimate goal to get him someplace like Stray Rescue). Since it was at least a twenty-minute walk and the temperature was quickly rising to oh-my-lord degrees Fahrenheit, and we had to cross at least two major roads to get back to the house, this seemed Not Too Bright to me.
When I stopped at Novaks to see if I could get the little fella some water, the woman hosing off the patio went one better: she brought a pail of water and a little bag of sliced turkey. Suddenly, we were his Best Friends Ever.
“What are you going to do with him?” she asked. When I told her I was hoping he’d follow me home, she offered to keep him inside (bless you, Novaks lady!) so I could go home and get my car and take him to my vet, where they could scan him for a microchip. (While I was at home, I grabbed Michael and a leash as well.) It turned out he had no chip, but the vet tech was immediately smitten with him: “He’s so sweet. Are you going to foster him no okay I will mine mine mine.”
Well, it was something like that.
Silly me, I forgot to take his picture, so you’ll just have to take my word that he was the Cutest. Pug mix. Ever.
And since I found him on Clayton Road, his name’s Clayton.