It was a medium-small dog, a nondescript yellow shorthair with a dark muzzle, and it was deleriously happy to see us. And it had been a Bad Dog. It knew it had been bad. It approached with the cringing, tail-wagging servility of a dog that expects to be punished but is terribly happy to see you anyway, legs hunched, rolled over on its back the moment we moved toward it, and waited to be punished or forgiven.
Not knowing the dog's crime, we petted it. It was a very soggy dog--we'd been walking at the Bond Creek park, and the dog had obviously been swimming in the lake chasing ducks, but I am the sort of soppy animal lover who will pet even a wet dog, and Kathy's just as bad. Delighted at the attention, it slumped against kneecaps and snorfled happily on hands. We glanced about for the owner, saw a woman over on the walkway, and Leonor went to talk to her, and the dog saw another dog, leapt up, and charged off.
It wasn't her dog. Furthermore, she'd been there for about fifteen minutes, and hadn't seen any owners, although the dog and his companion (a slightly larger brittany-esque spaniel) had been very friendly and inclined to come up to people and beg to be petted.
Animal lovers that we are, we sighed, tracked down the dogs, caught the yellow dog again, and while Leonor held its collar and I made idiotic whoozagoodpuppyden? noises and got wet dog all over my knees, and Kathy tracked down the brittany, the other woman, who had a cell phone, called the 1-800 # on the tag. The 1-800 # went to some service who called the owner, the owner called the woman's cel phone, while Leonor hung on like grim death* and Kathy came up, having wrangled the brittany, which I then got to hang on to like grim death, and who, while just as cheerful as the yellow dog, being somewhat taller, managed to spread the wet-dogginess up to about mid thigh.
I was half expecting the owner to say dimissively "Oh, they run around loose all the time," or something equally obnoxious, but far from it--the owner was in his car at the time, driving around desperately trying to find the dogs, and was at the park in two minutes flat. He offered us money for having found his miscreants, which we waved off--hey, we've all had dogs, we know how it goes, we're glad we could help, etc--and the two deliquents leapt into the car immediately, obviously glad to be going back home, and happily spread wet dogness all over the back of the car.
So that was our good deed for the day (or in my case, probably the month.) It's always nice to see a happy ending.
*This was quite a sacrifice, since she is allergic to dogs, and broke out in hives up to the elbow about ten minutes later.