I hate surprises. Well, I hate bad surprises anyway. Surprise me with a present or some great news? Right on. Surprise me by showing up with 4 people at my doorstep telling me they're the owners of Annabelle and her name is in actuality Rosie and they're demanding the puppies and Annabelle/Rosie right away, without giving me time to find out what my rights are or prepare the kids? No, not my kind of surprise at all.
So, yeah, that's what happened last night. 4 people showed up at my doorstep and told me they were the real owners of Annabelle. It was strange, Mr. Ivy answered the door and came in and said, "There are these people outside wanting to see if our dog belongs to them." For some unknown reason I thought he meant Tiny, so I brought him outside. No, they said, the Shih Tzu. Ohhhh. That made more sense.
Apparently, someone that reads either this blog, or my Twitter, or is one of my Flickr contacts, or something, had emailed them and told them where I live. I don't know who emailed them. I don't really care other than the fact that they obviously know me well enough to have my address- I wish they had thought of my kids and my feelings for one hot minute and had emailed me to give me the heads up. Or at least had copied me on the email they sent the owners of Annabelle. Anyway.
So we got Annabelle, brought her outside, and she knew them alright. I guess they expected me to pack Annabelle and her puppies right up and hand them all over right away. I didn't think so. I said something like "Let me get this all sorted out in my mind and I'll call you tomorrow." No, they wanted her and all the puppies right away. The cops ended up being called. I called them, I had nothing to hide.
When the cops showed up, that's when things started to go badly. The people, who were perfectly nice, if a bit demanding, started insinuating to the police officer that I had stolen Annabelle. Let me make one thing perfectly clear- I would NEVER, EVER steal a dog, or anything else for that matter. My moral code has plenty of room for shades of grey, but one thing that is crystal-clear, black and white for me is- stealing is wrong. So the insinuation of that made me irate.
I think when the cop started to not like me was in the middle of all that. One of the things the woman said was, "I had flyers EVERYWHERE. I had them at Food Lion, who doesn't shop at FOOD LION?" Well, I don't shop at Food Lion, and I said so. Loudly. That's when things really started to not go my way.
I explained about my kids and all of us truly loving Annabelle and her puppies. I understand, you lose your dog, you miss them, you want them back. Okay. But, the problem is, we had all been there since minute one of their birth, and we had grown really attached to them. And then there's the question of the vet bills. I had spent over $300 on Annabelle at the vet. The cop shot me down immediately on that one, telling me that was MY problem that I had spent that much money and if I couldn't afford it, I shouldn't have rescued Annabelle.
It's a lucky thing that Mr. Ivy was there. He was completely calm and reasonable and finally worked out a deal with the owners that we could keep one puppy. I wanted to keep Annabelle and the puppies at my house until she was finished weaning them, then I would give them all back other than Kitty, the one we would keep. The owners flatly refused. Finally, I said okay, they could take them home. I just wanted a signed statement with the agreement. They were okay about that, but then absolutely refused to give me their address. Why? They had mine, and my phone number, yet they wouldn't give me their address?
Again, the cop started giving me crap. "There are ACTUAL emergencies out there and you're quibbling over a DOG," he said. I just didn't want to get COMPLETELY screwed over. We had come to a total impasse and I couldn't think of anything else. I told them we'd keep Kitty and they could take the other two puppies and Annabelle home. We'd hand feed Kitty. Mr. Ivy said at 4 weeks, it wasn't ideal, but Kitty would be okay.
We wrote up another contract, absolving the owners of any rights to Kitty, they signed, we signed, made a copy, and gave it to them. I'm hoping this is the end of it forever. One of the women called last night and I told her where they could find vet records for Annabelle/Rosie and she told me some strange story about how there are worms in the tissues of every puppy's intestines and they would get fat and die if not dewormed. Err, okay. I'm going to trust my vet's word on that, that she doesn't need to be dewormed. I'll be taking her in to my vet as soon as I can get an appointment to have her checked over and make sure everything's okay.
Hopefully, this is over. I'm glad Annabelle found her real owners. They were fairly nice between all the insinuations and bizarre stories. Annabelle wasn't housetrained to poop outside (she'd pee outside, no problem. Poop? No way) so I'm glad I won't be cleaning up piles of dog poo all the time.
My 8 year old was completely hysterical last night. She cried and I held her and cried with her. There will be grieving. But the good news is, this morning things seem to be better. I'm bleary eyed from hand feeding our wonderful puppy Kitty every four hours. Kitty seemed somewhat sad last night, but I can tell you she does enjoy me being "mama" for her. Not as much, I'm sure, as she enjoyed her real mama, but she likes me quite well.
I really do think this has worked out for the best. God was certainly taking care of us last night by this happening when Mr. Ivy was home. Like I said at the beginning of this, I don't handle surprises well. That's why I so desperately wish I had had a heads up from the emailer. I could have prepared my kids AND myself for what was about to happen. But thankfully, Mr. Ivy who does handle surprises and everything else calmly and reasonably was there. That's a blessing.
I think the real lesson to be learned in this is to make sure your dogs are collared and leashed, or at least supervised when they are outside. And spay and neuter your pets. All of this could have been avoided had Annabelle's owners done any of this.
UPDATE: The person who emailed the owners sent me an email explaining what happened. It was basically a matter of them seeing the ad, getting excited at the thought of being able to help reunite Annabelle with her owners and emailing them. This person did NOT give them my address, as they don't even have my address. Which means, I guess, that these people have stalked me from my Flickr account, which is kind of disturbing and I'm going to ramp up security on that. But at any rate, the person who did the emailing was very cool about admitting the mistake by not letting me know first, and things like that happen. The emailer and I are cool, I am not mad. Just wanted to update on that.