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Note: If anyone on Baristanet is reading this and knows of someone in Montclair, who has lost a Bulldog, please comment here. Thanks.
My sister Deb and I are chatting on the phone about my niece's college ideas when my cell-phone rings. I see it's my partner Pat, who I've just heard pull into the driveway. I almost don't answer it, figuring, Pat can tell me whatever it is when she comes inside.
"Deb, 'scuse me for just a sec," I say, picking up the other phone at the last minute.
"Sarah, I need you out here," Pat says. What could she have bought that's too heavy to lift by herself, I wonder. Still chatting with Deb, I walk outside the garage and Pat rolls down her window just as I see something white flashing in the well of the station wagon.
Oh, God! It's a darling Bulldog.
"She was running around on Alexander when a few of us stopped our cars. A man lifted her into the back here. We've gotta take her to PAWS, and they can check whether she's got a microchip."
"Deb, there's a Bulldog in our car and she's adorable! I've gotta go."
In the space of the 10-minute car-ride, I name her Heather, inspired by the dog Pat had prior to being with me, a Bull terrier whose middle name was Jonquil. I'm panicking: What if PAWS, or whatever it's called now, isn't open? What will we do with her? The kitties will feel invaded if she comes inside and it's too cold outside. Oh, she's so cute. Clearly, she enjoys going for a ride. This black station wagon never seemed so perfect as it seems at this moment, with a tan-splotched white doggy staring out its back windows.
We arrive at PAWS and a woman's posting a sign outside, with hand-drawn, red hearts around its borders, meant to lure adopters over the Valentine's Day weekend. Pat leaves the car to talk to her and Heather ignores me completely. She stares at Pat and the woman, her breath making a little fog-patch on the left-hand, back window. She seems to be trying to read their lips. My soothing tones do not register with her.
Soon, Pat is inside, signing papers, swearing that she is not abandoning the dog while the woman comes with a leash and opens the back hatch. She puts the cloth leash over Heather's head and during none of this is Heather barking. In fact, I never do hear her voice.
"May I pet her for a moment? Pat found her and rescued her. I've just met her."
When I give her back a couple of pets, it's like when the dental hygienist hits a nerve under my gums while cleaning my teeth. The dog is a raw nerve. She doesn't reach back to bite me, but squirms anxiously, still not barking. I notice then that she has a cinnamon-bun-curly tail and a husky/muscle-bound frame in addition to her pushed-in nose, impressive jowls and the bit of tongue that hangs out of her mouth at all times.
And then she's walking away, along-side the woman, like a jaunty, little lady.
I miss her so much. I can't stop thinking about her. The shelter typed in her name in the system as "Heather." If no one claims Heather soon, she might have two mommies...and two feline sisters.