Around this time of month in September, my dog, Amelia, passed away. I spent a lot of time crying and condoling myself with Disney themed tissues and chocolate which I would follow up with more crying and chocolate. I was like someone out of Midol commercial, only with less man-fueled rage.
I eventually graduated into stage II of my grieving phase, which involved contemplating adopting a new dog. This was followed by guilt and the same crying-Disney tissue-chocolate cycle described above. To no one’s surprise I came to the conclusion that it would not be a good time to adopt a pet.
Fast forward to November. It’s a normal night in the Kuma-gun. I have just picked up my friend, Bear Hat, and we are on our way to a pre-election night Chili dinner. Things are abnormally going according to plan. I pick up Bear Hat on time and we are on the right road to our friend’s house. Both of these things are very out of character for me.
I was telling Bear Hat about how, since I ruled out getting a new dog, I was contemplating adopting a cat. I was on the part of my speech about how I wasn’t sure what that would mean for my tatami when a giant ball of fuzz darted in front of my car. I slammed on my brakes and swerved. It was a dog.
Bear Hat and I stared at each other and used our good friend speak:
“… that was a dog…”
“yeah I think so….”
Just like that I found myself illegally parked in front of a ramen shop. Bear Hat jumped out of my car and was running into the dark before I even had my seatbelt unbuckled. I paused, waited for a second, and decided to chase her.
“Bear hat? ….Dog?”
I called out as I ran down the unevenly paved, unlit sidewalk. I had on boots and no winter coat. I looked very American.
Winter turned to spring which turned to summer which skipped fall and turned back to winter. Finally, they appeared. Bear Hat had dog by the leash and was leading him towards me. I froggered my way across the busy road to the side they were on and joined them. Dog was a very obviously purebred Shiba Inu. He had a light tan coat. Dog looked very confused. Dog was timid but also very cute.
Bear Hat and I walked Dog to the Eneos gas station that was just up the street from where we had almost flattened him into a Shiba-pancake. We figured we – and by we I mean Bear Hat – could ask the attendants to see if anyone recognized him. I held Dog’s leash while Bear Hat went inside to ask around. Dog was very skittery and jumped at each passing car. He whined a little bit and darted around in small circles around me. I wanted to pet him but didn’t want to freak him out more.
Bear Hat returned with an attendant. He told us that there was a glass shop just down the road and that a Shiba-inu had been tied up outside it. He said if that didn’t work to take Dog to the police station. We set off on our way.
When we arrived at the glass shop it was closed. However, a woman was ascending the stairs of the same building to her apartment. Bear Hat called out “excuse me! Can I ask you a question?” She turned and jumped when she discovered that Bear Hat was not Japanese. Bear Hat explained the situation and Dog while I held his leash and smiled. The woman didn’t recognize him but said she would call the owner first thing in the morning and ask all her neighbors and friends. We thanked her and continued up the road to the Police Station.
We jaywalked our way across the street, Dog in tow, and made our way up to the doors. I stood outside with Dog while Bear Hat went inside to ask what we should do. I sat on the curb and Dog sat nearby. I wanted to pet him but was still afraid of scaring him. Bear Hat returned followed by two young and fairly attractive police officers- one of which immediately hugged the dog and rubbed him all over. He wasn’t the dog’s owner but claimed to know a lot about Shiba Inu because he had one himself.
They explained that there was an animal shelter and that they could take him there while they waited to hear from the owner. When Bear Hat asked they explained that the shelter does euthanize dogs that are adopted. They then asked if I’d be interested in taking the dog if it wasn’t claimed.
I paused for a very long time. There were about a hundred reasons to why I shouldn’t adopt a dog so naturally I said yes – but I’d have to check with my supervisor to make sure I was allowed to have pets in my house. I hypothesized that this wouldn’t be an issue since the gargantuan bugs could easily outweigh a Chihuahua and no animal no matter how devious could do more damage than the mold that I seemed to discover more of everyday. They told me they would call tomorrow and update me. We left and went to our friend’s house.
On our way, we decided to name him Mojimoji – Moji for short – which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for flittery or jumpy or something like that.
The next day, Bear Hat called me to tell me that Moji hadn’t been claimed. I prepared to ask my supervisor if it was okay. She was out of the office. I waited for her return. Bear Hat called again a few hours later to tell me that the owner had come in and that Dog’s / Moji’s name was Tarou and that his owner had a present for us. I was sad and relieved at the same time.
That night I went to Bear Hat’s house and we opened the present together. We were excited because the box said “donut treats.” They weren’t donuts – but they were delicious. We decided that we would be a Pet Rescuing team and that we’d even make a theme song – which will be coming out soon…. Maybe.