The Time I Met Elvis


It was the seventeenth of May and I was minding my own business when I noticed a little Chihuahua on the drive-way camera.   The lighting being what it was, I thought I was just looking at a silhouette of Cha Cha.   So, concerned she had gotten out into the front yard I threw on some more appropriate outside attire to retrieve her.

Except in so doing, she poked her head around the corner, revealing she was indeed inside the house as I had thought she was.

But, I decided to go out anyway and say hi to our visitor.   By this point he was on his way out of my yard and on to the next.  He seemed friendly, coming up to me when I called him over.   I let him sniff my hand and he let me pet him for a few seconds before resuming his exploration.    I heard my neighbor building something next door, and knowing they had at least one little dog, wandered over to ask if the little guy I had just met was his.    He told me no, and not seeing anyone else around he might have wandered off from, decided to put him in my back yard.

Little black dogs shouldn’t be out in the street.  Cars and all.

I grabbed the camera, went out back and took a few pictures of him, which I then forwarded on to the local animal control along with a found dog report.    Authorities notified, I set to making a found dog poster to print out and put up around the neighborhood.

I figured I’d have his owners located within the day.    But alas, no call.   For the next two days I kept checking with animal control for any missing pet reports that fit his description, also with no results.

So I start concluding that maybe he got loose from the motel up the street here and his people weren’t actually my neighbors.   So I’d have to take some additional measures.   Since micro-chipping of pets is common enough, I took him down to an animal hospital to have him scanned for one.

Here’s where the story morphs from a routine found-dog-trying-to-be-reunited-with-his-owners to the slightly-bizarre.

Shortly before leaving to do this, Gabe and I had been chatting.  He had been with us for a couple days now and we still didn’t know what to call him.   He threw out a couple of ideas, but he has this under-bite thing going and I say “He looks like an Elvis.”

So we’re in the lobby of the animal hospital waiting for a good fifteen minutes for them to come tell us if he had a chip or not.   Finally they emerge and one of them hands the dog to Gabe saying “We’re going to give Elvis back to you…”

Gabe and I look at each other.   We never mentioned any guessed names we had come up with, or anything to identify him by name for that matter.    Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks of the King when I see that under-bite.

“There’s some confusion.” they tell us, and then proceed to explain the conversation they just had.   He does have a chip, but its not registered with the service.  So they had to get ahold of the animal shelter who did have a record of it, from when they adopted him out.   So they call the people of record, only to find out they had given him away to another family some six months ago.   They try getting in touch with the girl they gave him too, but no response.

I’m put on the phone with what would now be the owners prior to the owners I’m looking for.   We talk  a minute, they’re at their son’s graduation dinner, but tell me about how they gave him away and had been getting frequent updates on him up until a month or so before, and then haven’t heard anything back from the girl.   Said they’d text her again and see if she answered.   Otherwise, they’d get in touch with me after the dinner to come pick him up.

So a bit later in the evening they call again and I’m trying to get them my address and ask what Elvis’ story is.    They are Chihuahua rescuers that do what they can to put them into homes so they aren’t euthanized.   Elvis was one such rescue, but they decided they’d give him a home.    Unfortunately he is a very playful little guy and their other dogs are more lethargic.   They felt he wasn’t getting the kind of interaction he needed from the pack and might be happier in a home with more active dogs.  So they found him one.    Now they’re second guessing that decision as ‘obviously she let him get loose’ and ‘we haven’t heard from her in a couple of months and she’s not answering our messages that he’s been located.’

Discussion continues around what his fate is.   It’s a mutual feeling we don’t want him winding up in the pound again.   They’re quite willing to take him home, but if I want to give him a try and see how he adjusts to my dogs, they’re okay with that and if for any reason it doesn’t work out, I just call and they come get him and take him back home.

So now I have four dogs.  He’s getting on well enough with the rest of the pack I know they’ll all integrate just fine and I won’t need to be making any calls.   So I go and register his chip to my name, because now his owner of record has given him to me.

Then he escapes my yard, finding a hole in the fences that actually both my existing little ones could have exploited but apparently have not.   I find him walking down the street and retrieve him.   I note where the hole is and make a temporary patch until Gabe can get home and figure out a more permanent solution. (I leave most of that to him since he’s far more adept with power tools than I.)    Meanwhile, I’m actively monitoring all potty-excursions to the yard.

Gabe gets home from work and I tell him what happened and he goes out and makes a fix.   We let Elvis out and I watch him closely.  He runs right to where the hole was now whenever he goes out, so I know he’s trying to get out.  (Most likely wants to go home, I figure, but we don’t know where that is and I don’t want him getting hurt looking.)

While observing it I conclude he could jump over the board, but hasn’t yet realized it.  So I tell Gabe we need a do-over on that repair.   He’s in the middle of his next project so will get to that shortly.    Meanwhile I need to start dinner.

So I’m doing that and Gabe is going in and out of the garage a lot.   And not being mindful of the dogs going out with him.   I, however, am and after retrieving Elvis three or four times in the middle of cooking go tell Gabe to be more careful as we’re both distracted and not watching closely enough… and Elvis can get out.   (In one of those retrievals it was discovered he realized he could get over our barrier and sure enough, he did.)

Sadly my instruction didn’t work out.  Elvis slipped out back again, and then out front, and by the time I noticed he was gone.

Gabe and I take off exploring the neighborhood looking, fruitlessly.    Little guy is now missing again.    We figure he found his way home, as there wasn’t enough time for him to have gotten very far, and with no trace of him… he either found his home, or another person didn’t want him getting hit by a car and did the same thing I did, take him in to find his people.

After a sleepless night worrying about him, the next morning I get up and tour the neighborhood again looking for him.   Then I go home and make up some more posters, this time about a missing dog, and go out and plaster the neighborhood with them.

I’m pretty upset by now and worried sick about this little dog I just met a few days ago.   We bonded pretty quick.

Finally a get a phone call from an unrecognized number.  Which I answer and it’s a lady telling me that that dog I’m looking for, it’s hers.    She goes on to explain how he was stolen from her yard (but then mentions she has six kids), and that some red truck apparently slowed down next to their house the previous evening and released him in front of her kids… thus getting him to his house.

Yeah, this is where we go from slightly-bizarre to bizarre.   Some random red truck dropping a dog off for kids.    “They must have recognized him and knew where he lived.”  I said.   She dismissed that notion as they has just moved here and didn’t know anyone.

Whatever I think.   At this point I’m experiencing several emotions.    I’m disappointed he’s not coming back to my home.   I’m relieved he’s safe.  I’m happy he has been reunited with familiar faces.   Yet I’m also kind of pissed off because I know this lady was just bull-shitting in her story, and felt she was accusing me of stealing her dog.

I call BS because I too was talking with animal control on a daily basis, even after I was given him by the previous owners (who, being the owner on record associated to the permanent ID be who the State of Nevada would decree is the owner… so at this point he is legally mine… not that I really want to take anyone’s dog from them.)    If she had been calling them every day like she claims, that first call would have had animal control taking a missing dog report, which I would have seen.

Never mind that due to a glitch in their online software there are actually three entries in their database for him being found.   Two of which have pictures.

So I’m not buying that aspect of the story, and if you have six kids, I find it far more likely he snuck out with all the traffic in and out of the gate on their yard.    Plus, once I figured out the house he lived at, was even more annoyed because I know for a fact my “I found a dog in my yard” poster was put up on the street light directly across the street from them.     Why didn’t anyone come looking for him?

I decide to just let it rest and get over it.   He’s where he wants to be and after I walked by to go retrieve my ‘lost dog’ posters, got to see him and confirm he really was okay.   Not that I was all that happy with what I saw.   He was outside on a hot day and with little shade and no water around I could see.    Still he was clearly healthy and well cared for when he arrived in my world, so I figured they took better care of him than that moment implied.  Besides, I felt I was getting a bit judgmental because I was sad he wasn’t coming home to me.

A week goes by and I get another call saying she had seen a lost dog poster and it was her dog I was looking for.    Now we’re crossing into bizzaro world.   After some precision questioning I figure out she is the ‘daughter’ of the lady I spoke to previously and the one that had actually been given Elvis by the previous owners (associated to the chip).   So I explain again what actually transpired, why he was in my care, and why I was looking for him.   I also reiterate I’m just glad he got back to his people.

Still, my mind keeps telling me this isn’t over.     As you may recall, I have his chip in my name now.  I’m still unsure what to do about it.    In my mind, I’ve now shown a higher degree of ownership and responsibility for a dog that wasn’t mine to begin with, when they have not.   Gabe figures he just gets loose a lot and they stopped being concerned about it.  The whole ‘he was stolen’ thing is just a cover story for when people start asking questions.

Great, I think.   He’ll get out, get hurt, get help and I’ll be the one called to come pay for his repairs.    A bridge to cross when we get to it.  I mentioned three times in the conversation with the ‘mother’ that he had a chip registered to the wrong people.   She didn’t seem all that inclined to care about that detail.     I call the previous owners I had spoken too and give them the update.   Not sure yet who would get that call as animal control has one set of owners and the HomeAgain service has me.   Just in case they should get a call if he gets out again.   She’s very appreciative of me taking the time to do that.

So as the days pass I make my peace with it all and am carrying on with the three dogs I have.

Then memorial day hits and I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket.  I don’t get it out in time but it’s a missed call from “Elvis’ People.”    Then I note another missed call from them an hour earlier.     Great, I’m thinking, he’s out and about again.    But that first call had a voicemail, so I listen to that and now it’s a guy.   The dad I assume, or at least the mom’s boyfriend.     “We have to give up Elvis and you’re the first person that came to mind.”

So I call to see what’s up and get this story about how they have to move and can’t keep him and if I want him, it’ll just be a $40 re-homing fee.

Gabe thinks I’m being scammed for money and I’m inclined to agree, but at forty dollars, I think that’s a small price to pay to ensure Elvis has a good home and won’t be bounced around anymore.

So I go to the ATM, get the money, and then go get Elvis.     I feel pretty good no one can challenge my ownership now.  His permanent ID says he’s mine and the only party that could contest it is sold him to me.   (Probably should have gotten a receipt, but I did some homework on how Nevada handles pet ownership and having permanent ID with my name associated to it protects my interests quite well.)

And that is the story of how I met Elvis, and added him to my pack.


Although as my neighbors I frequently am passing their house and they don’t seem to be moving at all.  Which makes me wonder now why they really gave him up.   I really hope he wasn’t sold for drug money.  I don’t want to be a party to that.   There were also kids involved and its sucky enough I’m the guy that came to take their dog away from them…   they were old enough to grasp it all, but still obviously sad.    Even ran into the guy at the gas station the other day.

To further the oddities of this story… the house Elvis came from is the same crap-hole house that Gabe and I seriously contemplated buying as a fixer-upper for ourselves.   We ultimately opted against it due to this massive pit in the back yard that someone had been a swimming pool at some point.    Ultimately we decided we’d be getting to far in over our heads with that place.

All in all, after a story like this, its difficult to not conclude it’s the Force’s way of making what needs to happen happen.    While I didn’t really need/want another dog, I’m quite attached to the little guy.   Now to teach him Dog 101 – how to sit, lay down, etc.


Sometimes Facebook Redeems Itself…

Well not really, but I likely wouldn’t have seen this otherwise, so thanks where thanks is due I guess.

Watch this.   I mean it.


Its things like this that allow me to maintain a positive outlook with the world (in case you were wondering).

(note, this is at least a couple of years old.   I believe it occurred in Santiago, Chile.)


As one commenter astutely put it:

Funny how animals that cant talk and cant do as much as us help each other out when they see a friend in need, and we stupid ass human beings see somebody in need and we just walk on by like we saw nothing..

If a dog can ‘do what is right,’ than so can you.   Live Jedi.

The Old Dog


Mostly I just wanted to store these links somewhere for future reference.    But if you’re a dog-owner, with an aging dog, these might be useful for you too.

Its all rather short and to the point, but useful info.    As I have two aging dogs and have started noticing changes in their behavior, i’ve been trying to ramp up my knowledge on what to be on the look out for so that I can be proactive and maximize a happy and healthy life for them. – In particular, some info on resources for financial assistance if the unthinkable happens and you can’t afford proper medical care.

Bittersweet indeed…

This always makes me happy and sad at the same time.    Pet gets lost, is adopted by a new family, gets lost again, turns up in a shelter, finally gets the microchip the first owner had implanted scanned, and is reunited with its original owner.   (In this case I’m more sad than happy.)

Sometimes this is good for the pet and sometimes its not.    Cats and dogs are a lot more sentient than we generally give them credit for.   (I’m convinced from my own that they possess a degree of sapience as well.)    They feel much like we feel.   Cats have prides and dogs have packs.   I’m less certain about cats on their prides, but I know that with dogs the pack is all important—more important to them than their own individuality is.

So when an animal gets lost and separated from its family, and then adopted into a new one where several years go by, as is the case in the story I linked above, it can be rather detrimental to it.   Seven years, in the case, which to a dog is as a lifetime.   I can’t help but feel sorry for poor Gizmo/Mimi.    Seven years in one pack in Arkansas and now off to California to be reunited with her original ‘owner.’      I do believe that dogs tend to have pretty good memories and that while uncertain of her new surroundings will likely have some memory of the original owner, which may help make it easier on her.   But she will mourn the loss of her pack for some time, and may never actually be the same again.   The experience the loss of a loved one the same way that we human beings do.      

I feel for the original owner as well.   I know how elated I would be if noticed a new voicemail and it was news that one of my lost cats had turned up in a shelter somewhere.    I’d definitely want to see them again.   But I’d be torn about bringing them home with me—assuming they had a new family somewhere that had been taking care of them.    Not only is Gizmo/Mimi a part of the life of that family who cared for her for seven years… they are a part of her pack.      After seven years, I think its important to consider what is best for the animal’s mental health.   


Seven of Nine (Tertiary Adjunct of UnimatrixZero) remains at large, and is presumed dead.   She has a chip.    Either that or she finally got that transporter working and beamed herself away, and now I’m waiting while she builds a new one to beam home (except I’ve moved twice now since).

She lived both indoors and outdoors and would often patrol the hood at night, sometimes not coming home for a day or two.    In hindsight this was a bad idea.   Coyotes also patrolled our hood, looking for a meal.   


Kanika, my next cat, lived primarily indoors as a result of Seven.   Didn’t want to lose her to the coyotes the way I suspect I lost my dear Seven of Nine.  

With Kanika I actually still hold out hope she’s out there somewhere.    Like most cats, she wanted outside and like most cats is rather clever.    She slipped out.  I was torn about forcing her to stay indoors that I didn’t make much of an effort to make her come back in that last time.   She had been out the night before, safe and sound, not straying far from the house I don’t think.    Slipped out again the next day.  I remember her meowing late that night, waking me up, to come back in… but lazy me didn’t get up to open the door.   Haven’t seen her since, and I kick myself every time I think about it.  Its one of those things I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for.   I miss both my cats a lot.

She too has a chip, and on one of her earlier escapes ended up lost for a week and a half or so.    That time could have been greatly reduced if the nice lady that found her had bothered to drop her off at the shelter, where out of routine they would have scanned her, got her chip number, and gotten in touch with me.    Instead the lady took her in, but fearing her dog would eat her (unlikely.. Kanika puts dogs in their place), took her to the apartment complex she managed and had her on-site maintenance guy caring for her.    A sign was put up a couple of days after the fact that she had been found.   I was set to go retrieve her when i got the call that she had escaped again when the maintenance guy let her out to go to the bathroom.    Fortunately she returned later that night and the next day I was able to reunite with her.    (I lived at the time on the outer rim of Sparks, and ended up retrieving her from Sun Valley… which for you non-renoites is literally across the valley from where I lived.)

She had a chip, but it proved as useless as Gizmo/Mimi’s did when first displaced.    As an all black cat, she’s kind of an in-demand commodity, and while I definitely feel that Seven has moved beyond, I don’t feel that with Kanika.   She may well have found a new home with people who never got her scanned.


There was one time the chip worked, and that was when Dax got out because someone left the back gate open.    He went exploring and wandered into the gated community.

Unfortunately he opted to do so in-between collars and so wasn’t wearing the tag that indicated he was chipped, as depicted in the picture above.  

The gated community he infiltrated was a retirement one, and from accounts it would seem that many a good neighbor tried to contain him, but he was frantic and wouldn’t allow them near enough.    Eventually he got trapped when he jumped into someone’s front walkway, which too was gated and also a lower elevation from where he jumped from, making it impossible for him to get back out.

The kind people living there took him in for the night, giving him food and much-needed water and shelter.    The pads of his feet were rather raw from all the running around on hot asphalt he had been doing and I’m glad the people he found were caring enough to help him out.    They called animal control the next day and someone was dispatched who had the foresight to scan him on the spot, detecting his chip.   I was on my way home from Gabe’s, literally a block away, when I got the call.    Saved me a trip to the shelter as well as the fee to get him released.    Happy reunion. 

I’m pleased he was a good house guest.   The couple who had taken him told me what a gentleman he had been.    Said they’d love to have a dog like him.    Which got me to thinking… what if they had wanted to keep him?   Obviously he was well-mannered and trained.   An easy dog to fall in love with.   His collar had worn down to the point it ripped, and I hadn’t yet acquired him a new one.   That few days of delay could have separated him from the only family he’s ever really known.     They were, however, quite pleased it all worked out.   The lady and I were talking and it wasn’t the first time they had caught a ‘stray’ and gotten it to the shelter for its owners to find.    She said she was always hesitant to do it because as a non-owner, they would never let her know the outcome… if the pet had been reunited with its owner, adopted to another family, or in the worst case, put down.     That was always her fear, that she’d try and do the right thing for it, and it would end up euthanized as a result of her actions.   (So I do, actually, get why people don’t rush strays off to the shelter…opting to wait it out a bit and see if the owner comes looking).  


I really do feel for Gizmo’s family.    I also feel for Mimi’s original owner.   (Its the same dog.)   One lost a pet, the other is now losing a family member of seven years.    Yet there is a cautionary tale for Gizmo’s family.

When you get a new pet that isn’t a newborn where you know the parent animal (or at least the parent animal’s owners), and isn’t coming from an animal shelter (where they scan for chips as a matter of routine), you’re probably going to take it to the vet to get checked out and of course get its immunizations in order.   Take the time to ask the vet to scan it for a microchip.   Please.   It might be my cat you were given, or took in thinking it was a stray.   At this point if Kanika has a loving home, I’m not inclined to take her away from it, but if that is what happened, and if the people who are caring for her now had checked for a chip, no one would be in the position of the two sets of owners that poor Gizmo/Mimi has should she end up at a shelter and I end up getting a call to come pick her up.

If it has a chip, and you identify that right away, you can spare a fellow human being their heart-ache… you can spare the animal you care enough about to provide a home for from the anguish of being separated from its family   (think how abducted children feel… for cats and dogs experience similar things when they get ‘lost’ and can’t find their way home again).    There are plenty of other animals needing good homes if your heart was set on having a pet and the one you got turned out to already have a loving home to go too.


And Narc, my feline friend… you don’t have a chip… but i’m pretty sure you’re still out there, living it up with the nice family whose house you no doubt walked right into.   “Mommy!  Look!  A Kitty!  Can we keep it?!?!”     Thank you for stopping by nine months later to let us know you were still alive, after we all had cried and said our good-byes to you… only to have you wander off again on us a month later.   Punk.   You’re missed, but you were clearly happy with your new family (perhaps because they didn’t put you on a diet like we did).

Relief for Japan’s pets


Snagged the following from Joe Mallozzi’s blog…   very heart-wrenching.   this young girl is behind a radiation barrier, evidentially “reaching out to almost touch her dog on the other side.”

Silly as it may sound, my first thoughts in any type of disaster like this is about my own dogs…   We’re trying to get them trained to evacuate at the sound of the fire alarm… but there are just things they can’t cope with.   Breaks my heart that other Leia’s out there may be cut off from their people, exposed to the elements, scared and hungry.

The American Humane Association has a relief fund established for rescuing animals affected by the disaster in Japan.   You can donate through the link above.

Alternately, you can text PROTECT to 85944 to make a $10 donation.



Here is some information from the AHA in relation to community readyness for a disaster.  We secure ourselves, we secure our children, but do we secure our pets?


Your pet needs you even more when disaster strikes

When disaster strikes a community, essential services like water are often unavailable. So what can you do to ensure your pet is cared for during and, especially after, a disaster?

Preparation for pets
  • Keep your pets’ vaccinations up-to-date.
  • Know where your pets can go whether it’s a friend or family member, pet-friendly hotel, animal shelter, or boarding facility.
  • Place your contact information, including the name of an out-of-state contact on your pets’ ID tags, microchip registrations, and licenses.
  • Prepare an emergency kit of leashes, collars, extra ID tags, water, food, medications, health records, and photos to prove ownership.
  • Have on hand portable carriers large enough for your pets to stand and turn around in.
  • Prepare a first-aid kit, including your vet contact information and an authorization to treat your pets.
  • Gather any relief plans developed by your local Red Cross chapter; emergency management office; or police, fire, health, wildlife and agriculture departments so you know where to turn for specific resources.
  • Stryse Adds:   Include your pets in any home-evacuation planning.  Rehearse it regularly.  work to get them to evacuate on queue so that you aren’t trying to coax them out from under a bed when disaster strikes.
Preparation for livestock
  • Post emergency contact numbers at your barn or on your pasture fence.
  • Have sufficient transportation available for all your livestock or know where to obtain it. Train your livestock how to board the vehicles.
  • Create a list of neighbors within a 100-mile radius of your home who would be willing to board your livestock if you are forced to evacuate.
  • Form agreements with neighboring ranches and farms to help each other with disaster preparation and evacuations.
  • Know organizations in your area that are prepared to rescue and house displaced livestock.
  • Involve your family and neighbors in establishing an evacuation plan for animals in barns and outlying buildings.
  • Have a supply of feed at a separate location, which could be air-dropped if the animals become stranded.
  • Make up a kit with leads, halters, equine and bovine first aid kits, quieting hoods for easy transport, and water.
  • Keep photos and a copy of your ownership papers or brands with you at all times in case you are separated from your livestock.

Breaking my heart…

This is just so sad.

Losing a best friend along with the house:  Animals abandoned, turned in as families face foreclosures on their homes

I can certainly understand and relate to some of these individuals who are put into the unenviable situation of choosing whether to care for their pet or their person with limited resources.   Being the ’owner’ of two dogs myself, one of which is a rather large breed, I can also relate to the limits placed on housing options when you are a pet owner.

So I really feel for these people who have to give up their long-time pet.   Those people who are kind enough to try and get them into the adoption pipeline… well I appreciate them doing that.   The alternative, abandoning their pet, or cutting them lose to live in the wild (which a domesticated pet is ill-equipped to do), however, sicken me. 

I know we’re all feeling the economic downturn and its hitting us all in different ways.   But this article, to me, needs to be a call to action.   It is inevitable that people are going to have to give up their pets and that some of those are going to go to shelters where they will hopefully be placed in loving homes.   While those pets are better off than their brethren who are simply left behind… there is still a bit of a psychological impact on them (moreso on dogs who have difficulty adjusting to life away from their pack). 

I implore anyone reading this… do what you can to support your local animal shelters.  They have limited resources and won’t be able to handle the influx of new arrivals.   Maybe you can donate money, but if you can’t consider donating time.   If you’re in a good situation and able, consider adopting a pet.  But don’t undertake that lightly.  Its a huge responsibility very akin to having a child (though I think less stressful).

But if you do adopt a pet, or more importantly if you, like me, are already a pet ’owner’, you need to include Rover and Garfield in your contingency plans.   Heaven forbid anything happen to you and you’re in a situation similar to these people giving up their pets…   get a plan together now.   If you had to vacate your home on short-notice and move into a no-pet apartment… what are you going to do with your pet(s)?   Don’t wait until that situations hits you on the head.   Get an action plan together now.   You do it for yourself, for your children, consider your four-legged dependants.   Chances are they give you unconditional love and loyalty.   They’re counting on you to provide for them because they can’t provide for themselves.  

If you watched that show on History channel, Life after People, then you already have an idea of how difficult it will be on fluffy if her humans aren’t around to care for her.

Talk to your friends and family.  If the worst happened, is there someone that would be willing to take in your little furball, even temporarily until you get yourself back on your feet?   Do you know what assistance is available to you from local resources like your humane society?  

I think all to often people take their pets for granted.   Mine have given me a taste of fatherhood… what it would be like to have children.   Its made me take my responsibility as an animal ’owner’ very seriously.

Leia and Dax won’t ever have to worry about being abandoned, or even given up to a shelter, should anything happen to me that prevented me from being able to care for them.    Like the cylon, I too have a plan.