Early one morning, I saw an adorable tiny dog eating out of our beagle's food dish on the deck. He was a teeny little dog with a lot of white fur and some dark markings. He was really cute with buggy little eyes and a jimmy jaw, so I went out there and made fast friends with him.
He was so unbelievably cute, that I wanted to keep him, even though I had not previously been a "dog person". My then husband came home and after meeting my new buddy, decided to take him all over the neighborhood, door to door, to ask every occupant if they knew who this cute little guy belonged to, so we could keep him with a clear conscience.
After an exhaustive search failed to turn up an owner, or even anyone who had ever seen the pooch, we decided tentatively to keep the dog. We were a happy family for about a month. Our little dog was named Spike, because it was funny to see such a tiny little guy with a fierce name. He had fattened up and we had treated him for fleas. After about a month, he was taken from our yard while everyone was gone. The neighbors described a lady who had lifted Spike over the fence and took him, saying he was her dog.
I went on a search, looking for my new best friend, in hopes of buying him from the owners if possible. I couldn't find him, no one had seen him. Eventually, I thought my pup was lost forever... until about 2 weeks later when he came back. I took him in and decided to let the owners come back to the door and when they asked for him, I would try to buy him.
They didn't come back for him for a long time. Then one day they showed up and asked for the dog. They said his name was Bandit and he belonged to their 3 small children. They told me where they lived and said they knew he was with us, because every time he got out of the yard, he went straight for our house. They had nabbed him enroute several times before he made it back to us. Over the next year, they would let us keep Spike for periods of time and when they showed up, we'd turn him over. Each time he came back to us, he was thinner and had fleas. They lived on a busy highway and I begged them to sell him to us or fence their yard so he wouldn't get run over. They didn't believe in spending money on animals or feeding them on time, or treating for fleas. They let him come to our house to get his flea dips and healthcare, basically. We'd fatten him up and give him back and I tried several times to buy him. The man of the family said I could possibly buy him if I would agree to pay them for everything they had spent at the vet on him. I agreed, and he backed out. Bluffer.
Sooooo.... the friendly arrangement ended when he came back to us one time very skinny, flea ridden, and with a snake bite to his face. His head was swollen horribly and his eye was shut. They had not taken him to the vet, and they figured if he lived, he lived. If not, oh well. Just a dog.
We had him treated, did not know if he would even live, nursed him back to health, treated the fleas, and I called some people to find out what the laws say about "found animals". The powers that be informed me that if you find an animal and no one comes forward to claim that animal within 2 weeks, you can consider it your animal. So I decided he was never going back to them again. My dog!
They didn't even bother coming over for months and when they did come to claim him, they sent the man over. I told him that Spike was my dog now and that he barely lived through the last time he spent with them. I said "I love this dog now and I can't bear for you to mistreat him, fail to protect him, allow him to possibly die from a snake bite instead of treating him, and if he goes to your house and gets run over because you won't build an enclosure, I'll never get over it. So I'm keeping him. I have a legal right and I love this dog and that's just how it is." He didn't like it much, but he went home and later returned with a couple of things that belonged to Spike. He said "Well, since you're not giving him back, you might as well have these things too". haha
I ran into that man in public one day and his brother was with him. He introduced me as "the lady who confiscated my dog".
That's the story of how we permanently added Spikey to our family. We took Spike everywhere we went, except for fireworks displays. One time we took him to a fireworks display and every time there was an explosion, Spikey went apeshit, barking and jumping up, like he was going to snap those fireworks out of the air. He drew a crowd with his insane little self. We decided the fireworks were too stressful. He didn't calm down the whole time.
Spike was a small dog, but he had a great big gigantic personality. We will miss him.