When I opened the front door to call Ethan in for dinner tonight, I found him on the porch holding a tiny Chihuahua.
"We saw it walking across the street while we were playing basketball," he explained with a sheepish, hopeful grin. "I'm afraid to put it down because it's too small to be out here on its own."
I opened my mouth to tell him to put that dog down NOW, but then I saw its big, frightened eyes. Its body was perfectly still in Ethan's arms, but its eyes darted nervously.
I sighed. "Is it a boy or a girl?"
"A boy. I call him Paco. Spencer chased him a couple of blocks, until he just gave up."
"Poor thing," I said. "Is his heart pounding?"
"It was, but now he's calmed down a little. I know we can't keep him, but..."
"No, we can't keep him. We're not inside-dog people, and I don't think this dog could live outside."
"Lola would probably eat him," Ethan agreed. "Well, can we keep him for a day or so until we can take him to a shelter?"
I hesitated, my resolve weakening. "I'll have to ask Bill. Maybe we could keep him in the garage."
Allyson appeared in the hall behind me. "Come out, Allyson! We found a puppy!" Ethan called. She rushed out in her bare feet, still wearing her chef's apron from helping make a pizza.
"His name is Paco," Ethan explained.
"Baco?" Allyson repeated.
I locked Lola in her run, and Ethan put Paco on the back porch, tying him to a chair leg with a leash he got from the neighbors. I made Ethan and Allyson each scrub up to their elbows, and we ate our pizza on the porch under Paco's fearful gaze.
The poor dog stood rigidly at attention, ignoring his food and water and refusing even to sit down. After a distracted dinner and a couple of urgent voicemails to Bill, who was at the baseball game, the three of us got our cameras and started snapping shots for the blog. Paco turned out to be quite photogenic, though he cringed at the repeated flashes.
Bill finally called back just now, while I was working on this entry. Allyson grabbed the phone and started jabbering ecstatically, something about a little dog named Taco and Mama said maybe we can keep him and he's sooo cute.
When I finally got the phone from her, I asked, "Did you get any of that? About the Chihuahua?"
"You're telling me there's a... CHIHUAHUA tied to the chair on our porch?"
"Yes. A chihuahua tied to a chair," I repeated calmly.
"How did this happen?"
I told him the whole story. "So I thought we might be able to keep him in the garage, just until we can get him to a shelter."
"Listen to me," Bill said, enunciating very clearly, "All of you. Listen. He's NOT staying. Do you understand?"
"Not staying," I repeated obediently, making eye contact with the kids.
"First thing tomorrow morning, Ethan is going door to door looking for the owner," he continued.
"I don't think he has an owner. He doesn't have a collar, and he's so skinny you can see all his ribs. But he's really cute!"
"Do NOT get attached," he warned. "I don't care if he's cute. I'm not a Chihuahua person. I'll give Ethan until tomorrow afternoon to find someone to take him, and then I'm taking him to the pound."
"Do you think the pound is open on Sunday?"
"If it's not I'll just tie him to the door."
Oh boy. I'm afraid I'm already attached. Ethan and Allyson are down on the porch now getting who knows what kind of germs from him, and he's actually warming up to them. I don't see how we can turn this sweet little dog over to the pound. What if they...
So, all of you locals: Know anyone who could take a cute little dog? Please. Paco needs your help! If you're the sort who prays for dogs, maybe say a prayer for him... or for Bill to fall in love.
Note: I'm pretty sure Bill was joking about tying the dog to the door. Just thought I'd mention that.