I didn't stop.
I ... if it had been a small dog, like a Pomeranian, would I have stopped? Absolutely. But this was a big dog, obviously not real well cared for (matted fur) and ... I was afraid. I was afraid of getting bitten. (And yes, a Pomeranian can bite just as easily as a big dog, but I feel like I'd have a fighting chance against a Pom. You know?)
All the way in to work, I thought about turning around and going back. And I didn't. I flippin' agonized all the way in to work about going back and helping that dog, and I didn't.
When I got to work, I checked Craigslist to see if there were any missing dogs matching that description in the area. Nope.
And then I called dog control for the town where I saw the dog. I explained the situation, and the dog control officer said he'd check into it.
And this is where FOR ONCE I am glad to pay taxes, because bless his heart, that dog control dude called me back not half an hour later, to let me know that he'd been out to the site. He hadn't seen the dog, but he'd talked to a homeowner near the spot where I'd seen the dog. The homeowner hadn't seen the dog either, but he suggested it might be a coydog, which ... no. Coydogs are all one color, and this was a multi-color dog.
ANYway, the dog control guy said he'd check with some more neighbors, and visit the area periodically to see if the dog was around. He said he'd call me if he found anything out. Thanks, dog control dude!
So. This morning. I am on my way to work. I get near the spot where I saw the dog yesterday, and my eyes are on superpower-scan, searching for the dog. Looking ... looking ...
BINGO. The dog came out of the brush by the side of the road and made a half-hearted run for my car. But! This time, he circled back to a camper parked by the side of the road.
Ah-ha! That camper had been parked there for about a week, and I knew there were people staying in there because I had seen them. Obviously, the dog belonged to the camper-people. Problem solved! Well, except for the fact that the dog was running loose and chasing cars.
So I got to work this morning and called dog control again, all ready to spread the good news that I had found the owners of the dog.
Except! It turns out that after I talked to dog control dude yesterday, he had gotten MORE calls about the dog running loose. More people were concerned about the dog. So he went BACK out to the site, and found the dog! and the camper! The dog ran away when he tried to get near it, but there were food bowls outside of the camper, so he figured that was the owners. Except no one was there at the time, and he still needed to address the issue of the dog running loose (the town has leash laws), so he actually went back through the tax records and tracked down who owned the property the camper was parked on. He contacted the owner of the land, who explained that he was letting friends camp on his property. Friends with dogs.
Is this War and Peace yet? We're getting close ...
Okay. So. Dog control dude finally gets in touch with camper people, who explain that while they do HAVE dogs, THAT particular dog is not theirs. It just started hanging around while they were camping there, and they felt sorry for it, so they started to feed it. But they are leaving at the end of the weekend, and no, they don't really want ANOTHER dog.
So. This morning, Dog control dude is going back out to the site. He is going to make one more attempt to catch the dog, and then he is going to set a Havahart (live) trap. He explained that sometimes it takes just a day and sometimes it takes weeks to get a dog in the trap, but eventually the dog will get hungry and go into the trap, and he will get the dog, and then they can get the dog any necessary medical care and start trying to track down the owner.
Bottom line? There are a whole bunch of people who are concerned about this dog and want to see it find its owner, or at the least a loving home. Hmmm ... I wonder how my cats would feel about a dog ...
ahahahahahaha KIDDING I am KIDDING. I don't DO dogs. Although if there's anybody out there who would like a medium-sized, multi-color dog, let me know ...
And I still feel kind of bad that I didn't stop, and I think from now on if something like that happens again I WILL stop, but as it turns out, I wouldn't have been able to get ahold of the dog anyway. Have I rationalized enough yet? ...
And I have asked the dog control dude to keep me posted, so I'll let you know what happens! Aren't you glad? :)
UPDATED TO ADD: They got the dog! The dog control dude just called - He went back out there this morning, and managed to approach the dog and get a leash on it! It's an Australian Shepherd. It's an intact male, and the camper people have a female basset hound, so that's probably why it started hanging around. I asked what would happen to the dog now, and the dog dude said it will be kept at a local animal hospital/boarding facility while they try to find the owner. Unfortunately, the dog had no collar or microchip, but they will put ads in the paper and on line, looking for an owner. If no owner steps forward, they will then ask around (don't laugh - this can be highly effective!) to see if anyone wants the dog. If that doesn't work, they'll put him on Petfinder and other sites. Dog dude reassured me that the dog will not be put down, and that they will find him a home.
Anybody want an Australian Shepherd? I've got a lead ...