Sometimes you go to a yard sale and find an amazing buy, like I did a couple months ago with Nazis and the Occult by Paul Roland.
Other times you go to a yard sale and you come home with a Boston Terrier.
Let me explain.
We didn’t actually buy her at a yard sale. She was wandering the mean streets of Baldwin City, KS, next to a yard sale. This was on Orange Street, close to the cemetery. No, she is not a ghost. Or is she?
I’m going to throw some foreshadowing at you. It was Saturday and I was yard-saling with my mother-in-law Rita. The second yard sale of the day had cute kids selling homemade chocolate chip cookies. They were hopeful little salespeople and would timidly ask people walking by if they wanted cookies. Everyone kept saying no. One freak even said, “No thank you, it’s a little too early to eat cookies.”
Say what? I should have taken that person aside and said, “Look, you’re obviously an alien masquerading in a human costume. Let me give you some advice that may help prevent your mission from being compromised: it is never too early for cookies.”
I have a few yard sale rules. One of them is to buy whatever food items the kids are selling and make sure to lavishly praise their product. It softens up the parents in case you need to barter. Just kidding. Another one of my yard sale rules is to not barter.
So I bought some cookies. When I went up to the little table they had set up, I noticed a little Boston Terrier was sitting at their feet. I leaned down to pet him and he was just the friendliest thing. The kids’ dad (I’m assuming) said that their dog loved people so much, he would go home with anyone. I was excited because this was the first time I had ever had the opportunity to pet a Boston Terrier. I have always thought they were adorable with their batty ears and bulgy eyes, and Brent and I had even talked in the past about getting one, but I’d never seen one up close until that sale.
And no, this isn’t the Boston Terrier that I took.
Another yard sale rule: despite my love of yard sales, I am quick to do a drive-by. You know, when you slow down or even pull up to the curb, decide the stuff isn’t worth your time, and drive on by. It’s kind of rude, which is why you should avoid making eye contact with the yard sale proprietor as you do your assessment and drive-by, especially if the person is elderly and sitting alone amid their possessions.
Rita and I did quite a few drive-bys that day. Each time she’d say, “you see anything you want to stop for?” and I’d say “Nah.” The yard sale with the cookies was her jackpot and that one pretty much wore us out. But we stopped at one final sale. As we were driving by, Rita asked if I wanted to stop, and I said sure. It looked like a decent sale.
The street was close to the edge of town. On one side of the road there were houses, but the other side was a big field. We got out of the car, crossed the road, and a little Boston Terrier came running toward us. She let me pet her, and then she went running off. Then she stopped, looked around, and then turned and started following us. All this was done in the middle of the road. I assumed her family lived in the neighborhood, and I corralled her toward the yard sale. I asked the yard sale people if they recognized the dog. I later learned that the sale was being run by two families from the neighborhood. They said that they had never seen the dog before that day, and that she’d been wandering near the yard sale all morning. “She’s a sweet dog…” one of them said as we watched her wander around the yard. She seemed to be lost. She would run from one place to the next, stop, look around, back track, look around some more, etc.
Then she ran into the street again and was meandering down the road, which was getting a fair amount of traffic. After witnessing her nearly get hit by an SUV, I ran after her, which made her run away. But then I called to her, and she came right up to me. I picked her up and she relaxed in my arms. We were at that sale for probably 20 minutes after that, and she let me hold her and never tried to get down.
After discussing this with the people running the sale, I decided to take the dog with me. Neither family was in a good position to keep the dog at their respective houses. If this dog was indeed missing (as opposed to someone dumping her), I had reservations about taking her out of the area she had likely disappeared from, but I decided to do exactly what I would want somebody to do if she or he found my pugs running loose: pick them up and take them to a safe place. I gave the yard sale people my number in case anyone came looking for her. Later, I called animal dispatch in Baldwin, filled out a found dog report with the shelter, had her checked for a microchip at the Lawrence shelter, and posted ads in the paper, Craigslist, and missing pet websites. Nobody has come forward yet.
Brent is a little nervous about who may try to claim her. What if somebody falsely claims her and then uses her as bait in rooster fights? What if her real family comes to get her and take her home, where she is treated terribly and is known as A Boston Terrier Called It? What if her family calls her a bitch, and we’re not sure if they are insulting her or merely using technical terminology? What if her family comes to our house and they are not impressed with Brent’s action figure room?
While we wait for her family or impostors to say she’s theirs, we are temporarily a three dog household. The pugs are not exactly thrilled about their new foster sister.
For example, Ebby posted this on his Facebook page:
Here Ebby is going off on her.
I’m not sure what is going on in the next picture.
The Boston is really young, between 8 months and a year old. A Baby! She has a white stripe on her back that would probably trick Pepe Le Pew into thinking she is a skunk and therefore a viable love interest for him. She’s very sweet and loving and is cuddly when she sleeps. But when she is a awake, look out! She has endless puppy energy. We are used to lazy pugs, not crazy puppies.
We gave her a name because we had to call her something. Coming up with a name was a tough decision and nothing at all like in the movie Beethoven where the dog picks out his own name and then gets rabies and terrorizes a Pinto station wagon.
Strange thing is, Brent and I come across suitable names for our next dog all the time. We say “that would make a good pug name” in the same way that others might say, “that would make a good band name.”
Idle talk is easy enough but when we had a little stray in front us, coming up with even a temporary name was challenging. First we tried different generic dog names to see if she responded. Sparky? Fido? Lady? Fluffy? No response from the Boston. Then we tried out names we liked: Pickles, Gertie, Zim, Pinky, Lulu, Tot. This conversation lasted like thirty minutes and it was a serious talk. We finally decided on…
We also call her Mertle Monster, Mertie, and Baby Mert Mert.
Oh, but I just realized that we haven’t yet discussed how to spell it. That was an important conversation for Swoozie’s name, considering that she is named after the actress Swoosie Kurtz. In the end, we decided to go with a “z” because it gave her name more pizzazz.
Ebby’s name was easier for us, though we weren’t sure if we wanted Ebeneezer Beezle or Beezle Ebeneezer. Beezle comes from a Garfield Halloween book I own where Beezle is a devil cat that Garfield has to battle. Don’t worry, Garfield wins.
The big question is, are we going to keep Mertle if her previous owners don’t come forward? I just don’t know. Three dogs? Yikes. Swoozie and Ebby already feel like a hundred dogs, but as much as I dislike the idea of the extra work, changed routines, and money required to add a third dog to the mix, it makes me sad to think about her going somewhere else to live. Damn it, Mertle. Brent and I will make a decision soon.
In the meantime, I think I’m going to take a break from yard sales. In addition to picking up a Boston Terrier that I don’t need, I also have a boxful of chalkboard slates. On one hand, the entire box was two dollars! How could I pass that up? On the other hand, what am going to do with a boxful of chalkboard slates? Two dollars, though!
Eight month update: We kept the dog. She is ours forever.