‘Going to town‘ is always eventful in one way or another. This past trip was a little more drama-filled than usual.
It was payday, and we are expecting Ben’s mom this weekend, so we decided to make an afternoon supply run to the big city and catch a quick lunch with Terry. Getting there was a dream in the Toyota with a nice sound system, and we knocked off several stops without a hitch. We made it to lunch just fine at the fabulous El Pinto where we enjoyed all our favorites on the buffet. (If you go, do request the made-to-order green chile rellenos from your server as they are included in the buffet price.) All hell broke loose in the parking lot after leaving the building… Radar had disappeared!!!
It was absolutely excruciating. When we first arrived at the restaurant, the hostess informed us there was a waiting list for the patio so we opted to park little pup in the truck under the shade of a huge cottonwood tree with a big bowl of water and all four tinted windows generously cracked. Not our preferred option, but the temperature was mild around 80, and she’s a pro at snoozing in the seat for quick errands when I can’t carry her in.
Sidebar: We are VERY well aware of the hazards and horror stories of dogs left in cars even for short durations and are prepared to face off with the shamers. We take full and complete responsibility for our actions and would NEVER EVER in all our decades of pet stewardship intentionally put any of our fur babies in a dangerous situation as we are extremely conscientious and protective. PLEASE do not turn this into a bad parenting discussion and forum for passing judgement as we are all human and have our own opinions and faults in making decisions for our families.
The little worm weaseled through the window to follow us in for lunch. She waited patiently at the front door and was found by another patron unbeknownst to us. When the hostess was asked if anyone in the restaurant was missing a dog, she said no without any further inquiry. The Good Samaritan took Radar with her just minutes before we exited and discovered her gone!! Meanwhile, we scoured the grounds and quickly filed a report with the city animal services, added her info to the PetHarbor.com database, posted to Craigslist, and activated social media. We implored the restaurant staff and management of the restaurant to use credit card slips to ID the customer and make contact. We were absolutely frenzied to find our sweet little pup.
Carl, Desiree, and the kind man behind the bar were truly incredible in trying to console us and lent their full attention to assist us in the search. Not to mention the quick response of their stellar social media team! I called animal services in all surrounding jurisdictions every 30 minutes to see if Radar had been relinquished to one of the shelters. Desiree managed to talk the credit card company into notifying the well-intentioned customer of the situation and as we were waiting for the return call about two hours after the escape, we learned that Radar had indeed been checked-in at the Eastside shelter 20 minutes away. We were absolutely elated and made our way through rush hour traffic after a tearful goodbye to El Pinto.
Just minutes before the shelter was due to close, we confirmed Radar’s identity with a couple of timid licks only to be told that she’d have to stay overnight because we couldn’t prove she was spayed in paper documents or public licensing, a requirement of release within ABQ city limits. (Sad side story, but Radar was actually ‘spayed’ twice so this news was especially traumatizing.) Composure completely fell by the wayside as we emotionally tried to negotiate her release so we didn’t have to make the 90 minute drive back to Cuba without our beloved lump. Only a verbal confirmation over the phone was needed from our dear Dr. Young back in Cocoa who graciously took our after hours call to spring our little jailbird. We are so grateful to him for going above and beyond!!!
Radar received a complimentary microchip as a souvenir after we paid the $40 bail so she can be returned more quickly if she’s ever separated from us in the future. Many thanks to Allison and the staff at the Eastside shelter for keeping Radar safe while she was away. No offense, but I hope we never see you again! 😉 This really drove home for us how important it is to donate to your local shelter. There are so many ways you can help out your local shelter with a very small time or money commitment. We will absolutely be visiting Eastside shelter again as they do a great job and deserve all the kudos they can get!!
The next time we are in ABQ, we will certainly be sure to secure seating on the patio at El Pinto so Radar can personally thank all the folks there, and maybe sample some baked chicken from the buffet. 😉
And, yes, many lessons learned here…
- Always dine and shop at pet-friendly establishments.
- Ensure your animals are wearing your contact info in some form or fashion, or teach them to talk.
- Don’t take animals away from where you find them. Instead, call the local animal services from the location.
- Take the initiative to ask around if there is a lost pet. How many times are we asked who left their headlights on?
- Keep a digital copy of your pet’s records on your mobile device.