So, this happened.

I was walking Mr Fusspot around the block when I was waylaid by a woman accompanied by a large and friendly golden retriever. "Do you know where this dog lives?" she asked. Goldens are very popular in my neighbourhood, so there was no telling whether this was Bailey or Bentley or Madison or any one of a dozen goldens in the vicinity, and the dog was wearing a collar but no tags. I said sadly that I did not in fact know, and went on with the Fusspot ... and was ambushed half a block later by the same golden retriever, who had abandoned his previous friend to be with us, apparently. I live on a busy street and this dog did not appear to have the sense that God gave a goose. He was so strong that I couldn't control him by hanging onto his collar, so the only thing to do was to unleash the Fusspot, stuff him under one arm, and use his leash to snaffle the golden, who was frolicking way too close to the road for my liking. So I staggered the rest of the way to my front door hampered by two dogs for the price of one.

I went upstairs with both dogs, dropped off the Fusspot, who was looking very dubious at the prospect of a new big brother, filled my pockets with liver bits to keep the golden's attention, and went back out with him. We walked all over the neighbourhood looking for open gates or for people who might have lost a dog. He was a good-natured beast but so powerful he nearly pulled me over several times. I was afraid he'd pull me into traffic. In the end I took him to my vet clinic, having no other ideas and hoping that maybe someone would recognize him there. Natasha at the vet clinic was a brick. She scanned the golden's microchip immediately and called all the tracking services to see which one he was registered with; nothing came up so she checked the CKC website (Canadian Kennel Club) only to find that although his microchip number was in the database (having been issued by the breeder), the dog's owners had never registered it so no name or address was attached to the microchip. PEOPLE, REGISTER YOUR MICROCHIPS AND ALSO PUT ID TAGS ON YOUR DOG'S COLLAR, PLEASE. At that point I really didn't know what to do. I don't have a printer, so I couldn't immediately whip up a flyer featuring the dog's picture and how to get in touch with me. I didn't want to stress the Fusspot by taking the golden home with me, but I couldn't just let him run loose around the neighbourhood, either. Natasha said "Leave him here with us, he'll be safe and I'll call Animal Services to come and get him." I thanked her profusely, gave the golden the last of my liver bits and headed home. I stopped in the park and told every dog walker I saw that if they saw a person looking for a dog, that he was at the vet clinic and would be collected by Animal Services after that. I asked everyone I passed if he or she had lost a dog. I stopped by my neighbour Kiki's place - she knows all the dogs and dog people in the 'hood - and left word about the lost golden. Everyone I spoke to said "Oh, you are such a nice person to do that." I don't know that I'm a particularly nice person, but I like to think that I am a responsible one, and having once seen a dog killed by a car I am in no hurry to have that experience again. I hope he gets home safely. I hope his people find him.

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So that, Gentle Readers, is why I am drinking a beer at 11 o'clock in the morning, and also why I had to call the hair salon to cancel and reschedule the haircut I was supposed to be having at ten am. Yes, I gave up my haircut to keep a peabrained golden from running into traffic. And now I am going back to bed to have a nap.

ETA: I just got a call from Natasha at the vet clinic - Mr Golden has gone home! As it turned out he was a client of the clinic, which Natasha found out by contacting the breeder who purchased the chip and asking who had bought the dog and then checking the clinic records (she's the real hero of this story). So she called the owner who said "OMG, I'm not even home, I had no idea!" and, in more ominous tones, "my kids ..." So I hope somebody will get the riot act read to him/her for not keeping an eye on the dog, and also that Mr Golden will have proper tags on when he next goes out.