Here's another quirk about our house: we attract a lot of lost things. Because we are on a main-ish road, dogs find their way over here. Cats get abandoned in the field next to us. Mice wander in from the field (to meet their doom). We've even found car keys in our gutter and a credit card in our driveway. So as the finder of lost things--excepting my pressure cooker regulator and remote control, of course--I feel it my duty to find the owners. This post is about animals, but I'll tell the key and card stories at the end, too.
When we bought the house, two cats came with it. They had adopted the house about four years earlier. We kept them as outside cats because they were gentle with the children. The girls named them Tiger and Cocoa. Cocoa, the white cat, later died and six months later Brownie showed up. This past summer, Kid #1 found a scrawny kitten in the field that she took in for a few days before we turned it over to animal control. We've had five other cats attempt to adopt us, but I refuse to become a crazy cat lady, so they've moved on.
We've also had seven dogs during our time here. None have stayed longer than eight or nine hours before we find the owner, until Larry. Last Saturday, this Pomeranian hung around all day and even tried to scare Kent away when he came home from basketball. The dog had no tags, so we brought him in and posted a sign on the fence and an ad in the online classifieds. He was a very sweet dog: never barked inside, stood by the door to be let out for his outside business, loved to see us come home but would quickly settle down to let the kids pet him. Even Kent, who hates the idea of pets, admitted to me on the fourth day that he liked the dog and wouldn't mind keeping it for a few months while we looked for the owner. Some friends informed me about pet microchips, so I took Larry (as we called him) to the shelter. When I walked in with him, the receptionist said, "I know who is looking for that dog!" They scanned him and detected a chip. So they called the owner, who said he did not have a chip, but she would come ID him. The shelter later called to finish the story. Larry was stolen on Christmas from the owner listed on the microchip. He was then given to a little old lady in my area last week, and he escaped on Saturday, which is when we found him. The old lady was upset that she couldn't keep the dog, so the shelter gave her one of their orphans. What a happy story all around!
The credit card story: I found a beat-up credit card for a person I've never heard of laying in our driveway one summer. I called the credit card's company to report it lost, and I had to explain the story twice. The customer service rep couldn't believe that someone wouldn't take advantage of the find. When she understood that I was turning it in without first running charges, she just gave me a lot of thanks and asked me to destroy the card.
The key story (I really like this one): At the end of the race two weeks ago, a runner turned in a set of car keys that he had found in my gutter. There were two Acura keys, an Acura remote, and some other keys. The remote looked like it had been run over, and the key ring was a bit rusty, so I assumed they had been lost for at least a few days. I sent an email out to my ward RS members. A couple hours later my visiting teacher called. She had been on a stake youth activity that afternoon and was following a bishop from another ward, whose wife I have met a few times through another friend. She thought to herself, "I didn't know they had an Acura. I always thought they drove an Accord." When she read my email, that bishop's daughter happened to be at her house hanging out with her own daughter. (I know this would be less confusing with names, but I don't know if these people want their names posted on my site. Sorry.) She (VTer) asked the bishop's daughter if they were missing keys, and she (daughter) said her dad had lost them a week earlier and the family had been praying to find them. So he came over that night and retrieved the keys. What a great story about the Lord answering those prayers by working through the rest of us!