We were sitting at the table eating lunch this week (probably in a haze of concrete dust), when Lia gave a delighted little laugh. I looked down and there at my feet was a small dog looking up at me with soulful, sad brown eyes.
We shooed the trembling little dachschund out the front door, closed the screen of the living room door and went back to our lunch. Only to look down a few minutes later to find the small dog at our feet again, this time gazing with mute appeal at Lia, the more accommodating of the resident humans.
So we shooed the dog out the front door again and closed the screen of the bedroom sliding door. And went back to our lunch.
By this time, I was starting to feel sheepish about my Fraulein Rottenmeier-ish attitude towards visiting and unknown pets. You remember Fraulein Rottenmeier–Clara’s shrewish nanny in the story of Heidi. The one who shrieked and fussed every time the irrepressible Heidi contrived to bring another animal into the house for the delight of the children. Here was my own little Heidi, having her own little joyful adventure. And here was I, hardheartedly clamping down on all the fun.
I determined not to be a Fraulein Rottenmeier.
So when the dog showed up for the third time (someone had let her in the back door), we laughed together and talked gently to the doggie and put her outside. Maybe she was lost, poor thing. I told Lia that if the dog was still at our house when we returned from dumping a load of concrete, we would take care of her and try to find her owners.
Lia was hoping she was lost. I was envisioning heroic, humane actions by yours truly of taking in a lost dog and caring for it tenderly and returning it to its grateful, tearful owners. It’s all in the course of an average day for Mrs. Incredible.
Well, the dog was gone when we got back. To Lia’s disappointment. And my secret relief. Our neighbor, Kaylee, knows the dog and its owners and assured us that the dog was safe and happy and most definitely not lost. No s-heroisms today. But I did learn an important lesson in this interesting journey of parental formation: I don’t want to be a Fraulein Rottenmeier! But I’m not too hard on myself. After all, it’s not every day that a stray dog shows up at your dinner table.