His name is Moe.
The weekend was tough. Little Guy did quiet down and seemed to get more used to things after the first night. We have a dog house on our deck that our dog never uses, and Little Guy took to it and made it his, spending most of his time in there when he wasn't walking around. He slept there (he's a very sound sleeper) and was warm and safe. He also stayed in there and stayed dry when it rained Monday night and Tuesday; unlike our dog who ignores the dog house and stands in the rain and gets wet.
He didn't bark as much as when we first brought him home but he did whimper sometimes, particularly when he woke up from a nap and was disoriented, I think. When I heard him I'd go outside to pet him and reassure him, then he'd settle down for a while again. Naturally, I got pretty attached to him and the thought of taking him to the shelter to let him die there got harder and harder, even though I knew it's what we had to do.
We took him to the shelter yesterday, getting there about 45 minutes before they closed. They scanned for a microchip and didn't find one, as we'd suspected. But then a miracle happened: When hubby was giving them the information on where we found him we said we lived in a subdivision and they asked for its name (every subdivision around here has a name), and when hubby said it the shelter worker said he thought the owners were in earlier looking for him. He went and got a flyer that described the dog and specifically mentioned they lived across the street from our subdivision. His name is Moe, he's 16-years-old, and HE HAS A HOME. While we stood there the man called the owners and told them we'd found their dog. We weren't going straight home after dropping him off or we would have taken him home ourselves, so we ended up leaving him at the shelter and his owners came out and got him. It was getting closer to closing time by then and I wasn't sure they could make it there fast enough that evening, but the shelter worker said since they knew the owners were coming they'd stay open a few minutes late for them (which they did).
So "Moe" wasn't starving when we found him after all; he was just thin because he's old. He's a very good eater and likes his food—and what we fed him was different than his usual—so that's why it seemed like he was hungry all the time. His toenails were long because his owners hadn't trimmed them during his last bath, it turned out, and they knew they needed to be cut. The shelter couldn't give the owners our information but we had theirs, so when we got home a couple hours later we stopped by their house to meet them. They were so thankful and appreciative. And there was Moe, in his own house, lying on the carpet next to the couch. When he saw us he came up to us wagging his tail, obviously recognizing us, then he settled back in his spot while we talked to his owners. Apparently we found him right after he wandered off on Saturday; if we hadn't taken him home maybe he would have wandered back home on his own after all, who knows. His owners had each thought he was with someone else in the house and they didn't realize he was missing until Sunday morning. When they realized it they called everywhere putting out a search for him, though if there were flyers we didn't see them in our neighborhood when we were walking our dog over the weekend. Thankfully, and amazingly, we connected with them through the shelter 25 miles from our home; a county shelter that is about as far away from us as it can be and still be in the same county.
Of course I'm relieved and overjoyed that Moe's story ended this way. A simple tag on his collar could have avoided a lot of anguish on both sides; they said he's had tags before and lost them, and a phone number written on his collar had faded off. But he did have a microchip: Apparently it was farther up on his shoulders and when they scanned for it at the shelter when we were there they didn't run the scanner high enough to find it. His owners said when they picked him up they scanned for it again—higher this time—and found it. The bottom line is Moe is home now and will live out his life where he belongs: With his family that loves him. Praise God.