It was Tara’s birthday this weekend, and a lot of things happened. For one, Claire came to visit. Now, Claire moved away the summer after high school ended, and none of us had seen her in two years. So it was a very merry reunion; there was much hugging. There was a bit of a hitch in the proceedings, however, when we went back to Tara’s house to watch a movie and discovered a dog. After much coaxing, we managed to lead him out of the woods and leash him.
“How do we know he’s not, you know, rabid?” asked Allison worriedly.
I shrugged and bent down and employed what I felt was a reasonably good test to see if he was rabid. I held out my hand and said, “Shake!” And the dog shook. Well, I mean, he gave me his paw and then rammed his nose into my face, but I straightened up and said, “Someone taught him how to shake. He’s probably not rabid.”
“And look,” said Claire, “he’s well-groomed, and he has a collar.” She went to check his tags. “Now, let’s see if we can find some identification…”
But the dog was bouncing around, sniffing and licking with impunity. We gave him to Allison. Allison owns a chihuahua and has never had to hold the leash of a large, overexcited dog, so it was amusing to watch him drag her around the driveway. Claire finally cornered him, and Shannon quickly took a picture of the phone number on his tags, because within seconds he was off and running again. Claire said, “I didn’t catch his name, but it looked like Ghost-Cheese.”
“Ghost-Cheese,” I repeated.
“Well,” I said, “we’ll just call the number and tell them we have their lovable family pet Ghost-Cheese.”
Which we did, but the number we called belonged to a woman who said she had adopted him out. This was the beginning of a long, arduous process during which we tried to find the number of the current owner, but nobody seemed to have it. Meanwhile, we all grew really attached to Ghost-Cheese. We were all dog lovers, and as I had lost mine a few months previously, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed being licked in the face.
“This is certainly an unprecedented turn of events,” said Tara.
We gave him food and water, and he slowed down enough for us to check his name tag. His name was actually Cochise.
“Looks French,” said Shannon.
“Cochise is the name of an Apache chief who was apparently a total badass,” I said, Wikipedia-ing like crazy on my phone.
Claire nodded. “I like Ghost-Cheese. I think it suits him.”
So we spent the time basically just watching him run around, and we were taking pictures like we had tethered a unicorn in the driveway. After more than an hour, we finally tracked down a woman who said the dog belonged to her son, who lived on [street]. We looked around, confused, and told her that’s where we were. She said he was heading there now, and soon enough we saw this sleek silver pimped-out car barreling down the road blasting music. It was packed with teenagers.
“Oh hell no,” muttered Claire. “If that’s Ghost-Cheese’s owner, I say we keep him.”
It was Ghost-Cheese’s owner, and we did give him back, because even though this kid was wearing a wife-beater, Ghost-Cheese ran at him and the reunion was very cute. But now we miss him. You’re forever in our hearts, Ghost-Cheese. NEVER FORGET.