by Maria Ruiz
Maria often shares stories with us about Santa Barbara history, her travel all over the world, and her dogs.
“He’s gone! Oh my God.” I yelled as I looked at the open gate. My little, eight year old dog had left small muddy paw prints on the sidewalk.
We had just moved into a new place in a new city, San Diego. For the first week, I had been staying at a friend’s in the Claremont section, which is a series of canyons and streets built on the tops of hills. Their home was about a mile away and two canyons up from our new street. My dogs hadn’t had the chance to learn the neighborhood.
“Where could he have gone?” I cried to my husband, who had just rushed down to see where and how.
The first night after we had moved in, a rainstorm had flooded the first level of the house. My husband, Ted, had gone out in the downpour and dug a channel along the side of the house, releasing the built up water to the street. On either side of our street were canyons where coyotes lived and hunted local cats. My little dog Shatzie, a miniature Schnauzer, wasn’t much bigger than a cat and would have been easy prey.
We walked around calling for him for hours, then made up posters and stuck them all around.
It was Sunday and the local Dog Shelter was closed, along with Animal Control. I could only hope that if someone found him, they would turn him in and see the new rabies medal on his collar.
To make matters worse, he was diabetic and needed his insulin twice a day.
The rest of the day, we sat around and tried not to cry too much. The canyons and streets were confusing enough for us, much less a little lost dog. One block down from us was the major four-lane entrance to Claremont and it was always busy with cars and trucks.
Monday morning I was beside myself with worry. I called both the local shelter and Animal Control and no new animals had been brought it. Now what? I thought.
Then I called the newspaper and put an ad in the classified section, under pets. Lost, little white Schnauzer. Needs insulin and requires medical monitoring.
Now all I could do was wait.
Tuesday morning we woke and tried to remain calm. The phone rang and I rushed to grab it.
“Is this the party with the lost dog?” a woman said.
“Yes, my little Schnauzer,” I replied.
“Good. My mother read your ad and called me. A little, very wet and muddy dog showed up on our front porch Sunday morning. We brought him in and cleaned him up. My boys are delighted with him.”
I was now crying. I hoped with every cell of my being that it was Shatzie. I got her address and we hurried to find her house.
We had to drive down the hill and turn left on Claremont Blvd, the four lane busy road, then up the hill and to the right. I could only imagine Shatzie had been trying to find my friend’s house.
We found the house and parked the car. As I walked to the front door, I was shaking, hoping that it truly was Shatzie. A woman opened the door and I saw my beloved little dog. I couldn’t stop the tears of joy as I knelt to hug him.
His tail was shaking so hard his whole body shook. He licked my face as I picked him up.
The whole family came to meet me. The three sons wanted their picture taken with him and said, “If you ever want to give him away, please call.” In only two days, they had fallen in love with him.
As I thanked them and headed to my car, I turned to see the family on the porch waving to me. The boys had tears in their eyes.
About a week later, I received a photograph in the mail.
Check out more of Maria’s travel and history articles here in KRL.