I Know Why The Caged Dog Barks

, , , | Working | July 17, 2020

It’s a slow day at work, so my coworker and I are looking up cute pictures of dogs at the local city pound. My coworker frantically tells me to stop and enlarge one certain picture, which I do.

Coworker: “That’s my dog! That’s my dog who ran away three months ago! I’m sure of it! I never thought we’d see her again; we looked everywhere for her!”

We read the description of the dog: female, same breed, and same age as her missing pet. My coworker is thrilled but a bit panicky.

Coworker: “What am I going to do? The pound will be closed by the time we get off work! Even if I leave now, I’ll barely make it!”

Me: “Go. I’ll explain it all to [Boss].”

We have a very friendly and understanding workplace, so I know our boss will make an exception.

Coworker: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Go!”

My coworker hurries out the door while I go talk to [Boss]. Sure enough, he gives her permission to leave early to find her dog.

My coworker arrives barely ten minutes before the pound closes. She goes right up to the front desk and gives them a description of her dog.

Employee #1: “We don’t have that dog anymore.”

Coworker: *Shocked* “But you posted it on your web page!”

Employee #1: *Gets an attitude* “We sent it to a different kennel. And I know it’s not your dog. That dog we had is male. You’re saying your dog is female.”

Coworker: “Your website said it was female!”

Employee #1: “It’s not.”

Coworker: *Getting suspicious* “Can I at least go back and see the dogs?”

Employee #1: “We’re closed.”

Coworker: *Looks at the clock* “You’re open for another seven minutes. I just want to walk by the cages really quickly.”

Employee #1: *Groans* “Fine.”

He leads her to the back in-house kennels. However, they’re ALL empty.

Coworker: “Where are all your dogs?”

The employee addresses her like he’s talking to a small child.

Employee #1: “They’re out back for the night. In the outside kennels.”

Coworker: “Can I see them, please?

The employee relents and shows her the door to the outside kennels. It’s shaped like a C with cages in the curve and a door at both ends. Sure enough, all the dogs are out there. 

The moment my coworker walks through the first door, it shuts behind her. Then, she hears it click. She tries the handle but it’s locked. Figuring it is an “entrance only” door and the other door is the exit, she makes a quick sweep of the kennels. It only takes a minute — a literal sixty-second minute — to confirm none of the dogs are hers. 

She arrives at the second door. It’s locked, too. She pounds on it, rattles the handle, and looks for a doorbell. Nope, nothing. So, she hurries back to the first door. Still locked.

It gets worse. Through the chain-link fence, she sees the same employee she was talking to get into his car and drive away.

Frantic at being locked in the outside pound all night — as well as one larger dog starting to growl at her — my coworker starts to rattle the fence, scream, and in general make as much noise as she possibly can. Of course, Murphy’s Law, she was in such a hurry to get into the pound before it closed, she left her cell phone in her car. None of the other employees seem to notice as they leave a couple of minutes later, also driving away, leaving her still trapped.

Fortunately, a customer happens to be exiting the store next door. She sees my coworker, who is now screaming, “Help, I’m locked in!” The customer races to her own vehicle and whips out of the store parking lot and into the pound parking lot. She BARELY catches the final employee before he leaves for the night.

The customer explains what’s going on with a lot of pointing, all while my coworker is kicking up a fuss. The employee doesn’t even return inside to unlock the door at first. The first thing he does is walk up to my coworker and talk to her through the fence.

Employee #2: *Grins* “Well, you ain’t have a good day, are you, lady?”

By the time he went back into the building and unlocked the door to let my coworker out, she was so angry she was shaking and crying. It took her a full twenty minutes to calm down in her car before she started making calls — to the owner of the pound, to the local council, and to her husband. 

The owner of the pound got back to her and was very apologetic. He even offered her the phone number of the other kennel they worked with. She did call to find out if her dog was there. It wasn’t, and the dog we thought was hers was male all along, although how a pound couldn’t tell, we don’t know. 

The sad part of this story is that she never was able to find her dog. However, while I don’t know the exact details of what happened, I do know an investigation occurred. They were able to pull up security footage, proving my coworker was locked outside the pound in their enclosed area for almost twenty minutes. There was a VERY MAJOR overhaul in the entire way our city’s pound was run — including eliminating the kill policy and largely increasing visibility to return lost pets to their owners. I don’t think any of the employees work there anymore, and it seems to be a much better place.

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