Much Doggone Confusion!

When the lawn crew working at a home in our neighborhood left a back gate open, the resident’s dog got out of the yard.  They think that happened about 4:30, so by the time the owner notified the neighborhood, it was almost 7 PM and dark.

Since we have a Neighborhood Watch system to alert everyone, the dog’s owner sent a e-mail to his area captain (that would be me, in this case) which I sent to the Neighborhood Watch coordinator for forwarding to the other captains in order to blanket the entire neighborhood with the information.  We have a system.

Within 30 minutes, owner and pet were reunited.

Nice, story, huh?  Smooth. . . .

Here’s the behind-the-scenes version:

Often, people can’t remember who their area representative is, so they e-mail a neighbor who e-mails someone else, etc. until it gets to a captain. Too, we sometimes receive e-mails from other neighborhoods. My point (okay, my excuse) is that it is not unusual to receive e-mails in different forms with several strange names on them.

Changing the names to protect the innocent. . . here is a shortened version of the e-mail about the adventurous dog.

To:  Merrilymarylee

From:  Bob XYZ

CC:  Barbara XYZ

George, our 80-lb. chocolate lab is missing.  TruGreen left our gate open around 4:30.  We think he’s been missing since then.  He has a microchip but isn’t wearing a collar.  He has a scab on his nose. 


Pretty clear, right?  The man did everything right.  BUT, here is how my brain processed it:


Our 80-lb. chocolate lab is missing.  TruGreen left the gate open about 4:30.  We think he’s been missing since them.  He has no collar, but is microchipped.  He has a scab on his nose.

I forwarded the e-mail to the Coordinator, adding this note to him:

I think this is supposed to be sent to everyone but I’m not sure.  It could be a copy of one that’s already been sent since I don’t know anyone named George and have no idea of who CC: Barbara XYZ might be.  

After I’d already hit Send, I re-read the dog owner’s e-mail.  I realized what a doofus I’d been.

I sent another e-mail to the Coordinator, explaining my brain fart and telling him that I’d figured out that GEORGE was the DOG, BARBARA XYZ must be Bob’s wife,  and to please forward the e-mail to the whole neighborhood.  In the meantime, I sent it to the folks on my list, because the XYZs must live in our area, so the odds were that the dog might still be around here.

Within five minutes I had received a note from a neighbor who is a dog lover and very seriously involved in animal rescues.  She’d written down the owner’s phone number and immediately hit the streets.  When she heard a large dog barking in a house which she knows doesn’t have a dog, she rang their doorbell.  Sure enough, the homeowner there had come upon a scabby-nosed dog that afternoon and took it into her home while she tried to find the owner. They called the number from the e-mail and within minutes, dog and family were reunited.  They notified me right away.

I sent a third e-mail to the Coordinator about the happy ending.  He was just now reading all the e-mails and wrote back:

I’m glad I read all three e-mails before sending anything out.  

I thought TruGreen was the dog’s name.

Scab-free Snozz here

(In a related note, the Coordinator now says that if he ever gets another dog, he now plans to name it TruGreen and call it True.  I would suggest that he change colors.  I’d go for TruBlue.  He’d probably stay closer to home.)  

Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful – Ann Landers


8 thoughts on “Much Doggone Confusion!

  1. I’m soooo confused!!! hehe That is too funny how the emails were deciphered differently but great job on reuniting dog and owner after all of that:-) xoxo

  2. Ah, the value of commas! In the first email, “George, our 80-lb. chocolate lab is missing” sounds like it’s addressing the reader by name (George). It should have been “George, our 80-lb. chocolate lab, is missing.” That second comma makes all the difference.

    But, then again, if my pet had been gone that long, I probably couldn’t write a coherent email either. (One of my favorite books is about punctuation: “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” by Lynn Truss.)

    Good work, Cap’n!

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