I'm sure you've heard the saying "No good deed goes unpunished."
That's exactly how I felt Saturday afternoon, standing in the cold rain after talking to a Phenix City police officer.
Friday morning after dropping my kids off for school, I found a dog on my street that I've never seen. She was in the middle of the road, so I stopped.
When I opened the door, she ran right up to me and jumped in. She was wet because it was drizzling that morning, but she was warm so I thought she certainly has a home. I wanted to help.
I took her home with me and did what everyone does now when they find an animal: You take a picture of it and post it to the lost animals page on Facebook.
Meanwhile, my dog wasn't thrilled to meet her. In fact, Linc was prepared to eat her for breakfast. That was just one reason they couldn't be near each other.
After spending some time loving on her, I could tell she had fleas and likely never saw a veterinarian. But I just knew someone was missing her. She was too sweet.
Sadly, I was wrong.
My neighbor said someone dropped her in our part of Phenix City because they didn't want her anymore. Now, I didn't try to track down these people, but that's horrible.
My next step was to see if anyone in my extended family wanted to keep her.
It was clear to me that we couldn't. Linc wasn't happy, and we don't have room for two dogs. One of my goals for this year is to spend more time with our 2-year-old husky, who enjoys eating toothbrushes and socks.
None of my friends or family could keep her.
Soon the kids returned home and quickly named her "Oreo" for her white and black marks. She loved them, and they loved her.
My goal Saturday was to quickly find her a home: it was getting too cold for her to stay in my backyard.
I called PetSmart to see if she could get a flea treatment. "No," they said, not without rabies records. I asked about shelters. "No," I was told. They pick from animal control. I called more shelters. No answer or help was provided. I called animal control in Phenix City-Russell County. They weren't open.
I was left without options, so I called the Russell County Sheriff's Department. They sent me to Phenix City's 911 dispatch. That led to a police officer at my door.
I told him the circumstances and that I wanted Oreo to be safe and warm. He didn't have any answers either, adding he only would take her back to the police department until animal control could take her Monday morning. I sarcastically asked if animals don't go missing on the weekends. I was frustrated no one would help me help her. I put her in the back of his patrol car and begged him to call me if she couldn't get care. Then my emotions got the best of me.
Oreo made it to the animal shelter, where hopefully she soon finds a home. I felt terrible sending her there, but no one I spoke to offered any help or advice and I felt optionless.
Someone asked me if I wish I would have just not picked her up. Of course not, I told them. I do wish there were more options.
Stephanie Pedersen, senior editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.