James Lileks
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In the past month, I have lost my dog and my car keys, and this has provided some interesting interactions with public officials.

I realize that “interesting interactions with public officials” is almost as boring as “promising innovations in Canadian wheat hybrids,” but bear with me.

I called Animal Control, where they Control Animals. A friend said they keep a log of dogs that people found, but didn’t turn in. The person who answered the phone said I would have to come down to look at said log. So I went to Animal Control, which is a bit more institutional than expected. Steel, plexiglass over the windows — you expect a guard to say “OK, you got five minutes with your dog,” and then you’re led to a room where you get to look at them and maybe talk over the phone:

(click) Hey, dog. How are you?

Oh, just great. When are you getting me out of here?

I’m doing what I can. Who’s a good dog?

If I were a good dog I wouldn’t be in this mess, boss.

Look, I’ll be back tomorrow with some treats. The marrow kind.

Bring the box. They’re like money here.

But my dog wasn’t there. The log didn’t show anything. The log had only one entry past the date when my dog fled. Which means that if the person on the phone had asked when my pooch had bolted and checked the log, I wouldn’t have had to make the trip.

Rules, I guess.

Later the same day, I saw one of those Downtown Improvement District workers — the green-shirted people who help keep the city clean. His tag said GLENN.

Since I’d lost some car keys, I asked what they did when they found keys. “We take them to the head office,” he said, pointing down the street.

Now get this: Glenn walked me there, chatting with his boss via walkie-talkie. Asks me: What did your keys look like?

“Uh, black, some brown, floppy ears, thick tail. Oh. Sorry. Right. Car key, house keys, small black key.”

He related the details to the Home Office, and his supervisor got the keys and walked to meet us halfway. He stood on the corner and held the keys up high, like the Statue of Great Public Service. Yes. Well, something’s going right. Cross the street … annnnnd they’re not my keys.

“I hope you find them,” Glenn said. “Well, they’ll probably turn up hungry in someone’s yard. That’s the hope.”

If the dog has the keys on him, that’ll be two miracles, but I’ll settle for one.