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Moral Dilemna
by Fa.of2
Moral Dilemna About 2 AM 5 months ago , a dear friend and I were greeted on the streets outside his apartment by a beautiful, friendly, 2 paw waving Maltese. He was about 11 months old and had no collar or tags so we decided to take him in; put up a few " FOUND DOG " signs and leave a trail with the Humane Society in effort to find his owner/s.

For quite a while I tried not to get attached to this beautiful dog whom I cared for most of the time at my house. I was afraid to get attached and having to give him up if the original owners turn up. He also spent much time at of his other " foster dad’s " place (where we found him). We grew to love him and called him/ named him " Pog Pog " ( Means " cute " in Filipino language ).

While walking him a couple of months after finding him, a charming woman with a van load of girls were captivated by Pog Pog ( as many are ). They proposed mating him with their dog ( which at first I thought was a Maltese ) which turned out to be a sweet poodle with a wonderful personality. It worked! I decided to adopt one of the two adorable puppies so Pog Pog could have a playmate/ companion. We have named the puppy Ginger do to her puffy wafts of ginger and white colored hair. We love these two doggies. They get along so well – playing and teasing each other all day long. I work and usually leave them in my back yard for 8 hours or so a day -- keeping each other company.


My friend and I and the doggies were returning to his apartment last night. We were greeted by two women speaking a foreign language (Taiwanese?) who inspected Pog Pog. He got excited, as he usually does when he meets people, but this circumstance was different. The women kept calling him a name and he seemed to be reacting to it. I asked if they speak English. They said yes but continued to speak in their language. My friend and I were scared. "What if these were his owners?" I assumed they were mother and daughter. The daughter asked where is it from. I paused and my friend nervously said the name of my town. Seconds seemed to pass like minutes as we let them pet and inspect the dog. She asked if we bought the dog. I have been asked many times about Pog Pog and I almost always gave the story of finding him, making efforts to find the owner/s and loving out new dog. This time my response was, " He is the father of this dog and I said we are from out of town. The younger woman said, " She thinks this looks like her dog that she lost". I asked, "When did you loose him?". She responded, " 6 months ago ". I asked if they put an add in the paper or called the Humane Society and the older of the two said no as she looked downward. My friend said, " You should call them". At some point I said that, " He is friendly to everyone" and "Good luck" as we slithered away feeling guilty and scared. These people live a block away from where we put signs up and where my friend lives. Pog Pog has been walked on that street so many times. We felt nervous and were certainly not ready to simply hand over Pog Pog to some strangers to us.


We are really having a very difficult time trying to decide what to do. Some thoughts we’ve had so far are:

  1. Is the dog ours or theirs?
  2. What will happen if we speak to these people?
  3. Could we all agree to share the dog?
  4. Could we just assume he is ours now and leave it at that?
  5. Should we call the Humane Society and see what has happened in past situations like this?
  6. Legally and morally what is the " right " thing to do? LI>Did these people not know how to look for a dog or did they not try?
  7. Should we take time to prepare to say good bye in case we give the dog to them and they do not want contact with us?
  8. Will this always bother us or can we make peace with a decision to just leave things as they are?


My heart goes out to you...I think you did your best to find out who the owner was. I would definately check with the Humane Society and inquire about a situation like this. I wouldn't worry unless these people pushed the issue. Do they have any papers showing they own him or pictures? I would think they would have to prove that Pog Pog was theirs. Of course this is going to worry you. No doubt in my mind
Libby & Buster

You are in a very sad situation, but you knew the dog belonged to someone else when you found it and there was always a possiblity that they would appear. You have been very generous in loving "Pog Pog" while you were blessed to have him, BUT how would you feel if the situation was reversed? Good luck and I'll pass on something my father always said to me, "Let your conscience be your guide...)
why for heavens sake are you keeping these 'HOUSE-DOGGIES' IN THE BACKYARD???? it is clear you like this dog, but if you cannot give him the proper home you should probably give him & the baby up. You say you've had him @ 6 mos.? that means the puppy is very young ! PLEASE , don't tell anyone that you keep the baby outside too??? since that is considered " cruelty to animals " It seems that you need to make sure that the people who came to your house are the real owners of the dog and then give him back, the baby would be yours to keep. Have you had them both to the vet ? for shots etc ? if not go TODAY !!!!!! I care !
Hi, boy this is a tough one. I honestly don't know if I could give up the dog. But than again I don't know if I could take the guilt of keeping Pog Pog from his first owner either. I would probably ask myself first if I felt the first owner was responsible enough for me to trust the dog with. I don't understand why she didn't look for her dog and call the Humane Society and see the Lost Dog posters you put up where you found the dog. Could she have abandoned this dog and now 6 months later is deciding she made a mistake and now she wants her dog back? I know if I ever lost my dog (although this would never happen the way I constantly watch my dogs) I would call the Humane Society and put an ad in the paper and go door to door and...I just wouldn't stop until I found my dog. The impression I get from what you wrote is this lady didn't care about her dog. I don't understand why she is all of a sudden turning up either. Something just doesn't sound right about this situation to me. As far as you keeping the dog-that is something only you can decide. Legally I do not know how long a person has to find their dog before the person that did can keep the dog. Although if she never reported this dog missing this is an irresponsible dog owner and legally the law may look at this as dog abandonment. Than legally the dog would be yours. Good Luck to you. Keep us informed as to what you did. One question-why did you breed a maltese with a poodle?!l Take care!
You really are in a horrible spot. If the shoe were on the other foot what would you hope the people would do? However, before I turned the dog over to strangers I think I would want to be very very sure they really owned him. Do they have any records of his purchase or have a record of vet care? You need a lot more questions answered before you are ready to make a decision.
Cathy W.
I really can feel for your situation! I have 2 beautiful Maltese pup's, Max and Lizzy. I can't ever imagine losing them for any reason! It has been 6 month's and perhaps the people are not aware of the ways to look for a dog. However, if you posted signs in their neighborhood I would be of the impression that they didn't do a lot of looking. I would be out there door to door and probably doing car checks too! But the cultures are different. It would be a hard decision to make. In this case, you would have to let your conscience be your guide. Just remeber if you do have to give him back, you have had 6 wonderful months with him AND a beautiful daughter that will always remind you of him! There always is the chance that they have given up on finding him and have replaced him and don't want another dog. Tough choice...good luck!
Hello! Reading your story made my heart pound. First I would tell you that my choice of answers is #4. Unless they can PROVE ownership they wouldn't walk out of the door with the dog. Proof as in: Tattoo, Microchip, Papers showing age and sex and litter and contact number for the breeder. Just because your little one showed enthusiasm for these people means nothing! My Ellii LOVES everyone. They are ALL her "friends". Allow me to share a story with you. when Ellii was a baby, I would walk her and potty her outdoors. My husband and I are pastors of a church and we live right on the property. We have an emergency food hand out on every Saturday. One of these Saturdays, a gentleman from the east somewhere, ( I am not very good at figuring out nationalities, but I think he was from the Philipines) came up to me from out of the food line and started asking a lot of questions about Ellii. I normally would tell anyone and everyone ALL about Ellii, but the questions where starting to make me very uncomfortable. He started REALLY checking her over, asking exactly how old she was, if she was a purebred, how much I Paid for her, etc. Then he and his wife started talking (in their language) and I didn't like the tone it was taking. Finally he said, "That dog would bring a lot of money over seas". Then he quoted an outragious price like 20,000. or something like that, but I was so upset by the whole thing that I did something that I don't normally do..... I LIED THROUGH MY TEETH. I told him that I had Microchiped her, that I had blood work done on her so that I could ID her.... Then I went to my house and locked all the doors. I started asking around and found out that people DO take dogs overseas and DO get a chunk of money for them. Needless to say, Ellii is scheduled this very week for a tattoo. Now, I don't know if there is any similarities with our situations or not, and I truly am not bashing other nationalities. Honest! But I can't help but wonder why a woman that lived a mere block away from you hadn't noticed any signs, wasn't knocking on any doors, and didn't call the police (who WOULD have directed her to the Humane Society) Would she have taken such a lax attitude had she lost her CAR??? or something else that had value to her??? If you try to second guess everyone it will make you crazy!! Legally, you have had the dog long enough to claim ownership I would think, and Morally, if someone walks up and can PROVE that dog belongs to them, I believe you will do what is right and give them their dog. But I assure you, THEY would be the ones on the hot seat and jumping through MY hoops. I sure hope some of this helps! Good Luck and God Bless.
Wow, I can only imagine what you are going through. I also wouldn't have just handed him over either, but, if he is there dog and they can show you some way, you should investigate it. You'll never feel right with Pog Pog if you don't know the truth. I wish there were an easy answer, but try to place yourself in the owner's place. If Pog Pog was lost now... and you saw him a few months later, what would you want? Good luck. Let us know what happens.
Dear Fa.of2 - Wow, that IS quite a delema. I read your post to my husband, who is the most honest person I have ever met, to get his opinion. He looked at me, and said, "6 months?" I said yes. He said, "I would keep the dog." I would too. I hope everyone here doesn't think worse of me for this. BUT, 6 months? If Taffy was gone for 1 minute I would be canvassing this place like no ones business until I found her. No stone would be left unturned. If you decide you can't live with this, I would make them PROVE that this dog was theirs, you never know what their motives are either. I, for one, would sure like to know how this turns out so please post back. I don't believe these people would be willing to "share" this dog, you know how that goes. It sounds like you love this dog very much.....my vote.....keep on loving! Good Luck!
Robin K.
Fa.of2: I would never leave my girls in the back yard in the first place, but now that I know someone thinks Pog Pog belongs to them, they'd be watched 24 hours a day. It seems none of us know the laws where you live and are only guessing. I'd find out legally what you are required to do. After 6 months I don't know how one could give up the dog. It would belong to me if I was in your shoes, but I'd want the Law on my side. Please don't leaving us hanging. Good luck.
Pog pog is yours. I'm sorry for the people who lost him but they could've looked harder and he had no business running around unsupervised. I wouldn't keep him in the back yard anymore. You're running a risk of losing him too. The people who lost him have learned a valuable lesson and will hopefully be more protective and responsible with their next dog. Be quiet. Go no further. You tried. Get a grip. You did the right thing and they didn't. Now keep him. He's got a good home. You're absolved of all guilt.
I have a hard time feeling sorry for someone who loses their dog and makes no attempt to find him/her. If it was me unless they could prove its their dog and give a darn good explaination on why they didn't look for their dog (like was out of the country) I don't think I would give the dog up. In my mind I would wonder, if these people don't care enough to make sure the dog doesnt get lost in the first place(there are always exceptions) and don't even make an effort to find the dog then maybe they are not good dog owners to begin with and dont deserve to own a dog. Especially a Maltese.
Kathy S.
I agree with those that tell you to keep Pog Pog. If I lost any of my girls I would be scouring the whole area, starting with the local humane society and putting up posters in local vets, etc. etc. If (and that's a BIG IF) these were the previous owners, they sure didn't look too hard. I also agree that you should keep Pog Pog in the house and not outdoors. That's way too risky (thieves, delinquents, etc.). Good luck!
Sandy (Shelby & Nikki)
I agree with the majority of the people here. I think Jeannie said it best when she said unless they can PROVE that Pog Pog is their dog, I would keep Pog Pog. I know if I lost my dog, I would be looking all over as well and if they're only living a block away, they should've seen the posters around the neighborhood. Fox Mulder said it best on X-Files when he said "Trust No One" I know it sounds cynical but, really, unless there's absolute proof that Pog Pog is theirs, hang on to your dog. And just to add two more cents in, I also don't think Maltese are the kind of breed to be kept as an outside dog. Anyway, good luck in whatever you decide...it's your own conscience that you have to live with!
Can we have an update? Anything new to report? Are you feeling better?
Keep him, unless you know POSITIVELY he will be in a more loving environment. I would hire a PI to check up on these people, and EVERYTHING about them before I handed over my child. You could be sending your little one to most certain death, just to ease your own conscience. Then how would you feel. Please do what is in the BEST interest of your little boy. Not for yourself but for HIM. I think these people a have already proven unfit. Would your hand over your little three year old daughter (human) back into the hands of an abusive father? I'll pray for your guidance.God bless
After six months I would not give the dog back. I agree too with Jeannie. Ask for PROOF. Let us know what happens.
Dear Finder: I cannot tell you what you must do, but I can tell you my experience and the experiences of others who have lost a Maltese.

Years ago a room mate let my Maltese out and forgot to let her back in and when I returned from work she was no where to be found. We went door to door for a mile in each direction looking for her to no avail and posted reward signs. I advertised in the local newspaper, called Vets, and checked with the animal shelters. I was devastated and I looked into the face of every white dog I saw and cried myself to sleep at night. I raised the reward money weekly. My life was a living hell as I didn't know if she was being cared for properly or half starved and matted, or perhaps hidden in bushes dead and decomposing.... I was a college student at the time so money wasn't plentiful. My grades dropped. She was my first Maltese, Krystal, it was 1966. It was one of the dark periods of my life. Her face haunted me, and not knowing was driving me nearly insane. 5 months had passed and someone suggested I tell my story in a "letter to the editor" in the event that that person (if she was alive) could understand my grief. It was just a couple of weeks before Christmas. I wrote out my story hoping that if someone had here they would realize she was mine--even though they loved her--and offer her back to me. To add to the pot, I offered a HUGE reward--no questions asked. Christmas came and went without the gift I'd prayed for. Then New Year's Day, my hopes were gone. It had been nearly 6 months. Her face still lingered, my heart was torn with pain that wouldn't go away. I had lost weight. My precious Krystal was gone forever... Towards the end of January, some poorly dressed children came to the door with a dirty white matted dog in their arms. My heart jumped, "could this really be my Krystal?" She was unrecogniseable. I lifted her hair and looked into her dull eyes and she came alive jumping and so happy. It was Krystal and we'd both searched for each other for so long. She remembered me. She had lost a lot of weight. I didn't asked any questions and gladly gave them the reward--as that was what I had advertised, but the children said that their mother had fallen head over heels in love with her and it wasn't until the HUGE reward was offered that they decided to "do the right thing." They could see that Krystal remembered me.... They told me that she often got excited when she saw strange women...but would settle down. She, too, had been searching for me all these months. She clung to me and turned her head when they tried to tell her goodbye. For many years after that when a stranger approached her she would shake, and she would get right under my feet trying to stay close to me.

I learned many lessons from this...which hopefully you will understand. I'm sure that if you search your heart you will know the answer to your question.

Beverly B. Passe
Beverly B. Passe

Beverly, What a touching story. When I read how you felt and suffered when you lost your baby it scared the hell out of me. I am soo completely paranoid about losing my baby!! I get nervous when we go to visit other people that I can't let her out of my sight, I mean if someone even leaves the door open I could loose my baby! I thought I was abnormal for worring too much but your story confirms my feelings. I would never want to go through what you did. I'm soo glad you found her!! I agree, its the not knowing if they are OK or not thats tourture!! I think your post put a spin on things a bit. It seems to me that most people wern't seeing the other side to the story. I see both sides and if I were in that situaion I don't know what I would do.
Beverly, I pray I never know just how you felt over losing your little Maltese but I feel I can just imagine the pain you went through. It makes me feel very depressed when I think about your ordeal.How wonderful and miraculous that after such a long time, you got your baby back. I think my blood pressure went up when I read your story. I have Truffles tatooed in my own attempt to insure her possible return if she should ever get lost. I was not particularly happy with the location of her tatoo, on her pretty pink tummy, but it was the only place large enough they said. Her little leg did not offer ample flat space for even the 4 digits they suggested. I have gotten used to it now and call her a 'convict' because that's what it looks like. At least it is an attempt to have her returned. I can relate to how Stacey feels about an open door. I keep saying I have not found anyone qualified to take care of Truffles yet because they all have doors! So I just take her on trips with me. I'm sorry for your experience of losing your baby and the pain you endured but am so glad you got her back.
Linda P.
Beverly, Wow, what an incredible story. It did make me think as well, BUT, look at what lengths you went through to try to find your baby. You did everything humanly possible, and you wouldn't have passed up any notices about a missing dog either. If this person who has the dog now really did put up notices and did everything they claimed to have done, and the owner did not see this...I would question the previous owner. I think if they can't prove that this baby was theirs, I would worry about who I was giving this baby up to. In a case like yours, I could never keep this dog knowing someone was heart sick. You brought up a good point though. I wish the person who posted this would post again to bring us updated. Now, it seems weird to me that they have not written again.
Robin K.

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