I grew up in a small city where people not only knew their neighbours, but also spoke to them on a daily basis. We weren't necessarily best friends but we all knew the basic details of each other's lives. And if you needed to borrow an egg, you didn't have to introduce yourself at a stranger's door first.
Toronto couldn't have been more different. We lived on a one block street and at best, we knew about 30 per cent of our neighbours. If you needed an egg, well, good luck to you. There were probably two families on our street that I would have even considered asking for one.
Then we moved to Israel. As I have said many times in the past, it is partly the Anglo thing and partly that in Israel your business is your neighbour's business. Without going into a long song and dance, I have so many egg-friendly neighbours that I could collect a dozen without effort.
Several of my neighbours' numbers are in my cell phone and I speak to them daily. That's why when my new American neighbour across the street called the other day and said: "Oh my God, can you please come over here now ...", I walked out the door and across the street while I was still talking to her on my cell phone.
She opened the door holding her adorable miniature poodle, Buddy. And since we are both dog owners I began the conversation by addressing Buddy. Except, it wasn't Buddy. It was the same size as Buddy and the same colour as Buddy, but she assured me that it wasn't Buddy. In fact, she said calling to her seven-year-old daughter, here's Buddy now. And with that, her daughter entered the room the the real Buddy in her arms. I just stood there amazed. And with that, my quiet Sunday afternoon came to an abrupt end.
As it turns out, one of the daughter's friends left school earlier that day and saw a dog that she was sure was Buddy in the middle of the street in front of the school. Thinking she was doing a great deed, she scooped up the little dog and headed to my neighbour's house four blocks away to return Buddy.
However, when my neighbour opened the door with Buddy in her arms, she got the shock of her life to see Buddy's Double in the child's arms. A complicating factor to say the least.
Buddy Double had no collar and no apparent identification. That's when she called me to help her figure out what she should do next. In retrospect it's funny because according to my husband, thinking things through isn't my strong suit.
After consulting with our friend the City Veteranarian, we headed off to the nearest Veteranary Clinic to have the dog's computer chip read. All the way there the little girl who found Buddy Double was planning her life with her new dog.
If it had been a mixed breed without identification, that might have been fine, but in a small country the size of Israel, a new purebred in town can only have come from one or two places and presented with the challenge of finding the owner, the vet we went to see turned into a private dectective on the spot.
The dog didn't have an identification chip because he was too young. To me, that pretty much settled the matter. No ID meant that we couldn't find the owner and therefore, the little girl was the proud owner of an adorable miniature poodle puppy.
The vet/detective didn't see it that way. He started making calls to his contacts in search of the rightful owner. Fortunately for the almost-new-dog-owning-child, the vet was batting zero and I was starting to apply pressure. "It's ownerless," I said, "and she wants to keep it. So we're leaving."
And just then, while the vet was stalling and trying to convince us that we had to put up posters to try to find the real owner, the door of the clinic opened and a teenage boy walked in, took one look at Buddy Double, and said: "Sonny!"
And with that, the day took another 90 degree turn.
"Hey, not so fast," we all yelled. "How do we know it is your dog?" (Of course, we knew in our hearts it was his dog, but we had already made plans for Buddy Double, and we weren't in a hurry to adjust our thinking.) "How did you find us?"
So here's the story as it can only happen in a small place.
The kid gets home and realizes his dog has escaped due to human carelessness. He goes out into the street near his house (which was a few feet from the public school) and starts asking if someone has seen his dog. He has a picture of the dog with him. Some kid sees the photograph and says: "I saw a girl pick the dog up and take it home. I think her name is ....."
Next, the teenager and his father go into the public school and ask where this kid lives. THE SCHOOL ACTUALLY GIVES OUT THE INFORMATION. (Mindboggling to North Americans) and then they go to the girl's house to get their dog.
Of course, the mother knows the whole story and tells them that their dog isn't there because it is at the vet. She tells them which vet and next thing you know they are at the door to the vet's clinic.
And with that, our little neighbourhood adventure comes to an abrupt end.
However, the next day I was in the corner store getting milk and in walks the teenager with Sonny. "Sonny," I sort of yelled out and the dog lurches for me to give me a few licks. Now we are neighbourhood friends.