Up until recently, I’d only bought one thing from a buy/sell ad online. It was a table, and it was from someone I knew. This was a big deal for me because I mostly view people who sell items online to be suspect. This is more than likely due to my fascination with true crime podcasts and old episodes of Forensic Files. Nine times out of ten the girl gets got because she answered an ad for a used bike and thus becomes the subject of a Crime Junkie podcast. So, my rule is don’t seek out used merchandise online and you don’t get dead, simple enough. 

Recently I broke my own rule and decided to inquire about a dog. The ad, forwarded to me by a friend seemed benign “City folks looking to re-home 6-month-old blue heeler.” The problem for me was that they were from Phoenix, by way of Las Vegas, and all my true crime training put me on high alert. 

Suddenly all the worst-case scenarios started playing through my head and I instantly said, “no way.” Problem was, I messed up and showed Zach. Having recently lost arguably the best damn dog he’s ever had, he was insistent on pursuing this opportunity. So, I messaged the owner. I was terrified when she replied but was immediately relieved when she said he was already spoken for. I broke the news to Zach and went to bed. 

The next morning, I was horrified to see that there was a message from “her.” Technically we didn’t know if it really was a “her” because, you see, that’s how they get you… but I digress.

The gal with the dog messaged me to say that the deal had fallen through and that if we wanted the dog, he was ours. I was stuck, so I told Zach. In the following days we messaged back and forth. The mystery person asked a lot of questions and before long I was making up scenarios in my head. When she asked me to bring my dog Dolly along for the pick up, I was convinced that these nefarious people were part of a huge dog kidnapping ring and that when they lured us to that roadside gas station they were going to snatch my Dolly and sell her on the black market. Of course, this thinking was all ridiculous – but was it? 

So, on January 22, Zach, Dolly, and I drove to Casa Grande to meet the dog kidnappers with a plan. I made Zach promise to not let go of Dolly no matter what and that if we got separated to save himself and Dolly. I’d manage on my own. (Remember, I’ve been weight training). He laughed at me. 

When we got to the gas station parking lot what we really encountered was anything but what I had conjured up. The young couple pulled up with dog in tow and the girl (there was a girl!) gets out and walks over to say, “I’m sorry, it’s going to be a minute, he’s having a hard time with this.” We both looked over to see the man sitting in the car crying. When he composed himself, he and the dog joined us in the dirt parking lot. For the next 30 minutes the young couple told us all about their boy Diesel. She petted Dolly and smiled as the two dogs got acquainted. They were happy to see that they got along. The young man went to their car and brought out a box of Diesel’s toys, his crate and a bag of his favorite food. 

Diesel jumped right into our car, and this brought them both to tears. I looked up to see Zach was doing the same. Lots of goodbye hugs and kisses were given and when we finally drove away, I realized that the only nefarious person there that day was me. Perhaps it’s time to dial back my consumption of true crime podcasts, but it doesn’t hurt to be vigilant.