What would you do if......
Lets say you adopted a dog from a shelter that was in the range of maybe 3-5 years old or so. And lets say the shelter is a county shelter that holds stray dogs for a week so their owners can claim them if they are lost. You are first on the waiting list for this stray dog then take home your new family member and make him a part of your life. The dog doesn't seem to have any problems at all when you bring him home. No fear or aggression, great personality, no injuries, coat is in good shape, maybe even knows a command or two. And the dog is just plain cute. It doesn't make sense that this dog would wind up in a shelter.
A year passes by.
By this point your dog is well adapted to your lifestyle and you love your dog very much and take exceptional care of him. And like most at this point you will have spent a considerable amount of money for care, food, training, toys... whatever.
You take your dog to the park for a walk and someone comes up and says "Oh my God that looks like.... Oh my... It is... It's Fluffy!" After some tears are shed, this person, who comes across as a very responsible pet owner, explains some circumstance where their dog (formerly known as Fluffy) had been lost. Not that he was kept in the backyard all the time or anything like that. Just something that could have happened to even the most responsible pet owner. Maybe the dog jumped out of a window of the house or was in a car accident with the owner and ran away in confusion.
The person then shows you photos or other evidence that proove Fluffy was indeed their dog for the first 3-5 years of their life. They go on to say that the dog isn't chipped but has a tattoo (blammmo, there it is) and also they lived in a neighboring county so they only check that county's shelter. Not the county the dog was picked up in.
What would you do? Would you give the dog back knowing that this person had the dog for 3-5 years prior and thinking of how you would feel if you were in this person's shoes? Would you say 'tough luck' it's my dog now? Would you take their name and phone number and think about it for a while? Do you avoid giving them your name for fear they will try to take you to court? Visitation rights?
This dog is in your life now and you love him. Handing him over to the original owner would be an extremely difficult thing to do but would it be the right thing to do?
Right about know you're probably thinking "Oh man Quirky, why did you have to ask this... God forbid this should ever happen" and you're right having to make this decision might cause my head to explode. But........ every time we go to the park... every time I get ready to post a photo online... every time we go to petsmart... or the vet... I can't help but think: What if his original owner bumps into us?