This is national adopt a shelter dog month in the US, so here is a little tribute to all of our furry little friends. If you are thinking of getting one, don't forget there are a lot of them at shelters looking for a home.

Vin turned off the engine of his jeep and looked up at the sky. Dark clouds were gathering. There was going to be a bad storm tonight. He smiled, as long as he was inside, he loved a good thunderstorm.

Passing the alley that went behind his apartment building, he heard a couple of the area's stray dogs carrying on. They probably had something, hopefully not someone, cornered back there. Animal control was working on the problem, but there were a few of the strays that had proven very hard to catch. Vin got out his gun and entered the alley. If they had taken to going after people, then someone would be needing help, especially if it was one of the numerous children that lived and played in the area.

Three good-sized curs had a small white thing surrounded. The little guy was telling them all off and getting ready to fight any and all comers, so what if each of them made about twenty of him.

Vin grinned; he had to admire the little guy's grit. He didn't have a prayer of winning this fight, but no one had told him that. Zipping up his leather jacket and putting his gun away, he decided to help even the odds a bit. Three on one was a bit unfair for anyone.

Grabbing a corner of the nearest metal dumpster, he slammed the lid down and started making as much noise as he could. The three dogs looked at he approaching human and backed to the end of the alley. The little white thing gave him a glare that would have melted Chris Larabee's heart.

Vin looked at the thing, and at the three dogs waiting for him to leave so they could get back to their business with the little dog, and sighed.

"I ain't looking fer a dog, and you ain't stayin'," he informed it as he picked it up. The fact that the dog let him do this confirmed that it was or had been a pet. "I'm just helping you out of a mess."

The dog grinned and tried to lick his face.

Tucking the dog under his arm, Vin headed up to his apartment. The elevator was out again, so there was plenty of time for him to make his mental list of what he might need to make his new roommate more comfortable while he figured out what to do with him. He looked at it a bit closer; okay, what to do with her.

Vin sat on the couch and hit a number on his cell phone. The dog was crying from where she was shut in the bathroom, but he didn't want her loose until he knew how well house trained she was and he had had a chance to clean her up.

"Hey, JD," Vin said as the call connected.

"Hi, what's up?"

"Got a little terrorist in a fur coat. I was wondering if Casey could lend me some things from the shelter for her?" Vin asked. He knew that his friend and the young vet tech from a local animal shelter had plans, so she was likely with him.

"Just a minute," JD responded, then Vin could hear the two talking.

"Vin, it's Casey, what do you need and we'll bring it over," the young lady was now on the phone.

Vin read her the list of things he had decided he would probably need.

"Okay, and what size is she?"

"She's about nine or ten inches at the shoulder, maybe touch under twenty pounds."

"Congratulations, sounds like you have a Westie or something crossed with one," We'll be over in about ten minutes.

"Thanks, could use some shampoo for her too, she's a mess."

"Got it, see you soon," Casey said, hanging up the phone.

Getting up, Vin went and opened the bathroom door. She sat staring at him and wagging her tail. She was a cute little thing.

"I guess that I can at least get the mud and stuff rinsed off while we wait," he said, picking her up carefully and starting the water running.

A bath was evidently not on the dog's agenda; she began twisting and turning and wriggling for all she was worth.

Vin tightened his grip and tested the water temperature. Perfect, it was about room temperature, maybe a little warmer. Getting a solid hold on her, he eased her into the tub of water. One hand held her in place and the other was washing the dirt and grim of street life off her.

There was a knock on the door; grabbing a towel behind him, he scooped her into it and went to answer the door.

JD and Casey came in carrying more things than Vin owned for himself. He smirked as Casey's bundles got added to JD's and she scooped the dog out of Vin's arms. The kid looked like a pack mule. Vin took half of the supplies and the two men deposited everything on the coffee table, while Casey goo-gooed over the little terrier.

"She's a West Highland Terrier, Westie; or has a lot of that in her. I'd guess she's about nine months to a year old. She's spayed, so somebody owned her. Did she have any kind of ID on her?" Casey asked after having examined the little thing while playing and fussing over it.

"No, nothing, found her in the back alley getting ready to give three mongrels that were harassing her what for."

JD laughing as he imagined that sight.

Casey grinned, "That's a Westie for you. I've got some grooming supplies, so why don't we finish getting her cleaned up? I'll get the word out about her, and we'll see if anything turns up, but I'm afraid I wouldn't hold my breath."

"I ain't keeping her permanently, just helping her out until something can be done," Vin informed them.

JD bit his lip to stop form laughing.

Casey did laugh, "Right, just until she finds a good home."

Vin gave them both a stern look and sent one to the laughing little dog. "I don't have time for a dog, and if I did want a dog, it wouldn't be one of these little yappers."

They both smirked. "Right, Vin." Came in two-part harmony.

Vin groaned.

The trio bathed, brushed, and trimmed the dog so she was looking more like something one would want to share an apartment with. They had also brought a collar and leash, bowls, some dog food for little dogs, a couple of toys and chewy things, and a bed. Thankfully, she was in good shape and didn't have fleas or ticks, so the stuff for that wasn't needed.

Vin thanked the pair for their help and saw them out. Turning on the television, he found a western, just the thing for a relaxing night at home. Grabbing a beer and some munchies, he settled in for the evening. The little dog hopped up and settled next to him, resting her head on his thigh. Absent-mindedly he scratched at her ears, she cuddled against him and rolled over so he was rubbing her chest and tummy.

He looked down at her.

"You are not staying. I'm not dumping you out in street, but I'm not keeping you, either."

She grinned and licked his hand.

A couple of hours later, he was settling in bed for the night. The dog had been walked and her bed was right next to his.

He sighed, as he felt the bed shift when she jumped up.

Not saying a word, he found her and deposited her back in her bed.

Snuggling back under his covers, he once more felt her jump up and settle at the foot of the bed.

He gave up. "Fine, ya can sleep on the bed so long as you stick to your side."

Smiling to himself, he settled in for the night. It was nice having company. "Tanner, forget it, you are not keeping that dog." He reminded himself aloud. He heard a tail thumping softly against the covers.

Vin answered the knock on his door, and the white creature bouncing in front of it, just in case he hadn't heard the knock.

"Hey, Ezra, appreciate your picking me up for work."

"Glad to be of assistance," Ezra said, entering and blinking at the animal.

"I see you are still in possession of your recent humanitarian effort," he reached down and petted her.

She rolled over for a tummy rub.

"Two weeks and no one's claimed her. Gotta figure out what to do next, cause she's not staying."

Ezra smirked as he looked at the toys spread throughout the neat but sparse apartment. "I would say that Cleopatra has decided otherwise."

Vin blinked at him. "Cleopatra?"

"She is obviously the queen, and you, sir, are in denial."

Vin groaned and pushed Ezra out of the door ahead of him.

As they went down the stairs (the elevator was still out) Vin began making a mental list of the things he would need to buy. The doggie things he had at the moment were only on loan. Well, he had kept his promise to Cleo; he had found the dog a nice home. His.

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