As y'all may know, my DH and I "adopted" a dog around Xmas who we later found out belonged to a neighbor. As it stands now we sort of have joint custody---we feed him and have been taking care of his veterinary needs, but he spends time over at the neighbor's house as well. It is not an ideal situation but the best we could negotiate with this neighbor. Then, last month, my DH brought home a boxer puppy (Violet) and we've been going through the usual stresses associated with having a puppy after being primarily cat folks (I should say, it has been stressful for me, not so much for my DH who has puppy experience). The stress has eased some since we had our backyard fenced in, since now I can just let her outside for pottying and don't have to supervise her, which was difficult as I work at night and have to sleep during the day. OK. During the past few weeks, a stray (we assume) female dog has been showing up at our house. She has slept in Violet's dog house and we have been feeding her. She looks like she has given birth recently--her teats are swollen, but we assume her puppies are no longer with her since she stays at our house for extended periods of time--I would think she wouldn't leave her puppies for very long if they were still around. In fact she has pretty much moved into our backyard (she squeezes in under the fence). She is very shy and submissive, but sweet, and great company for Violet, who adores her. We picked A LOT of ticks off her--she lay so still for this and seemed to feel a lot of relief afterwards, it was really touching. My DH got some Frontline for her when he took Violet in for her checkup yesterday. The vet says she doesn't want to prescribe any other meds for her (the stray, whom we are calling Sadie) until we bring her in, which makes sense. Judging from the number of ticks on her we think she's been living rough for a while--she doesn't appear emaciated but she does look sort of uncared-for. But we live in the country and frankly it seems like the country folk around here are neglectful of their pets, yet strangely possessive of them at the same time. Therein lies the issue--I feel for this dog, she is a real sweetheart and just gives off the vibe that she hasn't been taken care of and could really blossom in a loving home, which we are willing to provide. But I am reluctant to vet her and get all emotionally attached only to have some redneck come knocking at our door wanting his dog back, KWIM? We'd love to get her spayed, too, but I can imagine the uproar that might cause. We have discussed putting up fliers but, as with our Christmas dog, we feel she's been neglected (if not actually abused--she's VERY shy) and returning her to her "rightful" owner may not be what's best for her. I think we're gonna go ahead and take her to the vet for a once-over but I'm just afraid she's gonna need some extensive therapies such as antibiotics or heartworm treatment, and that we'll get started with all that only to have some doofus show up and take her away. She does not have a collar on BTW and as I said seems to have moved in. What would you do?