My daughter started a new job in a new career yesterday. We were close to her new office after a doctor’s appointment so we offered to meet her and treat her to a celebratory dinner. My wife rode with her on the way back and they were following me on our way home, about 25 miles to the west.
A few miles down busy Interstate 85 I saw something in the road. I had a lot of glare on my dirty windshield, not an ideal situation in the late afternoon driving west, but I soon focused on the object. It was a dog standing in the middle of the lane. A car was parked nearby and a woman seemed to be chasing the dog. I managed to change lanes but was concerned about traffic, speed, and my followers so I continued on. I reasoned that it was likely the woman’s dog and she’d get him.
Okay, I didn’t have the best reaction. But in a few moments, I realized I didn’t see my daughter’s car behind me anymore. I called both her and my wife. No answer. I was concerned that maybe they had hit the little dog. The bad thing about the Interstate highway is that there is no easy way to return. Finally, my wife called me back. They had stopped.
The woman I saw had, in fact, coaxed the dog out of the roadway and was holding it, but she lamented to them that she was just passing through and didn’t know what to do with him.
“That’s okay,” my daughter told her. “We’ll take him.”
He turned out to be a scared, but very sweet, Rat Terrier. He had no collar so they stopped on the way home and bought one. I had already started scouting out the local “lost and found pet” Facebook pages after I got home. I was just waiting for him to get to the house so I could snap a picture.
He was found about twenty miles from our house, along the county line between Orange County and Durham County. We live in Orange County but along the opposite county line. There is a lot of cross-county interaction; many people commute to Chapel Hill and Durham (and even Raleigh), so I knew it would be better if I could cast a wide net. There are local Facebook pages for our town and for Orange county, so I started there. The county to the west, Alamance, has a lost and found pet page, I posted there too. Orange County has a lost and found pet page as well, so I posted there. I had to join and wait for approval at both of those last two. I knew there were two motels within a mile of the spot where he had been picked up, so I called and left my number, in case any guest reported a missing dog.
Okay, I felt guilty that I didn’t stop, but now I was doing what I do best: I was writing and using the heck out of Facebook. I had also taken a few minutes to get to know this little guy. We kept him isolated from our dog and cats, which I knew was important from some past experience in taking in other strays. He really was a sweetheart but we didn’t know his health history. In the case of a stray, you really should observe the new animal for a few days. We likely had nothing to worry about, this dog was clean and well-groomed. His claws were impeccably trimmed and polished. I decided to check something else.
“Sit!” … he sat and lowered his ears and looked soulfully up at me. Yeah, this was somebody’s love bug.
I kept checking the posts. In minutes there were already leads. The shares continued. He got to the house at about 8PM. At about 11 I got a call. It was a woman whose neighbor had seen the pictures on one of the Facebook shares. After a brief exchange, I was pretty sure this was legit.
I told her I could bring him by in the morning. No way, she said, she was getting him right away! She said his name was Oso. I had taken to calling him Roadie, because he had been in the middle of the road when I first saw him.
Of course, I wanted some verification. As a first step, I went up and called him by name.
His ears perked up in recognition, sort of like, “he knows my name!” He ran to me and immediately rolled over. Okay, step 1 complete.
The lady brought a folder with all the papers to verify. She also showed me pictures on her phone … perhaps hundreds of photos of him. Yeah, I was convinced. He also obviously missed his Mommie very much … there was no questioning his own recognition of her.
So yes, I felt guilty I didn’t stop. But like I said, I had a good backup. And I knew how to use my strengths to help make things right. Pets get away sometimes, no matter what you do. He’s just a sweet and very much loved pup who managed to rush out the door. My dog does that every now and then. She’s a beagle mix who lets her beagleness overtake her desire to be an obedient dog on occasion. It happens.
I have a confession: we really liked him and almost hoped he wouldn’t be reunited. One wonders how people choose not to return found pets, but I can see how the temptation might be strong. One owes it to these much-loved pets to fight that temptation and find their owners!
Anyway, Oso’s adventure had a happy ending.
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina. More information on his work can be found at http://thefensk.com