Well, ok – not the kind we set out to make, but any time we can save an animal from an uncertain or unwanted fate, it’s a good day.
Driving back to Pets HQ I spotted a greyhound trotting (ok, more like galloping) across a busy, six-way intersection. Ok, I thought, this can’t be good. The dog had a collar and tags – not to mention a spiffy bandana – and I made the very first legal U-turn.
I was a little worried about being able to navigate traffic before the wayward dog disappeared down a side street or met an unfriendly fender. But as I turned the corner, I saw him taking a little nature break at the foot of a large pole. Taking the first right turn I could make, I pulled over, turned on my four-way flashers and got out of the car. Seeing me approach, the dog didn’t bolt and seemed relatively friendly. Just in case, I kept on my gloves, and was able to walk right over and grab his collar. Was I ever relieved; no doubt who would be on the losing end of a run-down between me and a greyhound!
The dog had a few different tags, including one for a greyhound rescue and another with the owner’s name and phone number. Holding onto the collar, with my other hand I opened the car door and fumbled for my phone and called the owner’s number. The gentleman on the other end was panicked, not knowing at first who I was; he had just called the police to report that his dog got out of the house. I assured him I had the dog, he was safe, and told him where we were waiting. Five minutes, he told me. I was hoping the dog would stay calm while we passed the time. His ears were flat back and his tail was tucked.
It’s one of those cold, Northeast winter days. Mid-thirties, a cold rain and wind off the ocean. Bone chilling, especially for a skinny greyhound who is now just standing around, and a little fearful to boot. I tried to get him to hop into my car to stay warm, but he would have none of it. So I got down close to him, one hand always on the collar loop, and pet him vigorously.
A few minutes later a city truck pulled over: animal control. They got a call from the police and were looking for the dog. Two very nice guys got out and told me I could leave, but I stayed on. We all chatted for another minute or two until I spotted a guy with an empty leash and knew we had our man! He was almost speechless: three people standing in the cold, winter rain, petting his adventurous greyhound.
The animal control guys told him they were supposed to write him a ticket for a loose dog, but weren’t going to since the dog escaped the house (I wondered if I wasn’t there, and wasn’t the one to first find the dog, if they’d ticket him anyway). They took off.
The dog’s owner was truly gratified. I asked about some scars on the dog’s back; turns out they were remnants from years of being caged. You see, in this dog’s earlier life he was a racing dog. When he wasn’t running or training, he was kept in a too-small cage. The man adopted him from a rescue about a year ago.
Finally I saw the dog’s tail wag again, his brief, but uncertain adventure over and a warm home awaiting his return.