I HAD A TWO-HOUR LUNCH ADVENTURE yesterday, with 90 “Active” minutes and four-and-a-half miles on foot. That’s according to my Fitbit wristband.
Buddy the Dog had just finished taking me for a walk on his favorite Scratch and Sniff trail in the wooded park.
Standing there between us and home was a pair of chocolate labs, a bit gray around the whiskers – like Buddy. They looked about Buddy’s age, somewhere around five years old.
Friendly guys, they ambled over and sniffed Buddy’s descendent.
Too friendly for Buddy.
He snipped at them, apparently insisting on his canine right to personal space with his personal stuff.
I reached out my hand to let them sniff something a little less personal.
Clearly they were happy dogs, well cared for.
We have a leash law here in the city. So I knew they had gotten loose somehow. I wanted to secure them, but I didn’t have an extra leash. And I wasn’t going to hook them up with Buddy who, as I said, wanted space.
“Siri, call Animal Control”
I followed them at a distance. And I called 911, since Siri doesn’t seem to know how to find Animal Control.
As it turns out, Animal Control must be very busy. I came to that conclusion about half an hour into trailing the dogs.
Actually, by that time, it was just one dog: Remington.
From the walking trail, the pair of dogs turned west toward one of the main roads. When they came to that busy main road, Remington turned south and his brother turned north.
Buddy and I turned south as well.
Buddy and I were both getting tired, and it didn’t seem like Animal Control was ever coming. So I called my wife. She had worked a 12-hour shift the night before and she would work a 12-hour shift again this night, and the next. So I didn’t expect her to answer the phone while she was sleeping. But she did.
I told her about my situation and that I needed a couple of leashes.
I attribute the fact that she showed up driving our Prius while wearing only a nightgown and underwear to the fact that she was sleep deprived. Or hot.
Either way, she brought the leashes.
Buddy was pretty wiped out by then. He lumbered up into the backseat of the car. I asked Linda to stay close.
I chased Remington for about another mile. I could tell he was exhausted. But he would not let me close enough to latch on to him.
Then it occurred to me. He might not be an Amish dog.
So I took off my straw Amish hat that I bought in Charm, Ohio. I sat it on the ground.
That did the trick. He was an English dog.
“You have reached Verizon”
There were two phone numbers on his dog tag. I called them both. Both welcomed me to Verizon but told me the number I dialed was not a working number.
So I called my wife. I told her I would walk Remington home and I asked her to call Animal Control. She called me back and said they would meet us at the house.
It was pretty tough getting Remington back. Not because he was resistant. He was exhausted, thirsty, and limping a little bit. So we took it slowly.
Animal Control was waiting for us. I asked the lady officer if I could give Remington some water before she took him away. She said that would be a good idea since she had another stop to make.
Remington jumped happily up into the box, relieved to be resting at last.
I told Animal Control that I was going to get in my van and go look for Remington’s brother. She said that was fine.
I drove west to the main street. Then north half a mile. Then east to the first main through street, turning into each residential street along the way.
“He’s the one”
About 10 minutes later I came to a street where the Animal Control officer was parked behind another car. Standing outside with the officer was another woman with what looked like her daughter. I stopped my van and asked, “Did they catch his brother?”
The young woman, I presume Remington’s owner, said, “Yes, thank you.”
The Animal Control officer was on the phone with someone else, but she interrupted her conversation long enough to tell the lady that I was the one who found Remington.
“Oh, thank you so much,” she said. “It was so sweet.”
I drove home, soaked in sweat.
It may not come as a surprise to some of my readers who think I’m full of the Bible, but it certainly came as a surprise to me: the first thing I thought about as I drove away from that conversation is the story Jesus told about the shepherd who went looking for his lost sheep. It’s in Luke 15:1-7.
Jesus talked about how happy the shepherd was when he found his sheep. In the story, the shepherd represented God, and the sheep represented spiritually lost people.
I know how happy I was to snatch Remington away from that traffic, and how happy I was to hear that his brother had been found safe, too.
I can only imagine how happy Remington’s family was to get their dogs back safely.
When I was chasing Remington up and down those streets, through yards, and across traffic, joggers passed me. Bicycle riders, too. Only God knows how many cars kept driving when they saw me chasing the dog with two leashes in my hand.
If this story were a parable, I’m not sure what the point would be unless it’s something like this: stay alert to the lost around you and to the people trying to help keep them safe.
If you are not going to lend a hand, get the heck out of their way – and by all means necessary, don’t run over them.
We want a happy ending.
God made us that way.
Blog subscribers who win books this week
- Carole Schaefer
- Micahel Booze
I give away free books each week. It’s normally to randomly selected subscribers to my free blog and quarterly newsletter. But this time I picked two of the most recent subscribers. I’ll probably pick from the newbies for the next several weeks.
The winners will get the option of choosing my new release: A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible – among about half a dozen other titles.