This is the fourth time Dwight. It was my fault you got out. I heard the trash truck coming and ran out the front door to deposit one more bag in the can before pick up. The door must not have latched. I heard the hinges creak as a wind gust blew it open. I turned to the noise only to see you loping across the yard. The rich mixed scents of the trash truck didn’t cause you pause. Head down, you took off with a sense of purpose. Freedom. You crossed the pedestrian bridge cut through to an adjoining neighborhood. You are too quick for me to catch on foot. I called your name. You didn’t look back. Not even for the hot dog treat command, “Dwight come.”
I grabbed my cell phone, car keys, your leash and harness. I said a prayer for you as I began my driving search. It’s hard to find a hound from a car. Hounds don’t follow road maps. Their nose is their GPS as they chase scents through backyards, side yards and creeks. I searched between houses. I followed the paths we take when we walk. It was mid morning so there wasn’t much traffic in the suburbs. I drove slowly, trying to swallow a speed bump sized lump in my throat. Why won’t you stay home? What if you really are lost this time? I called John at work. I cried as I explained how you got out. He reminds me that you are microchipped and you have your id tag on your collar. “Someone will call,” he says. I did one more loop of the neighborhood, then headed back home, deciding to wait there, hopeful for your return. I was ruminating on the creak of the front door, the visual of you running, when my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number. I blew out a held breath before answering. A man’s voice said, “I have your dog.”
My shoulders relaxed. I slowed the car and pulled to the side of the road. The caller told me his location. I knew exactly where it was. You were about 3 miles from home Dwight. The man says he is a volunteer at an animal shelter and keeps ropes, leashes and collars in his car. He says he found you zigzagging from one side of the street to the other before catching you. I pictured him lassoing you like a wayward calf. Roping those long legs to stop the run. He claims you came right to him.
My grip on the steering wheel softened as I pulled back onto the road. I turned into the neighborhood and saw you with him standing on the side of the street. Handsome, free Dwight. Long legs, floppy ears, beautiful eyes staring into the distance. My boy. Relieved, I hopped out of the car. I called your name. You didn’t move. There was no tail wag. I explained your tracheal injury to your rescuer as I donned your harness. You stood aloof as I hugged your chest to snap the harness in place. I clipped on the leash and led you the back of the car. You made no effort to get in.
This stranger must have thought you have a miserable life with us Dwight, since you showed no eagerness to see me or get in the car. I wanted to tell him you have a fenced in yard, two dog beds, a deer antler and bully sticks. You get nitrate free, all beef hotdogs for treats, you go on 3-5 mile walks every day, and you are brushed and petted as much as you allow. Instead, I tried to coax you into the car. He watched, as we did our car loading dance. You stood, aloof, having none of it. I got beside you, bent down and picked up your front legs, placing your paws on the back bumper. Then I put one arm under your belly, and one on your backside. I lifted and pushed, causing you to move your front paws over the threshold. I call it the accordion dance. Once in, you stood, matter-of-fact, gazing out the window. I thanked the gentleman again, promising to make a donation to the animal shelter where he volunteers.
D Dog. D Man. Dwight. I wish you could tell me what you want. What you need from us. This running away and aloofness is discouraging. But I will persevere. I will walk you more. Train with you more. Talk to you more. Your job is to allow me the opportunity to spoil you. Together, we can make a success story. Thanks for allowing me in your life, Dwight.