Friday, January 27, 2006

my weekend is MADE!

Earlier this week, I was exercising my dogs at the school behind my house. There are about six fields and a chain link fence goes around all of the fields. At the bottom of these fields are all these thick woods and blackberry bushes (nature preserve).

So, anyway, I'm strolling along with my pooches on Monday afternoon around 3:30 and this man is on the other side of the fence at the top of the fields. He's in his seventies and calls me over. So I go over (not too close in case he wants to abduct and kill me), but once I get close, he asks me if I'd seen a white dog. I said I hadn't, and he proceeds to tell me that his dog Angel has been missing for five days.

He'd taken her to the vet down the street and she'd bolted as soon as he opened the door (she's afraid of the vet) and had been gone ever since. The seventy-three year old guy had been looking for her for TEN hours a day for five days. They'd gotten three sightings (including one at the school) but she hadn't been around anymore when he'd arrived. So he's all worried and upset and telling me how he's sure she must be so hungry and how he has put up flyers at all the vets. So he gives me a flyer and there's a photo of "Angel" and she's on what is clearly his bed, so this dog is LOVED. So I take the flyer and shove it in my pocket and continue on my way, wishing and wishing that I could find this poor hungry dog for this seventy-year old man spending ten hours a day searching her.

So, the week goes by and I'm thinking (hoping and hoping) they must have found this dog by now, but I kept looking whenever I was at the fields.

So, today, I had a business lunch, and then played tennis and then worked out, and by the time I got in the car to come home it was so late that I decide the dogs weren't getting their romp in the field this afternoon. I simply had to get work done.

But by the time I got near my house, I decided I'd exercise them. Just ten minutes.

So I drove straight to the school and hit tennis balls for them just at the top of the field. So after about twenty minutes, I decided it was time to go, so I turned and was heading back to my car. I took one last scan around the field and suddenly saw this white blur waaaaay far away at the bottom of the field (remember, this is like three fields away). So I stare at it, trying to see what it was. Finally, I decide that it's definitely got four legs. But lots of owners walk their dogs here, so I'm looking to see if I can see a person.

I can't.

So I sprint to my car for a leash and then turn and run all the way down the fields (I'm not a runner so I was near to passing out by the time I got down there). By the time I got down there, she was gone, and I was pretty sure she'd actually been on a hill behind the school fields that went into the woods.

But as I was running down the field, I saw a man heading up that field where I'd seen the dog (he was strolling along slowly, so I knew he wasn't the owner of the missing dog b/c he was too relaxed), so I wondered if maybe the guy owned this white dog and they were heading off for a stroll in the woods.

Either way, I wasn't going to go off in the woods where some strange guy was, so I decided to just walk along the bottom of the field, where a chain link fence separates the field from the woods. So I'm walking along and then all of a sudden, I SEE THE DOG! She's right on the other side of the fence and I know it's her!!!! So I call her name and she stops and stares at me.

So I call her again, and she looks at me.

Then she turns around and RUNS AWAY!


I can't go after her because the fence is in the way, so I sprint along the fence to where it ends and run across this bridge and then down the boardwalk that goes through the wooded area. So I'm calling her and calling her and she's not coming. But I KNOW she's in there.

So I turn around and run/walk all the way back to my car (I'm sweating buckets by this point and my chest about to explode because I am NOT a runner). So I throw the dogs in and drive back to my house, rush inside, throw my coat on the floor as I vault up the steps to my bedroom where I'd left the flyer with the phone numbers on it. I have to call them and get them to the field before the dog leaves. So I get to my dresser, and THE FLYER'S NOT THERE!

I search the trash can in case my dh tossed it, I look under the dresser, I look everywhere and it's GONE! I can't believe I was so close to the dog and can't do ANYTHING!

Then I remember that he said he'd posted it at the local vets, so I call my vet. I'm frantically telling them that I saw this lost dog and I couldn't get her and I think the flyer might be there. So the receptionist runs out to the reception area, finds the flyer and reads me the phone numbers.

So, I call the first number and NO ONE IS THERE! So I leave a detailed message and my phone number.

Then I call the second number and NO ONE IS THERE! So I leave another detailed message and my phone number.

Then I sit down at my computer, thinking of this poor dog that has been lost for NINE days and this poor seventy-three year old man out there searching for her ten hours a day and my heart is breaking because I had come SO close and I'd failed. I felt horrible!

Then ten minutes ago, the phone rings.

It's the owner.

He told me he'd gotten my message, raced over there and went down the boardwalk calling her name. Then suddenly he heard her barking!!!! But she was stuck in the thick woods and blackberry bushes and couldn’t get to him! So, she’s barking like crazy, desperate for him to come get her, but he couldn’t reach her, so he had to LEAVE her there and go back down the boardwalk and over the bridge and along the fence that I'd been walking beside when I saw her.

And he called her and she came racing over to the fence, barking like crazy for him! She was right there, on the other side of the fence. But he couldn't get over the fence!

So he went along the fence, searching for a way over, and then he found this tree that had fallen over the fence, so this 73 year old man crawled along this tree trunk to get over the fence. He did it, and got to his dog! Then they had to find their way out of the woods, but they did and now they are both home! He said he was so shaken up by finding her that he could barely think!
He said today he'd finally started thinking that it was time to give up. She'd been loose in a high-traffic area for NINE days. He said if it wasn't for my call, they wouldn't have gone back. They would have given up. But instead, she's home and he's happy and everything is perfect.


So, this is my feel-good story for the week!


At 6:52 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

This is such an AWESOME story, Steph. I love a happy-ending animal story.

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Wendy Warren said...

Oh, my gosh! I am breathless. Felt like I was running with you.

That is a beautiful story. That man will bless you every day for the rest of his life.

And you are a good person.

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Amanda Ashby said...

That's such a lovely story and now I bet the man feels like he has two angels in his life.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger MaryF said...

You're a hero!!! That is so cool!

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Heather Davis Koenig said...

Wow, Stephanie.

That poor man must be soooo relieved! It's amazing how much you can love a dog, isn't it? Thank goodness there was a happy ending!

At 9:35 AM, Blogger TJBrown said...

Stephanie, that is so awesome. Words can't even describe...

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

What a wonderful, wonderful story. Makes me want to cry. Wow, Steph, that was sooo great of you to go out of your way like that. So happy for the old man and his dog...

At 6:32 PM, Blogger Stephanie Rowe said...

Thanks for all the comments! I'm so glad you all were able to share the joy! It was amazing! His wife called me later that night and talked to me for twenty minutes, telling me how she'd been searching from 11pm-2am every single night, because that's when her voice carried the most. Their joy at having their beloved dog back was the most amazing thing.


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