In Which I Run More Than I Am Used To, and Rescue a Dog

I had another post planned for today, but this story was too good not to share. A little bit of Memorial Day heroism, courtesy of yours truly…

The Setup

My mother and I were headed out to run errands. We were walking down the sidewalk a couple blocks from our apartment when all of a sudden, a small white schnauzer bolted between us and continued down the street. I mean, this dog was sprinting. We looked around, but we couldn’t see an owner, or anyone who seemed at all concerned…

The dog was about a block ahead of us, when it veered off to the left and ran across the street. My mother and I both panicked — luckily the dog was not hit by a car, and instead reversed direction and started running back up Central Park West on the park side. At this point it was obvious that no one was going after this dog, and I was really worried, so we crossed the street after her.

I could see the dog in the park, running up a hill. At this point we did see one man sort of following her; he said she was his dog. He couldn’t keep up with her, though. I handed my bag off to my mom and ran after her.

The escapee herself

The Escapee Herself

The Chase

What followed was a wild chase along the paths, through the woods, up and down and all around the hill. The first time I got close I called out to her (“Here, puppy puppy!”) but she just took off.

Some helpful parkgoers pointed out the way she had run, and I started following. She ran back through the woods, to the original path she had been on. At this point she stopped to sniff some bushes. I slowed down, hoping to grab her collar — at the last moment she turned, spotted me, and took off back down the hill.

We broked out of the woods down by the lake, and she started running toward the bridge. I shouted out for people to help me stop the dog; a lot of people tried, but she shied away, and turned to go back up the hill on a different path.

At this point I was really tired and out of breath, and this dog was running uphill. I followed for a while, but the dog turned and ran into the woods, and I wasn’t close enough to see which way she’d gone. I tried one path (the wrong one) and found nothing.

At this point, I had returned to the crest of the hill. This was an open area, and very popular with parkgoers. This dog seemed to be very skittish, so I didn’t think she would have run toward them, but I really had no idea where she had gone.

I concluded that I’d been defeated. The dog was somewhere in the woods, but I had no idea where, and at this point I didn’t think I had any hope of catching her. I started walking back toward the park entrance.

The Capture

It turns out I wasn’t the only one who was tired.

On the way back, I passed a family that I had run past on my original sprint. They were waving frantically at me. “Your dog’s here! Your dog’s in the woods!” (She wasn’t my dog, but I didn’t think stopping to explain that would be the best idea).

Sure enough, that little schnauzer was lying in the woods just off the path, panting her little pink tongue off. I approached slowly, trying not to make eye contact, and keeping up a stream of reassuring noise. At this point the dog was just too tired to run from me, though. She sniffed a bit at my hand, and didn’t snap or try to bolt as I picked her up. (She didn’t help, though. Every tried to pick up a dead weight? Ouch.)

So carrying the little escapee, I started back toward the park entrance.

The Denoument

I reunited with my mother, but by this point the “owner” had disappeared. (We had our doubts, since he didn’t seem particularly upset, nor particularly motivated to catch her again…)

We took her back to my apartment building, where my dad met us in the lobby with a leash. Thus assured she couldn’t bolt again, I put her down. My arms were very happy with this development.

Now we were at something of an impasse. We didn’t know where the owner was, if that man was even the owner; the dog had a collar but no tags; the nearby veterinary office was closed for the holiday so we couldn’t take her in to scan for a chip.

Out of options, we decided to try to let the dog lead the way home. She was definitely interested in walking in a particular direction (north), so we set off.

On the way, we ran into the man from earlier and got the whole story: Apparently the dog’s owner (his boss) was away for the day (or possibly the weekend), and he was taking care of her. She had been in the basement. He didn’t know, and when he opened the door to take the trash out, the dog bolted.

When we got to the building (the dog definitely knew where we were going, she kept pulling on the leash and knew what turns to make) and went into the basement (it opens to the outside), sure enough, there was a bowl of dog food and a bowl of water. So we dropped off the little girl, reclaimed our leash, and went back to our errands.

The End

I’m glad we found the dog and got her home, though I’m not sure how I feel about the dog being in the basement. Still, she was well groomed (even had little bows behind her ears) and seemed to be well fed (my arms are still sore from carrying her!).

And I got in my excercise for the day (…for the week) – cardio/endurance and weighlifting both.

It’s a story that could have ended very badly, and didn’t. That’s something.

Now You

Any heroic tales of derring-do to share? What’s the most unusual way you’ve ever spent Memorial Day?

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