This is Stella. She was the first wayward dog that I chased down (and reunited with her owners) this summer. It was an unbearably hot morning, and as I stepped out onto my back porch I caught sight of a brindle blur loping down the jogging trail across the street. I darted.
Once I hit the road, I realized a bicyclist was following the dog. “Oh! She’s yours?” I shouted sheepishly. “No,” the woman replied. “I just can’t catch her.”
So I tried.
The dog chase was pretty typical: I darted one way; the dog darted another. She’d whiz by me, and my fingers would just graze her shoulder. This went on for three or four minutes. Then, she ran to our front door and cast a pleading eye back at me. I charged! Scared, the dog dashed off again, but just to the edge of the yard.
It was 90 degrees. Her tongue was practically dragging on the ground. I tricked her into my possession with a dish of water.
Fortunately, Stella’s owners are responsible enough to tag their dog. Name, phone number, address, expired rabies license. It’s all there. When I couldn’t reach them on the phone, Stella and I hoofed it to the address (only about six blocks from my house). As I returned her, I sorta got the vibe that she runs off all the time.
So, I wasn’t too surprised this morning when I glimpsed a familar figure soliciting two obviously disinterested joggers on the trail for a play session. Unlike the bicyclist from before, these ladies didn’t even feign concern over what was obviously somebody’s lost pet. This time, I grabbed Zach’s dogcatching tool — our golden retriever Luke — and dashed down the trail. Stella greeted us like old friends.