So I went running on the trail on Friday, as I usually do. About halfway through, as I was heading home, a little beagle came trotting up to me. The trail is pretty well frequented by walkers, runners, and dogs alike, so I didn’t think much of it. I expected to see its owner sauntering down the trail fairly soon afterwards. As I ran, the dog ran beside me. He was faster than me, though (most living, moving things are), so he’d get ahead of me, stop to sniff the grass while I caught up, and then he’d run with me again. It was nice to have some company. It made the run a little less monotonous. (The trail is an awesome place to run because it’s cool and shaded, but it’s also really boring because the only things to look at are trees and squirrels.) But, the owner of the dog was nowhere to be seen. I thought maybe he belonged to someone who lived in one of the houses right along the trail, and he’d just head home when we got close to it. We finally got to the road, though, and he was still with me. Hmm. Well, I figured he’d run home soon enough. I kept heading home, and at this point I was on regular roads. The dog proved himself to be, as the owner later said, “traffic-stupid.” He was wandering in the middle of the road in front of all the cars. He nearly got run over several times. I was like, great, this dog is going to get killed because he followed me home. And since I happened to be walking by at the same time, people kept looking at me like, “Put your dog on a leash, woman!” Once we were out of the higher-traffic areas, I grabbed his collar and looked to see if there was an address on it so I could take him home. There was – but I didn’t even recognize it. That’s not a good sign. There was a phone number, though. My parents were travelling that day, and when they’re away I always take my cell phone with me when I go running. Thankfully I had it so I could call the owner. A woman answered, and I was like, “Hi, I’m calling about your dog Bailey?” Her response: “Again?!” Apparently he’s done this before. I gave her directions to my house so she could come pick him up, and she said she’d be there in 5 minutes. At this point I was like, okay, now I can’t lose this dog. He didn’t have a leash or anything, though, so I tried hanging onto his collar as we walked, but I just ended up choking him. I was like, well, he’s followed me this far, so I doubt he’s going to run away now. I kept heading towards my house, and he wandered through people’s lawns, peed on their mailboxes, and generally made me look like a bad dog-owner. At one point he was sniffing around someone’s lawn when a huge chocolate lab came bounding up the street, barking his head off like he’s about to tear Bailey to bits. His owner was kind of freaking out, too, and trying to call him back. I’m thinking, great, first I almost get this dog run over, and now this lab is going to rip him apart. Thankfully they met up and sniffed each other, and that was about it. Whoo. I keep walking. Bailey keeps following. I turned into my lawn and called him, but he didn’t respond. He kept walking. Agh. So I walk behind him and try to catch up, but every time I get close he runs farther away. I didn’t want to run because I figured I’d just end up chasing him. He turned into someone’s driveway and wandered into their backyard. I’m like, okay, 1) I almost get this dog run over, 2) I almost get him torn to shreds, 3) I trespass trying to catch him and get myself shot. Good plan. I still could not catch him, and he wouldn’t come to me when I called him. Finally he headed back down the driveway, and while he was on one side of the car and I was on the other, I bolted forward while he couldn’t see me and was able to catch him. Whew. …Now what? I had no leash or anything to put him on, so I figured I’d just have to carry him. Great. 40–pound dog, in my arms. I pick him up, thankfully he doesn’t try to bite me…and then I drop my cell phone. sigh. I have to put him back down, pick up my phone, then pick him up again. I go walking down the street like this, and this old hick Fredneck guy comes driving along really slowly, looking at me. He starts talking to me out his window. “He’s not hurt, is he?” “No, he just ran away. I called the owner.” He must have missed that part, though, because then he chastised me, “Ya otta keep’m tahd up!” I’m like, “He’s not my dog! I called the owner!” Then he just starts babbling. “Ahh yeah, I have a dog, too. He’s a blahblahblah mix, and I keep’m tahd up ‘cuz I can afford to have’m runnin’ off and blahblahblah…” This is all while he’s driving, talking out his window, and I’m carrying this big dog. Man. Finally he drives off, I head back down my street, and see from afar that the owner is standing at my door, trying to figure out why no one is answering the door. I’m like, great, by the time I get there she’s going to have driven off and I’ll be stuck with this stupid dog. Thankfully when I got there she was just about to go around the back of the house to see if anyone was there. I called her over, and handed Bailey off to her. She thanked me over and over, and I tried to brush the dog hair off of my clothes. I HATE animal hair on my clothes. It was worth it to get him back to his owner, though. But…agh, dog hair! As Charlie says, no good deed goes unpunished.
Just a little excitement to spice up my day. June 12, 2006