Jul 26 2014
This was kinda neat, so I thought I’d get it down before I forgot it.
Elaine and I had to grab our dog Pepper and head out in the car because someone was coming to see the house we are selling. As we drove down the very busy, 4 lane Carmel Valley Rd. we saw a medium sized dog loping down Black Mountain Dr. and turn onto Carmel Valley. She was on the sidewalk, but all by herself and looked like she could dart out into traffic at any time. I was sick of seeing dead dogs by the road so, even though I’m really not a dog person, I asked Elaine to pull over and let me see if I could do anything.
I grabbed Pepper’s leash and walked back toward the dog, and she disappeared up into the bushes next to the sidewalk. I approached where I’d seen her go in and found her plopped up under a bush, panting like crazy. It was a very hot day and she had been moving pretty quickly, so I think she was exhausted. She also looked older once I could get this close to her. I don’t know much about dogs (Pepper and I co-exist and that’s about it, he is a mama’s boy), so I was chicken to put my hands too close to her collar. I could see tags, so I was hopeful to get a name and number. I called Elaine, who was still up the street in the car with Pepper, and asked her to get some water and I’d see if I could make friends with this scary beast.
I also called Animal Control. They said they had no one available, but would put the dog on the list and have someone come look in the area when they could. I sat and talked to the dog and waited for Elaine to come back with the water. My phone rang and it was my buddy Mike wanting to know why I was sitting on the sidewalk talking to a bush on the side of the road. I told him I like it there. Elaine came back with a big bottle of water and a bowl, then took the car and Pepper back down the street to not spook the dog. I filled the bowl and edged my way toward her slavering jaws… ok, not really slavering… She actually would just stop panting and kind of hold her breath when I got close. She let me put the water right under her nose, and after a couple minutes she started lapping it up and quickly drained the bowl.
I refilled the bowl and got the courage up to sneak my phone in to see if I could shoot a picture of the tags…
But it was too blurry. I finally got the nerve up to scritch her on the head, and while she didn’t seem to like it, she didn’t snap at me which is good because I like all my fingers. I eventually got to her collar and tags and rolled them around to read a name, “Ohana”, and a phone number! Cool!!! This would be over soon and I could get a friggin taco. I was hungry.
So I called the number and get… a fast busy signal! Over and frickin over again! Damn it. The other tag had a dog license number, so I called Animal Control again, told them the story so far, and they gave me another number to call. Cool! Good deed almost done, right? RIGHT? “I’m sorry, this user is not receiving calls at this time.” What does that even mean? Someone went to all the trouble of cutting a dog loose AND canceling all of their phone lines? WHILE LEAVING THE NUMBER ON THE DOG?!? My mind was racing and I was getting pissed. Did I tell you I was hungry?
Since I was delirious with hunger and sick of sitting on the sidewalk, I tried hooking up the leash with my left hand, thinking that losing that one would impact my life less. She was cool with this and came out from under the bushes and walked along beside me for a bit. Then she stopped dead and wouldn’t go a step. I pulled on the leash because I wanted to walk up the block and tell Elaine what was going on, but this dog was having none of that. As an experienced technical diagnostician, I tried walking the other direction to see what those results would be and VOILA! she had no problem going that direction. All of a sudden THIS WAS AN ADVENTURE GAME!!!
I called Elaine and said that I think Ohana might have some sense of the neighborhood, so I was gonna see where she’d let us go. So we headed back toward Black Mountain Drive, another really busy street. Ohana was anxious to get across but impatiently allowed me to hit the crosswalk button and wait a bit til it was safe. We progressed up Black Mountain until the next corner and I did the same trial and error to see where she’d go, and we went left on Sundance. I was getting excited now and we started walking faster up the little hill. Well I did, Ohana was showing her age and slowed down a bit on the hill and at the next corner. We did the Magic Compass moves again and she wanted to cross the street. A few times as I was walking and saw someone I’d ask if they knew this dog, but no luck…
We continued down the street, house after house, looking for people to ask about her, when BAM! she stops dead again and won’t keep going. We’re in front of a bluish house with no indication of anyone home. Just to test the Magic Compass idea, I walk up the driveway and Ohana is happy go that way. Oh great, now I have to see this through and go around to the front door, all the while wondering what the hell I’m going to say and how to NOT make this look like some sort of weird con game. I heard a TV as I walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. Nothing…. I waited what seemed like 5 minutes and went to ring it again and heard “Ohana?” come from over the back fence.
I wondered if Ohana normally rang the bell and what the heck was going on here (remember… still hungry) when the door opened and a lady stood there. I said “Yep, I found Ohana out by the traffic.” She thanked me and was very happy to see her. She’d been looking around the house for her and couldn’t find her. I told her that I’d called the number on her collar and the woman said that she was in the middle of moving and all her numbers were disconnected. At this point I kinda didn’t care, I was just stoked that this dog had led me half a mile back to her home! I fist pumped, patted Ohana on the head (still a little scared to be honest, but out of my mind with hunger) and headed back to Elaine.
Then we got some friggin tacos.