Recently I had the opportunity to help return a runaway dog to its heartbroken owner. Perhaps I overstate my role here, let me tell you the story. 

To say that Minnesota has had a long tough winter is understating the situation. We are still hovering at 40 degrees Farenheit and under threat of snow this April 23rd. Enough already!!! My daffodils are pushing forward, my red-bud is beginning to bloom and the final glacier like snow block has finally given way to allow the deleterious effect of early and unrelenting weather to show all matter of injury to the surfaces below. It’s high time for a spring clean-up.

Four weeks ago today, on a blustery Sunday afternoon, I was looking out at my backyard bordering the woods when I spotted a streak of dog racing down my neighbor’s driveway  toward the woods. A mid-sized, short haired brown dog literally bounded over snowbanks that have stopped most creatures in their tracks. This dog was on a tear. Clearly not looking back for a human or forward to any hiker I could see, the animal kept a break-neck pace while turning to take the trail for parts unknown. As the animal was wearing a harness, I assumed there was a human somewhere and perhaps the dog had picked up the scent of a squirrel or other wildlife signal but would be reunited after the chase proved fruitless. 

I didn’t think much more about it until the next afternoon when I was driving back into my neighborhood and saw a big yellow sign that stopped my heart. “LOST DOG” with a phone number and a picture of the dog I had seen, complete with harness. The cautionary note in bold caught my breath.  DO NOT CHASE.

I called the number and talked to a young man who eagerly heard my story of seeing the dog the afternoon before in the woods behind my home.  He explained that Maisy was a rescue he had just adopted two days before. She had been doing well in her new home, but somehow startled and bolted over a fence and had run away from him shortly before I saw her in the woods. He lived barely a mile from me, but we both worried aloud about Maisy in that wooded area, which was not far from a highway. She was not safe. We agreed that I would stay in touch.

An hour later, a staff person from the animal rescue program that had placed Maisy called me to debrief and asked me several questions about the location and whether I would allow them to put a trap (with a live camera hook-up) at the edge of the woods to lure Maisy into safety with some food and a blanket to get her through the weather. Gratifying to both of us was that I saw Maisy on the trail in the woods while I was on the phone with her; she cautioned me not to approach the dog, due to her skittishness and fear of strangers.

Two nights out in the weather, another sighting or two. I was anxious for the dog and the owner. While we found tracks leading close to the trap—no luck. Finally, morning number three—good news. The rescue team came up with an ingenious plan to bring Maisy’s sister Serena, also a rescue, to the woods and after a bit, Maisy picked up her scent and approached Serena, accompanied by Maisy’s owner and the staff person. What a sweet reunion it was! 

I love happy endings!