Monday, November 18, 2013

Dancing with Chaos and a Runaway Dog

I'm reading Living Originally by Robert Brumet. On November 13 I read a chapter entitled Dancing with Chaos. I had no idea how soon I would be putting that message into practice.

My son and his wife have two Rhodesian ridgebacks they love as children, and I was taking the dogs for a long walk. On our way back from Forsyth Park we passed the house of a friend whose lawn I had cleaned a few days before. I had lined the dozen or so lawn bags up against the house because the city only picked them up on Thursdays. It was now Wednesday afternoon, so I thought I would move the bags to the sidewalk for pickup. It would only take a few seconds, and I attached the dogs to a large garbage container that was already on the sidewalk.

Something happened that caused the dogs to move, and the garbage can tipped over. The dogs panicked and ran down the street dragging the garbage can behind them. It looked almost comical, like the runaway Amish buggies I remembered from my childhood. Suddenly the garbage can caught on something that brought it to a sudden halt. The larger dog, Khiri, snapped his chain leash in half like a twig and took off down the street. He turned around after 100 yards to look at me but, unresponsive to my cries for him to return, continued like a rocket in the other direction.

I took the second dog, Zara, with me as we tried to follow Khiri. He was now far out of sight. Numerous people looked at Zara and said that a dog just like her had run by a minute ago. One man told me he had turned the corner to the right and then added, "You do know where you're going, right?" It was a poorer black neighborhood and he was worried about my safety. I'd walked through that neighborhood many times with no concerns and, at any rate, had a bigger issue on my mind right now.

There was no sign of the dog and I had to return home to inform my son and daughter-in-law I had lost their dog. I felt like the uncle who drives over the kid in the driveway. We posted signs all over the neighborhood, contacted the police and animal control, and put notices on craigslist. Three days went by and nothing happened. A few people called to say a dog fitting that description was wandering through their neighborhoods in the evenings, and I spent hours pedaling up and down streets and alleyways on my bicycle. Friends also got involved with putting up posters and a bicycle brigade, but to no avail. Someone called us after midnight to say he had just seen a dog looking like the picture on the posters. We drove to the address he gave us, but there was no sign of Khiri.

I had already decided to post a blog about the experience, with the realization that no matter what the outcome was we would be OK. But I was still unprepared for the call that came Sunday morning. Khiri had entered someone's back yard and that person had closed the gate to fence him in. He then checked craigslist, saw our notice, and called us. My daughter-in-law, so stoic for three days, collapsed in tears when she heard the news. My son drove to pick Khiri up, who has been sleeping like a baby since he got home. Who knows what he went through during those three days. It is a story that ended well, even with the unexpected opportunity it gave me to dance with chaos.