Haven't blogged in a while (all of my most recent posts seem to start like that) but I was going to share this odd story on Facebook, and since it is sort of long, I realized my blog would be a better place for it.
So I'm still working at the day camp for children with special needs. The kids get picked up at around 2:30. When the last kid had just been picked up, I noticed that there was a little brown and white dog running around in the parking lot. He was holding his back left leg up and running with his other three legs. He was starting to run towards the busy street. I was worried and started trying to call the dog, but realized I wouldn't know what to do with him if he came up to me. The mom of the last camper being picked up told me that she thought the dog belonged to a house around the corner, and that the people always let their dogs run loose, and that the dogs weren't very friendly.
The dog ran off, so I went back in, and finished closing up the camp for the day. At about 3:15 I went to leave, and the dog was out in the parking lot hopping around again!
This is sort of what the dog looked like.
I had been on my way to run some errands for camp, but I decided I couldn't just drive away and leave the dog, so I went and sat down on a curb. The dog went and sat down on a curb around the corner from where I was. He sat there and looked at me. When I used to volunteer with a rescue organization I heard that scared dogs will respond better to you if you avoid eye contact, so I just sat down and didn't look at him, made no move to pet him or chase him or anything. Meanwhile, I got my phone out.
My phone was dying, with about 10% of a battery left, and I didn't have a charger with me. I had to think fast. I had heard that the non-emergency number around here is 999, but since my cellphone is from a different area code than where I live, when I tried to call it it didn't work. I tried to log onto the Internet to see the non-emergency police number, but because my battery was so low it had gone into power-saving mode and wouldn't connect. I decided to try calling Information, which I have not done since I was about 14! I dialed it and found that it was answered by a Siri-like robot who asked me what I wanted.
I said, "Non-emergency police department."
The robot repeated, "Police department, emergencies only. Is that correct?"
I said, "No!" I again repeated, "Non-emergency police department."
It told me "Non-emergency police department," but said the name of a town that is about 20 miles north of where I was.
:NO!" I said.
Finally it must have connected me with some sort of human, because I heard a woman's voice say, "One moment please," and then I was connected with the non-emergency police department.
That one was a robot that told me I could either dial the extension I wanted, or push 2 for more options. So I pushed 2. But nothing happened. I pushed 2 several more times, and then I pushed 0, but nothing was happening!
Growing frustrated because my phone battery was now down to 5%, I called Information again, this time asking for my county's animal control. I actually got connected to a human being. I told her where I was, and that a small dog wearing no collar and seeming to be injured was hopping around in the parking lot. I gave a description of the dog, and the lady said she'd notify my area's officer.
By this time the dog had crossed the parking lot and was sitting about five feet away from me. He seemed to know I was going to keep him safe, but he still didn't want to get close to me or let me pet him or anything. We just sat there together, stealing glances at each other every so often. I talked to the dog and told him that he was a good boy and that I wanted to help him get back home. He seemed like he understood. After a while he laid down in the grass under the shade, and got that squinty-eyed look my little dog Lily gets when she's happy.
With my battery down to 1% and no animal control cars in sight, I tried sending text messages to my aunt and my friend, saying my battery was dying and could they please call Animal Control and see if anyone was coming to help. I kept checking every few minutes to see if either of them responded. Finally, when I looked, my phone was dead.
I realized that the dog and I were now all alone in the world. I went through several possibilities in my mind. I could just drive off and hope for the best. (No way.) I could try to get the dog to get into my car so I could take him to a shelter myself... but I doubted he would agree to this plan, and he might run away and get into traffic. I could hope that someone from one of the few cars parked in the parking lot would come back for their car, and I could ask them to call the non-emergency police number. Or the dog and I could sit there like this forever.
Suddenly the dog got up and started walking away. I called him back, worried he'd get even loster. He came back towards me, but then turned and hopped away again, and then turned back towards me, and then away again, as if trying to get me to follow.
The parking lot of my work goes up against a row of bushes and a chain link fence, which separates it from a bunch of run down backyards of equally run down houses. In one yard, two dogs had come outside and were barking at my chihuahua friend. In the next yard, a dog who looked somewhat similar to my chihuahua friend was looking at us through the fence.
My doggie friend went up to the chain link fence and tried to put his nose through to sniff the dog who looked sort of like him. They both made some whining noises. My dog started to whimper and cry. Then he started running back towards the busy street.
I called to him, "Dog, stop!"
The dog stopped, turned around and walked a few steps towards me, and then disappeared into the bushes.
I ran towards the street but I couldn't see the dog. I looked in the bushes, but I couldn't find the dog. He was nowhere!
Curiously, I walked back to where the similar-looking dog had been peering at us through the fence. Now my doggie friend was back there with the other dog, both of them on the opposite side of the fence from me! My dog friend was looking straight at me and wagging his tail, all proud of himself for having figured out his own way home.
It had been an hour and a half since I had called Animal Control. Now the dog was safe, but I wasn't in the mood to run my errands, because it was traffic hour and my errands would have taken three times as long. So I decided to just go home instead.
At least, if my buddy escapes again, I'll know how to get him back home!