Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price
9/10/2006

Mr. Bones


Most Saturday mornings throughout the year, I drive to Ohio to work auctions with my mom.

Yesterday morning, as I was driving off the suspension bridge that spans the Ohio River, a black dog jumped from the hillside next to the highway and right into oncoming traffic on the other side of the median. As tractor trailers and minivans closed in, the dog jumped across the median and directly into the path of my car.

I didn't hit the dog. I slammed on my brakes and avoided hitting the dog or causing an accident. I pulled my car over and got out. The dog, casting a wary glance over its shoulder, started to run along the berm of the highway, away from me. I got down on my knees - thinking I might seem less intimidating. I whistled and called but the dog just kept running in the opposite direction. She eventually jumped another concrete barrier and ran down a steep hillside to the Ohio River.

Eight hours later, the auction finished, I drove back to the marina where I'd last seen the dog. She, I think the dog was a female, was sitting in the railroad tracks maybe 50 feet away from where a family was having a picnic. When she saw me she ran again, this time into a thicket of bramble bushes. I kneeled down, crawled into the bushes and tried to coax her out. There was glass all over the ground and I was afraid she would cut her paws. Every time I moved closer, she moved farther back. I could see the indentations between her ribs. She didn't look rabid, only scared and hungry.

I couldn't catch her. Everything I did seemed to scare her.

Eventually, I left. I called 911 and asked them to call Animal Services and call me if they found her. On Sunday morning, my mom took down a plate of cooked chicken, hoping if not to lure the dog out from her hiding place then at least feed her. Still nothing.

You might think this is a lot to go through for a dog or maybe that I'm foolish. Maybe I am. But I've owned a dog and loved that dog, lost it once and found it days later, starving and scared.

And I've read Paul Auster's amazing book - Timbuktu - about a dog named Mr. Bones. Read this book. Read it even if you are not a dog person. It is a novel written from the point of view of a dog but through this dog's eyes you see people in a new light. It is brilliant and simple and calm.

Read it and I promise the next time you come across a dog that looks scared and lost, you will stop.

And if you figure out a way to coax a dog out of the bramble bushes, please let me know.

4 Comments:

Anonymous said...

I found a lost dog once. It was in a dense bush in a park. My dog would not leave the bush. Only after close investigation did I see the dog in the bush. I eventually got the brush pulled away so it could get out, but then the dog took off. My dog and I chased it. I couldn't catch it. It would not let me get close to it. I finally threw my jacket over it! And it stayed under it. So I grabbed the jacket with the dog under it and took it to my vet. The vet called the number on the tag. The number was from a town hundred's of miles away! The owners called me and thanked me. They had been in town for a funeral and left the dog with a friend who accidentally left it out. They were so grateful. The funny part was that a few other people in the park tried to help me catch the dog but they eventually gave up. I had other things to do but I keep saying to myself to give it one more try. I am glad that I did. The other funny part was this dog was small. I had put it in the back of my van. Driving to the vet, I kept thinking that it would work it's way under the seats and bite me. After all it could have been ill or rapid. It wasn't ill but only lost and the appreciation I received was more than worth my effort! The bush the dog was stuck in actually saved the dogs life. The dog had been stuck in the bush overnight and the wild coyotes could not get to it!

4:06 PM  
Scott Beveridge said...

I'm proud of you for trying to help.

8:32 PM  
Shell said...

My friends and family always make fun of me for doing the same thing, but I cannot and will not allow some poor animal who is scared and hungry out to be hit by a car or worse. I have even taken a baby bird that I found on the sidewalk to the wildlife center (it was somewhere down 51 south) for them to raise and low and behold, I got a postcard six months later that they had released it. I never felt so proud! Good for you for having an heart!

9:32 AM  
Anonymous said...

Aw, that is truly so kind and sweet of you... really. I wish you had found the poor thing. Having lost a dog as a child, never to find her, I feel so much for you, the dog, and it's owners. My children have read Timbuktu... quite a story! And they are like you... they bring home any and every injured or lost animal they come across, in their naive belief that Mommy can fix anything. I wish that were true but even Moms have limits. What concerns me most is the number of stray cats or injured animlas that no one seems to care about in this area. They once brought home an injured baby bird... I do not know how to fix a wild bird.... I called the Police Department andwas told to call the Game Commission. They told me they could do and would do nothng - just said to put the bird back outside and it would probably succumb to the elements or other animals. How terrible to tell the kids as they waited to here what the man had said. Of course, we could not save this poor baby bird. It was beyond are capabilties. It would be a real treasure for animal agencies to be able to handle these types of situations. But there is so much need, they often cannot do much! Let us know if you hear about the dog. I am sure many of us will think of this often in the days to come, wondering how the dog is, and where it is.

1:10 PM  

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