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.