I can do a lot in 13 hours. I can read some good books, do a Downton Abbey marathon viewing, clean up a tremendous amount of clutter, do my income taxes and actually file them! 13 hours is a good beginning for a new exercise regiment, to change an old pattern.
I had a recent experience that lasted 13 hours. It was long. Interminable. A true test of my ability to trust and update an old memory imprint. I drove to New Mexico with my dog Brody. We stopped in Albuquerque to visit a dear friend. He also had a dog and the two of them played well together. As we were getting ready to go out for dinner he asked me if I wanted to put Brody inside. His dog liked to be outside in the enclosed backyard. My initial feeling was to ask him to bring both dogs inside yet didn’t want to upset his dogs routine. He reassured me that the yard was secure. I was slightly uncomfortable but didn’t want to appear to be an overprotective “mom” so we left for dinner with both dogs playing outside.
Three hours later we returned to find Brody gone. His dog was there. My dog’s sweater was on the back patio but he was nowhere to be found. I went into panic mode. We searched the neighborhood for hours. He was not there. I couldn’t call animal control until morning so I tried to calm myself down enough to rest. The next morning I made the necessary phone calls. Brody had a microchip through Home Again. They were wonderful and had his flyer circulated to 1,000 recipients within one hour. We continued to search on foot and by car. My friend kept affirming that Brody was safe. He was sure that someone had picked him up. I worried about him being out in the cold, alone and frightened. He encouraged me to trust that someone would help Brody. That was a hard one for me. The previous Christmas our beloved dog of 16 years went missing while visiting a friends home. Several people saw him and could have saved him yet they didn’t. We found his remains a couple months later. My memory imprint said that if a dog goes missing no-one will help and I will never see him again.
10 hours later Home Again called to tell me they had a man on the line who had found Brody! I was ecstatic. He found him on the median of I-25, which is a very busy highway in New Mexico about 2 miles from my friends home. He spotted him on his way home from work. He pulled into the passing lane and since there was no shoulder he put on his emergency lights and stopped his truck. He tried to get Brody to come but he was very frightened and tried to bite him. Finally he opened the truck door and encouraged him to jump in and he did. Fortunately for me Brody loves cars and trucks!
He drove 30 miles to his rural home where he raises Australian sheep dogs. Brody played with his large pack and then after dinner went to sleep in a crate with his new mates. He said Brody was fine and that he would meet me at a truck stop in town in 3 hours. I offered to pick him up but he didn’t want to give me any information about where he was and insisted that we meet at the truck stop. I then called Home Again to update them. I asked why he would call them rather than me since my number was on the tag with his name. Their number was on a separate tag and both of them were on his collar. They said that people often feel more comfortable contacting a third party since they have no way of knowing about the character of the owner.
Those 3 hours were less stressful than the previous 10 had been. I was no longer sick to my stomach or flashing on dire scenarios of what might be happening to my sweet little dog. But I was puzzled by his reticence. Until I met him…
His truck pulled up. We went over to him as he called Brody out of the truck. Brody stood right next to him and looked up as I walked to him. I was crying, my friend was crying and the guy who saved Brody was smiling. I picked Brody up, leashed him and he leaned over to this sweet man and kissed his cheek. He was either saying thanks for bringing me home or it was fun lets do it again! I put him in my car and went back to find out more details.
It seems that he had seen a dog that looked like Brody a couple of months back wandering in the mountains while he was hiking. He took him to the local shelter. When he saw Brody he thought it was the same dog abandoned again until he got a closer look. He is a dog lover. He wondered what kind of responsible pet owner would allow a little dog to be so near a busy highway. He wanted to be reassured that I was a good person. I had my projections as well. I was suspicious of him. Why wouldn’t he let us come to him? What was he hiding? Was he playing me to get a reward? I told my friend that I felt like my little one had been kidnapped and I was going to pay randsome! Oh what the mind is capable of!
This young man gave me a miracle. He put himself in harms way to save a little dog. I will be forever grateful. It was a wonderful opportunity to update my memory imprint. People are good. People are trustworthy. If they see a dog in danger they will do the right thing. I also realized, in that moment when Brody was licking this young man’s face, that if I had not found Brody he would have been happy with him. In that moment I released all my old assumptions about the fate of a lost dog. Ahhh…that feels so much better!
P.S. For those wondering how he got out of a secure yard with 6 ft. walls all around when he is under 2 ft. tall ? Here are the working theories: he jumped on the back of the larger dog and used it as his personal trampoline or a large bird spotted the red sweater and swooped down to pick him up & Brody wiggled out but on the wrong side of the road or he is HOUDINI!