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Chasing Strays

This is a story of a lost dog, a community that I have grown to love, and the very good side of social media.

I left work early yesterday because I had an appointment all the way in Sebastopol. Less than a mile from work, I turned left onto Canyon Road, and there I saw a dog in the distance standing in the middle of the road. My first thought, I’m either going to be late for my appointment or I will have to cancel. Anyone that knows me knows that I pick up strays. There is no way I can drive by a dog wandering on his own. The question is always whether it will turn out to be a very quick return to it’s owner or I end up with a house guest until such time that I find out who he/she belongs to, or I reluctantly, in tears, take the wayward creature to a shelter.

The other question is how easy is it going to be to capture the dog. Some walk right up to you. Others are afraid and run from you. I once chased a Great Dane on foot down Highway 111 in Palm Desert. This is the busiest road that runs through the Coachella Valley connecting Palm Springs to Indio. There are three lanes of traffic in each direction. I rounded a bend on my way to work one morning and there was this giant dog trotting in my lane. What else could I do?

So I drove slowly up to this little dog that to me appeared to be a terrier/corgi mix and pulled over. He started to run away, but when I turned off the car and opened my door he stopped and turned around to look at me. The second I called him he came running over and jumped on my lap. Oh, good, an easy capture and I see he has tags. I saw two tags; one for rabies and the other a chip ID tag. I turned that one over and called the 800 number. The automated system told me to have the ID number ready. What ID number? I wasn’t sure if it was scratched off or had fallen off, but I couldn’t find a number so I hung up. I started to look at the rabies tag and realized there was one more tag hiding behind the two. His name was Wasabe and there was a phone number. No answer.

Now what? Canyon Road is rural. The houses are far apart and they are set back from the road. Still, I figured he probably lived nearby and I would try the closest house hoping he either lived there or he was known. Before I did that I snapped a photo of him and put it up on Facebook with a call for help, just in case. I started to get out of the car with this pup in my arms, but then thought to try the number one more time. A click and a hello.

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I drove Wasabe home and when he was safely back among his people I checked my phone and saw that I had several notifications from Facebook about my post. Within minutes, two different friends knew the dog and because I mentioned being late to my appointment, the first friend offered to come pick him up. We all bemoan Facebook for various reasons. We gripe and we threaten to leave. There is power behind this tool, both good and bad. Today it was good. Amazingly good. Not only did it show the value of getting the word out immediately about this lost little dog, but it was just one more thing in my long list of many things showing me that I made the right decision in settling my ass down (finally) in this community of wonderful people. I was 15 minutes late to my appointment, but everyone loves a happy ending, including the receptionists at my doctor’s office.

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