running after “stella”

Okay. The dog’s name was not “Stella.” In fact, I don’t know what the dog’s name really was–only that her owner was so freaked out she didn’t tell me. But the dog looked like a “Stella” to me.

We were in the car, following an SUV with a darling black and white boston terrier riding with its head out of the back window. “Cuuute!” we cooed. And I went back to zoning out and letting my mind wander as I am wont to do when riding in a car.

Minutes later, my husband yelled out, “Shit!” What? The dog was now running in the busy street. His owner had not realized the dog was out and was driving away. Hubby leaned on the horn. The driver finally stopped. By this point, the dog had already *almost* been hit by cars four times.

Hubby went outside to get the dog. And I don’t know what happened, my brain went into emergency gear, I just started RUNNING AFTER THE DOG. The dog went across the street and back, started heading back towards me and I started RUNNING AFTER THE DOG. The dog was at a full sprint. (I can’t believe a 20 pound dog can run THAT FAST!!!!)

I ran, in sandals down Telegraph after the black and white dog, who seemed to be running out of some freaked out joy. I am no longer in shape by any definition, and I couldn’t run as fast as that dog, even though I was running as fast I could. She became a one inch spot tens of yards away. People stopped and kept asking me, “Izzat your dog?” NOT REALLY! I’d yell, and then continue and maintain pursuit. I ended up running at a sprint for about a quarter of a mile.

At one point, a bicyclist stopped and said, “Izzat your dog!?” “NOT REALLY! I said. The bicyclist said something like “She’s —–” I didn’t hear her. I was trying to make it out and in the two seconds I spent trying to decipher, the dog disappeared. No longer a speck. Just gone. She hadn’t crossed MacArthur, I think, because no car stopped. There was no chaos. But dog had disappeared.

By this point, my husband had parked the car safely and caught up to me on foot. He said, “I could have run fast enough to catch that dog, but you took off and I couldn’t leave the car in the middle of the road–” I know, I know. I couldn’t help myself.

The dog’s owner drove up, her young face twisted into helpless grief. “I don’t know what happened! She’s never been like this–she’s so clingy to me!” I nodded, wondering her dog could be. “I’ve only had her 2 months, she’s rescued!” Is the dog microchipped I asked. She nodded. Okay.

Part of me was FRUSTRATED with her (why didn’t she GET OUT OF THE CAR AND RUN WITH ME? Why did it take her THAT long to reach me? Why did she not notice her dog FELL out of her car? (yes, it fell–the window was down so low that when she accelerated, the 15-20 pound dog fell, landed on the ground on her back, and that’s when the dog ran around confused before taking OFF…and of course, I am not a fan of helplessness)…and part of me was frustrated with the situation (UGGGGH! LOST DOG!). I told her what I knew, where I’d last seen her dog. She continued to drive around, circling around twice before we never saw her again.

We walked around a bit after she left. Talked to a few folks in the neighborhood. A dude smoking a joint walking down the street hadn’t seen him. Another dude with long shaggy hair and an iPod hadn’t seen a black and white dog either. Neither had the dude sitting at a bus stop. Neither had a feisty old lady with a pit bull in her front yard. She told us all about how people mess with her dog late at night, but she hadn’t seen the dog. No one had seen Stella. Poof. Disappeared.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “running after “stella”

  1. Wow. What a crazy and distressing story.

  2. Oh. LORD.

    I had just run after someone else’s dog myself, just a few days ago, and I truly get the panic and OMG!!! that you felt.

    *still has relapse panic*

  3. dog geek

    Way back when I worked at the SPCA, I had to do a brief seminar on how to catch runaway dogs (lots of newly adopted dogs bolt when they get to the car, not knowing the new owners are taking them to a better place). I’ve used the info from that day half a dozen times and have ended up with five dogs in my lap:
    -sit or lie down on the sidewalk and make high-pitched sounds (when you run after them, the dog thinks, “I knew something was terrifying! even the humans are running in the same direction!”). Shriek-y, squeaky, puppy sounds. Come save me, I’m weaker than you sounds.
    -if you have the owner with you, have them do the same, facing *away* from the dog (so the dog will want to see the owner’s face and come closer).
    -don’t grab at the dog when they are arms-length away; wait until they are actually touching you.

    Hope that wasn’t too naggy-sounding–want more dogs back to their owners! Get found, little Stella.

    (The sixth dog stopped to sniff a crying toddler and was caught there.)

  4. Richard

    Some people don’t deserve to own dogs. If they can’t pay attention to the world around them while doing a simple thing like driving, they probably would’ve messed up raising the dog in other ways.

  5. Susan: Yes. The nights are so cold this week, and I keep wondering how that dog is doing. I wonder if she was found by the young lady, and if not, if she has found shelter. And I wonder about the young lady–did she adopt the dog in the wake of a breakup or crisis in her life (she did not look surefooted–of course she had just lost her dog, but still)…how is she coping? Or has she moved on quickly?

    SenNim: Lost dogs are just soooo tragic!

    dog geek: Thank you for the advice! I’m sure something like that did happen–Stella ran around in circles for a minute before taking off. By the time I ran after her, she was already at a full sprint, not looking back. I hope Stella gets found.

    Richard: You said it! But maybe the lady adored that dog and just didn’t know how to take care of it yet. I know I sure made a few mistakes when I first got Ziggy.

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