September 03, 2006

The Neighbour's Dog

I found some kid's Canada Games Centre pass the other day and thought I would do the good samaritanly thing and hand it in to the Centre.

Our neighbour's mother, unfortunately, passed away so they had to go out of town. They asked us if we would be willing to take their dog, whom I shall call "Chicken" (not exactly known for their smarts), for walks.

I decided to kill two birds with one stone.

Packing Jade into the baby carrier, I headed out with Nanuq and Chicken towards the Canada Games Centre. It was a nice and sunny day, and quite a pleasant walk.

As we approached the road, I put Chicken on the leash and had Nanuq heel beside me. In this fashion we crossed Hamilton Boulevard and arrived at the Canada Games Centre. I tied both dogs up outside the Centre and went in to drop off the kid's card.

Jade and I weren't inside for long. We headed back out into the sunshine and I untied both dogs, intent on keeping them on their leashes until we were back across the road.

Except that Chicken didn't like that plan. Pulling backwards on the leash, the collar slipped easily off her head and she was free. Oh, she didn't go far, always hovering no more than twenty feet away, but she would come within ten feet of me either.

I called her name sweetly. I called her name angrily. I tried to draw her near with a fetching stick. The stick produced the best results, but she still wouldn't come close enough to where I could put a collar around her neck. After about fifteen minutes in front of the Canada Games Centre calling and attempting to draw her near, and decided to walk to the path and try again there. Another fifteen minutes spent without success.

Nanuq and Jade were fantastic. Nanuq stuck beside me, showing Chicken how it's supposed to be done. Jade hung out on my back, waiting for that moment when I would lurch towards Chicken and grab her around the scruff of the neck. She never even came close enough for me to try that.

Spotting the bus shelter across the road, and seeing that there was no traffic, I headed across Hamilton Boulevard. Maybe, just maybe, I could trick her into entering the bus shelter and I could get her back into her collar there.

Ten minutes of that and no luck. She would wander around the shelter, but would never enter, even though Nanuq, Jade and I were having lots of fun inside.

On the bright side, we only had one minor road to cross now and she was staying relatively close, so I decided to just walk home. She would follow after all.

What a foolish assumption. Even though everyone else crossed the road, Chicken decided that it was much better on her side, and refused to follow. I looked back to the opposite side and saw her on the ridge, trotting happily off, away from home.

Great. We crossed the road again and walked up to where we had seen her last, but couldn't find her. I was calling her name and whistling, but that had produced no responses before, so why should anything have changed. We wandered around on the trails calling her, trying to figure out where she had gone, but saw no sign of the elusive creature. I think she was trying to hide on us.

Knowing that it was well past Jade's lunch time, I decided to drop by on Lise, a former colleague. She was kind enough to loan me her phone so I could call Fawn (who came to take Jade home) and the City's bylaw office.

The City moved quickly. Within minutes there was a Parks & Recreation truck outside of Lise's house. They had spotted the dog, walking in traffic and investigating cars. They tried to apprehend her, but encountered the same success as I had.

I walked to where they had seen her last and figured that maybe she had headed towards home, so that's the way I went. Not finding her at her home, I hopped into the car and did a drive-around. Still no luck.

After wasting almost a whole afternoon, I figured I would try to salvage some work time and took my laptop outside where I could see her when she came home. And of course, she didn't.

Fawn took a drive to look for the missing mutt. Again, no luck.

Just after Fawn returned home, we got a call. A woman had found the dog and managed to lure her into the backyard with a piece of sausage. She called the City and the City gave her our number. It was Lise's next-door neighbour.

I drove right over and Chicken practically lept into her collar. The neighbour explained that Chicken had been wandering up and down the road, looking very lost. Oh, she was so relieved to be found.

Dumb dog.

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