If you’ve ever owned a pet or have watched a dog run out into a heavily trafficked street, you’re familiar with the feeling of a racing heart, a tightened chest and a knotted stomach – even if it’s not your pet.
I was standing on the sidewalk outside of the bike shop in Park Rapids waiting for my friend to finish up his phone call when a small brown puppy raced out of the park and turned the corner onto the sidewalk adjacent to highway 34, the main drag between Park Rapids and Dorset Minnesota. Her bright red leash bounced off the pavement as she raced past me.
Soon after the dog ran by me, a woman emerged out of the same clearing and then out of nowhere a lanky teenage boy wearing a bike helmet joined her in the chase to capture the runaway pup. I’m not really sure how I thought I could help, but without thinking at all, I followed their lead and took off down the sidewalk as a part of the rescue mission.
We all alternated between running and walking, it’s really impossible for a human (even a teenage boy) to keep up with a dog who doesn’t want to be caught and has no clue about things like the dangers of cars and really fast traffic. I jogged behind the puppy, trying to catch up while I was mentally willing her to stay on the sidewalk but fearing that she’d run into the highway.
Puppies are like toddlers, they’re oblivious to things like oncoming cars – you guessed it, after a block or two she darted off the sidewalk and onto the highway. My heart stopped, and so did all the cars. I’ve never seen anything like it. Not only did the cars behind her stop – the traffic on the opposite side of the highway slowed to a near stop; I believe that against all odds, she could have run across all four lanes and still been safe.
After a few blocks of running she headed back toward the park and I watched the teenage boy try and cajole her into coming to him. I figured it must be his dog and the adventure was over, so I slowed down to a walk and thought about turning around.
From behind me I heard a woman saying, “That’s not my dog, but thank you, thank you for your help!”
She jogged past me trying to catch up with the teenager and the puppy on the boulevard.
Before I could turn around, a horn beeped twice and a red minivan pulled up along side me, “Tell her the dog’s name is Bess and I found the owner,” the driver said.
“The dog’s name is Bess?”
“Yes, and I found the owner through Facebook!”
Feeling I now had a purpose I ran as fast as I could to relay the news.
“Her name is Bess and the guy in the red van knows who her owner is,” I shouted as I ran past the woman who had thanked me.
Bess had thankfully run back onto the grassy area next to the highway, but she had no intention of being scooped up by some lanky teenage boy.
“Is that your dog?” I asked.
“No, is it your’s?” he replied.
“No, but I think her name is Bess.”
Just then she scampered off behind a fence and onto a back porch.
As though we had met each other before, the lanky teen and I signaled each other silently. I took guard duty at one side of the porch and he rounded the corner to take his post on the other side. We each waited for Bess to come scurrying out so we could take her to safety.
Neither of us caught her, but we successfully set a trap that led to her safety. Bess didn’t know it, but when she figured out how to run past the two of us she ended up running right into the arms of the woman who had started the rescue chase. Thanks to Facebook and the help from some strangers, Bess and her owners were reunited.
So, all this while, my friend has finished his phone call and is trying to figure out where I disappeared to.
I waved when I saw him walking toward me.
“Were you chasing a dog?”
It took a while to explain. :)