Slightly Off Center
The little dog that saved the day.
—by Dennis Hinkamp
Some days are doomed. Road construction has slowed traffic to dial-up modem speeds, young people are surly because they are back in school, you’re getting work-related emails at 10 p.m. and the St. Louis Cardinals are blowing a nine-game lead dropping three of four to the last place Reds. These are all First World problems, to be sure. It would be easy to melt into a self-pity puddle.
Then you see this furry black blur run by at hubcap height at the intersection of 200 South and 1000 West. I’ve never understood why there is so much traffic at mid afternoon in Logan, but there is. So this would seem like a death dash for an unleashed micro-mutt.
There is nothing all that urgent or meaningful waiting for me at the end of my drive so it only takes about 1.4 seconds to decide to turn right and follow the developing drama. I am not alone; all manner of people are stopping to chase a little dog because, heck, it has to be more meaningful than what we were all headed to.
The anonymous black pooch is now running down the middle shared turn lane on the four lanes of 1000 West with tongue out in an apparent hurry to get to or away from something. A couple others and I park and take chase on foot. Men and women are jumping out of cars everywhere along this half-mile stretch, trying to grab the dog or standing in front of muscular trucks to stop them from creating canine road kill.
The dog, though crazed, definitely has been working out because neither I, a long time runner, nor much younger crazy people seem to be able to catch up. So we run back to our cars and try to head the dog off farther up the road. Several of us, including a Logan City truck make illegal U-turns and park in inappropriate spots in hot pursuit.
Finally, the dog makes its first miscalculation and runs into a fenced yard. I grab it by its girly looking collar and the chase is over. I hand it/her over to one of the other pursuit vehicles that promise to take her to animal control to get checked for an identification chip.
The dog is saved along with 30-50 human strangers who went home with a great story and a feeling of accomplishment. Dogs are our best imagined selves and are perfectly designed to trigger our empathy. It was a good week for dogs.
We really can be better human beings; sometimes it just takes a dog to make us do it.
Dennis Hinkamp very much hopes all these stories have happy endings.