Several months ago, Dan and I volunteered to help a friend with a Big Project that came to fruition yesterday. Our portion of the Big Project mostly came during October, and for a good portion of the month I spent most of my daylight hours at her house working on the Big Project. The whole story (with photos!) to come tomorrow, but here’s a little tidbit.
About two weeks ago, I had finished my work for the day and had to get home in time to shower and change my clothes because my mom was coming to bring her van, because my sister needed me to drive it down to where she was in order to help her move out of her apartment because she was moving to Ireland. I hope that all makes sense. Anyhow, my friend lives at a house here in town with her sister and her sister’s husband. The sister and husband, who are also friends of ours, have a very large dog named Bryn. Bryn is a huge mutt of a dog with some interesting proclivities, and knows me well enough at this point to be friendly and happy to see me when I was going over there during the day when nobody else was home. The house is in a rural area outside of town, at the end of a long dirt driveway. Bryn has the run of their land and that of the vineyards nearby, but knows he isn’t allowed past a certain point without being on-leash and with his humans.
Because my friend’s house is more than three miles away, I would usually ride my bike to and from since it took less time. A few times earlier in the summer when I’d ridden over there, I noticed that sometimes Bryn would follow me up the driveway, so I got in the habit of checking when riding down the driveway to make sure he wasn’t. Usually, I could tell, because he’d be bounding right alongside me, tongue lolling out, and I’d have to take him home and make sure one of the people who lived there kept a hand on him. This particular day, however, I was there by myself, and had spent many hours in the hot sun. I was sweaty, dirty, and gross, and wanted nothing more than a shower. I had to leave by a certain point to give myself enough time to hose off before my mom got there. Most days, Dan calls me when he gets off work, just to say hi, but that particular day he didn’t so I ended up working a bit later than I’d planned and had to finish up quickly. I strapped on my helmet, got my gear together, said bye to Bryn, and rode up the driveway toward town.
Halfway up the driveway, as was my habit, I turned around to check and make sure I wasn’t being followed by a misbehaving dog. He was nowhere in sight, so I stopped thinking about him and started thinking about the steep hill I was about to climb. I stood up on the pedals, pumped my tired legs, and focused on making it to the top. Just as I got to where the highway met the main thoroughfare, right as I was at the point of the hill where I could sit back down and pedal normally, up ran Bryn. Into a heavily-trafficked area, 3/4 of a mile from his house, a place he’d never been and with a ton of fast-driving vehicles, at dusk, who wouldn’t be expecting a huge dog in the middle of the road. I managed to get him out of the street and to the side of the road, where he proceeded to jog into the outdoor seating area of a popular restaurant.
So here I am, disheveled and smelly, my clothes dirty, with my bike and my helmet, on a time crunch, and here is my friend’s wayward dog. He won’t listen to any of my voice commands, he’s freaked out because he’s in a strange place with none of his humans, and he can hear other dogs barking nearby. Plus, there are all sorts of interesting smells coming from the restaurant. I’m not sure what to do, because I only have one friend’s cell phone number and I know that nobody who lives at the house is going to be there for at least another hour. Plus, I don’t have time to take him home myself, let alone do I know how on earth I’m going to manage to bring him back down the super-traffic-y hill and up the driveway with my bike, since I don’t have a leash and he can easily slip out of his collar.
So I did the only thing I could think of: I called my friend, who was a half hour away, to explain the situation, hoping she’d be able to pick up her phone. Thankfully, she answered, and once I told her what had happened she told me she’d call a third sister who also lives in town to drive over, retrieve the dog, and drive him home, where she’d put him in the house so he couldn’t leave again. Luckily, the sister didn’t take long to arrive, but in the meantime I’m sure I looked pretty ridiculous to anyone who drove by – in my bike helmet and sweaty, dirty clothes, straddling a giant dog who is so scared he’s shaking because it’s the only way I could think of to keep him from running into the street again. We loaded Bryn into the car and the sister drove away, and I made it home in time to change my clothes but I didn’t get my shower until much later. I explained to my mom why I was so sweaty, and we both had a good laugh about how ridiculous it all was.
In the days that followed, before I left the house, I made sure to tether Bryn to his doghouse for the hour or so it would take for someone to get home, so I wouldn’t have to dogwrangle again. And that, dear internet, is the story about the dog.