I left my car at the theater today and walked to Cherrydale Shopping Center. About five miles into the six-mile circuit, a small dog – a cross, I’d say, between a beagle and a Chihuahua – ran out of the Buncombe Highway Hardee’s parking lot onto the sidewalk, seemingly in pursuit of the Hardee’s employee who was walking ahead of me. But when the Hardee’s employee reversed course, walking back past me with a dazed expression on her face, the dog kept going – first out into traffic, then back to the sidewalk, zigging and zagging all around. I turned to see if the woman was going to call the dog, but she didn’t, so I decided that there was no connection between them. Just a stray dog and a stray person, one of which happened to work at Hardee’s.
The dog continued to track me me, running ahead, then behind, up into yards, out into traffic. Several times it did this and several times some motorist had to slam on the brakes and honk the horn and I fully expected at least one of them to roll down a side window and shout, “Hey, idiot! Why don’t you put your damn dog on a leash?!” But that never happened. Just the braking and honking and me rehearsing in my head the line, “It’s not my dog!”
Back at the theater, I called BJ out from the stage door to show her what had followed me, thinking she’d get a kick out of the situation – cute dog risks life to follow pet-aversed man for more than a mile through heavy city traffic. We’d chuckle and close the door and the dog would go away. That would be that. But I was wrong. To make a long story short, I ended up buying a leash and a sack of puppy chow and Beau, our box office manager, has taken the dog home … “just for the weekend.” We’ll see. Beth, our business manager, placed several rescue-related calls, one of which was to a friend who handles pet adoptions. I offered the dog to my friend Peter, but Peter pointed out that he already owns a dog that’s at least paranoid, if not pathalogical. No arguments there. He’s one dog away from disaster and I don’t want to be the one to push him over the edge.
However this turns out – whether Beau keeps the dog or Beth’s friend finds it a home or animal control is called to lock the dog up and eventually kill it – I’m impressed by the dog’s good fortune thus far. Had I not been walking past the Hardee’s at that particular moment … had some motorist’s reflexes been a bit slower … had the person who’d fed the dog wieners (which it threw up on the lobby carpet) taken it back with him to (likely as not) the homeless shelter whence they’d come… who knows? What we do know is that the dog has a collar but no tag, is house broken, makes hardly a sound, and knows how to stand up on its hind legs. If only it could talk.