Friday, January 29, 2010


Something odd happened to me a few weeks ago so I wrote it down and planned to share it with you. Forgot all about it until now.

Sitting in the window of a busy coffee shop on the Upper West Side. I saw a small, curly-coated, black dog streaking at top speed up the center of the north bound lanes of Broadway. I gasped but couldn't do anything. Not true. I could have abandoned my two bags and coat and run out after it. I might have caught up in time to see it flattened by an unwitting delivery truck. Or I might have run aimlessly around for long, cold minutes seeing nothing at all. I'm not very fast. Certainly not as fast as an armful of highly motivated pooch.

I waited, fingers crossed, breath held, tears standing in my eyes for the inevitable human pursuit. In the brief flash as he passed I saw a collar and blue tags shine against his coat.

No one came.

No swift-heeled child, no panicked senior citizen, no lithe young man or angry mother. No one at all.

There are, I suppose, plenty of perfectly reasonable explanations. The dog might already have changed directions so his pursuers were off on the wrong heading. Perhaps he'd escaped unnoticed from a sidewalk tethering or mishandled apartment door. Just maybe he does this all the time and is known to wriggle home safe by nightfall.

I can't shake, though, the deathly feeling of a complete lack of pursuit. It's no secret that I would have followed my dog, distraught, to the ends of the earth. I was fortunate in that she held the reciprocal conviction so we were rarely far removed from each other. I know plenty of dogs who, love for their people undiminished, are easily distracted and prone to adventure. And I know without a doubt that their people - terrified, furious, shocked - would be pelting down the street, unstoppable in their search if this misfortune befell their family.

Oh Little Dog Lost, you broke my heart. Come home safe.

And soon.


  1. Dammit, you made me cry.

  2. Somebody somewhere was heartsick wondering where their dog had gotten to.

    I know this - Jack my dog is an escape artist, and we have learned that he returns to the house after about 15 minutes. But we have no idea what he does while he's out and about, and we've learned that trying to seek him out is pointless.

    So I worry and worry and wait for him to return. And continue to fortify our fence so we can keep him in the yard.

  3. hm. I am hoping for the reasonable explanation. It's about time that dogs evolve to recognize the difference between the street and sidewalk. hm.

    My hope is that his owner or home was uptown. Or that the owner was on a bike and you didn't see them go by.