Yesterday was the first day of school for me, which means new routines. Last year, I was committed to a 3 to 5K walk with Zeda, and I have every intention of continuing that this year. So yesterday, after putting out the garbage at 6:30 a.m., we headed out for our first walk of the school year.
Zeda was anxious to get out so I quickly threw on a pair of shorts and a sweater over my pajama shirt. Since, she was in the mood to walk, we covered our 5K route and, as we got closer to home, I started to panic about time, worried that I might be late on my first day back. “Shower, make lunch, get going,” I told myself. As bad luck would have it, we got to our street just as the garbage truck turned onto it. “Great!” I thought. “Zeda is sure to react when she sees it.” We waited for it to pass and she started to bark but stopped, distracted by a large white dog running to the side of our house. Zeda yelped, either wanting it to leave or wanting to play with it. The dog, one I had never seen before, ran to the other side of the house and proceeded to our neighbour’s house. That’s when I realized that this dog had escaped from its yard.
I put Zeda in the house, took her leash, and headed back out. “Is that your dog?” asked one of the garbage men. “It almost got hit by a car.” He showed me where it was and I ran across the street. At that point, I heard a neighbour calling out “Cooper! Cooper!” That’s when I realized who the dog belonged to, and it was pretty clear that it was a he and a recently adopted rescue. I yelled back to Cooper’s mom, “Get your car! I can follow him!”
Cooper was fast! He bolted down the street and I ran after him – in old running shoes (not very supportive), my pajama shirt and bra-less. But I kept running. Cooper teased me; he’d stop, let me get close to him and take off again. I could hear Mel yelling “Cooper!” and I worried that I would lose sight of him. “Go get your car! I can follow him!” We turned onto a busier street and I saw a car come to a halt while Cooper ran in front of it. Then I saw Sam, another neighbour, speed past in his car. Sam caught up to Cooper and Cooper ran away. He would catch up to him again and Cooper would take off again. I kept running, even though I was bra-less, not wearing my true running shoes and worried about being late for work, but I lost sight of Cooper. Sam’s car turned onto another street; I knew that he lost him too.
“Is that your dog?” a voice from a car called out to me.
“No, do you know it?” I looked back and didn’t see Cooper’s mom. “It’s my neighbour’s.”
“No, but I saw it running. It almost got hit by a car. Get in. I’ll help.” So there I was, getting into a stranger’s car, something my mother always told me not to do, looking for a dog that I didn’t even know. We drove past the elementary school. “I don’t think he ran this far,” I said. “People aren’t reacting like they did back there.” So we turned around and I asked a lady who walking her dog, “Have you seen a large white dog running loose?” While she shook her head, we spotted it about 200 metres away. We didn’t waste any time.
We pulled up in front of the corner house that Cooper ran up to and I jumped out of the car. Cooper looked at me and turned to run onto the side street but was stopped by a short wire fence, ironically, to keep animals out of the garden. Cooper turned again but faced the fence to the backyard. He turned to face me and I grabbed his collar and snapped on Zeda’s leash.
We got back into the car and picked up Mel. I started to introduce her to the mysterious driving hero and stopped. “I don’t even know your name!” It was Mike. As it turned out, Mike is a fellow teacher who works at the school, my son’s former school, and, yes, he taught my son. I wanted to say “No wonder my son liked you. You are the nicest guy.” But I held back and sent him a thank you later in the day.
Mike drove Cooper, Mel and me back to our street. Dave was outside, ready to get in the car and help with the search. “I have to get to work!” Once we were inside, I gave him a quick synopsis of the chase (in old running shoes, shorts, my pajama shirt and bra-less), the rescue and meeting my son’s former teacher. It wasn’t even 8:00 yet and I had already had a full day. Shower, grab lunch, and boogie.
While I was rushing to get dressed, the phone rang.
“This is the hospital calling to book an appointment that your doctor recommended….for a mammogram.”
If this is any indication of what the rest of this year is going to be like, our morning’s are going to be wild.