Will I be one of those people? You know the kind: so consumed with the potential of capturing a viral video that they stand back and watch rather than engage when someone or an animal’s life is in jeopardy.
There are things in life that you just don’t know until you really know. Today was one of those days. I’m happy to report there are no videos or camera pics of the event that unfolded.
While I was walking my dog this morning a man in a large white truck frantically yelled out his window, “Hey, there are two dogs on the loose and they will probably kill your dog and you! Do you want a ride to your house?” Being the cautious person, and fan of the movie, Silence of The Lambs, I was not going to fall for that line and find myself at the bottom of a pit in some guy’s house starving so he can use my skin to craft his idea of a human evening gown.
Preferring that my little Pomeranian not be eaten, I scooped her up and told him I lived three houses away and I’d just run home. Chances are high that my little girl could easily be mistaken for a large crouton. I wasn’t going to risk it.
I know a lot of the dogs in the neighborhood so I asked him what kind of dogs they were. When he said they were Dobermans his lip kind of curled and his eyes got big. I had a feeling he was traumatized as a child by watching the really bad 1970s classic, The Doberman Gang. Those people old enough to get that reference know what I’m talking about.
My experience with Dobermans had been quite positive up to that point. One raining and thundering night I saw one in the middle of an intersection just standing there petrified. I stopped and opened my door and she jumped in and was so frightened she curled up on the floor in front of the passenger seat. I had her for five days until I eventually found where she lived and returned her only to be annoyed that the people didn’t even know she was gone. Also, a girl I worked with loved her Doberman so much that he attended her son’s funeral. I know they’ve been a breed linked to scary things.
What came to my mind was that I knew some neighbors over on the next street had two Dobermans. I just wanted to help get them back home. They are beautiful animals and I’ve seen their owner running them. I know he got the first one as a puppy and when she got a little older he got the second one. They are now two full grown, muscular dogs that pull him on his bike like sled dogs. I don’t know the owner, but I walk in my neighborhood and pay attention to things like that. I love dogs. Can you tell?
Once I brought my dog to safety I jumped in my car and with the guy in the white truck in tow I headed over to the house where I suspected they lived. At the minimum I wanted to see if anyone was home to alert them. I’ve spent hundreds of hours helping people around the neighborhood find their dogs. They can be gone in an instant and forever if you don’t act quickly.
When I drove up to the house an older woman was standing in the front yard. This woman didn’t live there and she was very upset about something. I popped out of the car and before I could ask about the dogs she yelled, “One of the dogs is in my pool and can’t get out! I live across the street.” She didn’t know what to do.
A little back story on me: we have a pool cover because we’ve lost a dog to drowning and it’s not something anyone wants to go through.
So, with no hesitation I quickly headed across the street knowing I was ready to jump in if I had to. I approached the gate and turned back to see the guy in the white truck pull up to the curb. The older woman quickly approached him saying, “Oh, my gosh! Thank God you’re here.” Then he said something that was the best line of the day, “I’m not Animal Control. I’m just a plumber!” Let’s just say, he never got out of his car.
As I entered the backyard one of the dogs ran past me. He or she wasn’t overly friendly, but he or she wasn’t in attack mode either. He was more like a person wandering in a town with no map or GPS – happy to be out, but kind of lost and searching.
I didn’t know what I was going to find when I turned the corner toward the pool, or how I was going to lift an 80lb+ dog out of a pool. I rounded the corner and there she was hanging on the edge of the pool shaking and struggling and panic was in her eyes. I calmly approached and told her, “Ok Baby, let’s get you out of there.” I slowly reached over her head and grabbed her collar and used my other hand to hold behind her neck so she could push against me. I rocked back which allowed her to gain some momentum and she was out. She shook it off and trotted out as fast as she could.
I met the older lady as I was heading out of her backyard and she said, “How did you do it?” I just told her, “It was easy.”
I walked across the street and the sopping wet dog wanted to get back in her yard. I opened the gate and in she went. One down. One to go.
The other dog decided he or she was going to keep roaming. I calmly walked and called the dog and whistled. The plumber in the white truck was ahead of me and was honking at the dog, which wasn’t too helpful. The dog was getting closer to a street with a lot of traffic. I was getting more and more nervous and the plumber’s honking wasn’t soothing that issue.
The dog would run into and out of people’s yards and then finally he crossed the street into a neighbor’s yard that I knew had a fence around it covered in bushes. I stood a chance of redirecting the dog back toward its house. When I walked up into this bountifully landscaped yard and saw the dog standing there I simply called out to him or her, “Let’s go home now. Come on now.” The dog trotted toward me and past me with an almost “I’ve had enough of this” vibe. At least he was headed back home.
I trotted toward his house and I saw that another neighbor had joined the team. He knew the two dogs, Mayhem and Chaos (Okay, those names are not helping the stereotype), but wasn’t sure which one of them was in front of him, and was certainly not coming to him when he called.
Then, the most awesome thing happened. I heard the other dog, now safely in the backyard, whimper and the other dog stopped dead in his or her tracks. The neighbor approached the dog and was able to grab the dog’s collar and guide him across the street toward the gate where I was standing. I opened the gate a bit and the dog slipped back inside. Mission accomplished!
Me, the older lady, who introduced herself as Diane, and the neighbor had done quite the good deed. We all hugged. It was quite a feat!
Then, the front door of the house opened and a woman in a bathrobe stood in the doorway saying, “Oh, my gosh. What’s going on?” I said, “You totally missed it.” Diane pointed at me and said, “She saved your dog from drowning.” The woman in the bathrobe thanked me but continued to be concerned about not having the proper clothes on. She really did miss it, and apparently continued to do so.
The neighbor guy stayed there until the gate could be secured and Diane and I walked away amazed at what had just happened. We were all in the right place at the right time and it all came together perfectly.
The plumber in the white truck was nowhere to be found. I empathize with the poor guy for being victimized by bad 1970’s cinema. I wish I could have thanked him. His fear allowed me the opportunity to be brave when it counted.
I saved a dog from drowning! Now I know that’s the kind of person I am. I don’t have any video or pictures of the event. Isn’t that great?
For those curious about The Doberman Gang, here’s the trailer