Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Some links and a tale of runaway dogs

Here's my column from Sunday's paper regarding the 50th anniversary of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Here's my blog on about my observations while waiting for the courthouse to open Monday morning.

Here's a rewritten version of my "Batwoman: Elegy" review.

And here's a story I probably should have kept to myself:

St. Anthony and the Runaway Dogs

It’s possible to earn someone’s praise when you don’t deserve it. It’s especially guilt-inducing, however, when you know someone else kept the faith while you were ready to give up.

I had such a moment recently after two stray dogs showed up in our front yard. We had been working in the back yard and heard the dogs barking when they cornered our cat near the privacy fence. They were friendly pups, however. One had no collar, and the other had a collar but no tag. I tried to run them off, but my wife saw they were panting rapidly, overheated on this dry 90-degree day, and she got them a big bowl full of water.

“We need to find their home,” she said, and I looked at the afternoon sun. If we lost much time seeking the owners, then we’d never finish our project, I said.

But there’s no arguing when she gets that certain look in her eye, so I got the leashes for our dogs and put them on the strays, and we started walking door to door in our cul-de-sac. We were pretty sure the pooches had no ties to one of our immediate neighbors, and that turned out to be true. I suggested calling Animal Control.

“One more block,” my wife said.

We crossed a State Avenue to try to the opposite cul-de-sac, with exactly the same luck. The sun was dropping lower. I suggested these dogs could have come from literally anywhere. We could spend the rest of the evening at this, and we were planning to leave town the next day — the dogs would have to go to a shelter soon.

“One more street,” she said.

We loaded the dogs into the back of my truck, and my wife sat with them as we drove to the next block over. Some kids playing in a yard said they had seen the dogs earlier, and they thought the duo may have come from a house on the next block to the north.

We drove there, where a woman watering her lawn told us she had seen the dogs running through traffic north-to-south. She wished us luck.

We could do this for hours, I said to my wife. I was convinced we were wasting our time. We should just call Animal Control, I said.

“Just one more house,” she said.

We drove to the next block to the north and stopped at the first house. A woman who answered the door told me she didn’t recognize the dogs, but she thought the neighbor across the street had one that was similar. Just one more house, I thought. I knocked on this door, and the man who responded said he was pretty sure the next house over had dogs like those two.

“Just one more house,” I said.

The young woman who answered the door this time barely had time to say hello before she spotted the taller of the two dogs sitting by my wife in the bed of the truck. She called to her mother that someone had brought their dogs home. We learned later that some workers had left their back gate open and the dogs had gone exploring.

“I’ve been praying to St. Anthony to bring my dogs home,” the second woman said. (Among many other jobs, Anthony is the patron saint of lost articles, the seekers of lost articles, and animals.)

“Well,” I said, looking away, “my name’s Anthony, but I’m no saint.”

Post a Comment