the kindness of strangers
I was turning the corner towards home after my pre-dinner walk with the pup. All of a sudden, I noticed a small white & tan dog racing down the sidewalk towards me, red leash flopping on the ground behind him, and two teenage boys in full pursuit. I was ready to step on his leash but, before he reached me, he darted across the road. Then he darted across another – wider and busier – road. The two boys crossed the road and ran after him, and Atlas and I took off down the other side. I figured he’d cross back eventually and couldn’t go home without knowing he was safe.
The dog was clearly enjoying the most fun game of keep-away ever. And he kept darting back and forth across the road. I tried to use Atlas as bait but to no avail. The one time he got close enough, I wasn’t able to step on his leash before he darted off again. [I also tried to pretend my keys were a treat, but he was too clever.]
However, it was really heartwarming to see how people stopped what they were doing to try to help. Whenever the dog would near the road, the cars would all stop and wait. A few people stopped their cars on the side of the road and got out to help. One woman parked, got out, and stood in the road to slow traffic down just before it hit a curve in the road so that the dog wasn’t at risk. Anyone out walking or running tried to coax the dog to them, even if they were clearly not comfortable around dogs.
Fortunately, one of the boys managed to catch him eventually. And it occurred to me that the actions of all those people were a perfect example of beauty in the ordinary – in this case, in the kindness and generosity of strangers.
It also underscored the need for dog owners to have a nearly foolproof way to get their dogs to come to them when needed. In my case, that method is to turn and run away, and Atlas will take off after me like a speeding bullet. I do not ever want to be chasing him down a busy road, fearing for his life.