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.

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4 Responses to “the kindness of strangers”

  1. I would have a panic if that happened to my dog. That happened once and very few cars stopped on a very busy street. Most of the people thought it was more important to go on with their day.

  2. Lauren: that’s horrible! I saw Atlas run across 5 lanes of fast traffic once and my heart almost stopped. I’m sorry more people didn’t stop for your dog. 😦

  3. This reminds me of the turtle hero. Not far from where my wife and I lived two years ago was a busy intersection next to a bayou. One day I’m sitting at the light waiting for it to change so I can turn and head home when I see a driver get out of his car across the intersection from me. I saw him squat and pick something up from in front of his car and then begin to cross the street. I wasn’t sure if I should be curious or worried when I suddenly realized he had picked up a turtle. Other drivers saw this as well and eventually all traffic stopped.

    The driver made his way across the intersection and a few yards into the bayou where he released the turtle. Everybody waited for him to get back to his vehicle and we all gave him the right of way before we started to drive off.

  4. the Traveler – I love that! Thanks for sharing the story!

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