Jim spotted him first. A black dog lying in the field behind our townhouse. Curled up on the cold wet weed patch as if he were on a rug in front of the fire. He stirred. Alive.
We went about our business -- Jim out, me at my desk. Four hours later the dog was still there. Uh-oh. That didn't seem like a good sign.
I could see the black lab had a collar, looked more listless than rabid, but I'm a chicken about approaching stray animals. On the other hand, I didn't like the thought of a dog lying out there overnight.
When Jim got home we got out the phone book to see who would take charge. We left a message at the local Animal Control. Finally we decided to call 911. Then the animal warden called back and got the dog's description. I thought the dog' hind quarters looked all mangy but Jim said he was just old and gray.
Then a big friendly golden retriever with a red kerchief ambled along and sniffed the lab. The lab jumped up. Okay! But he was clearly unsteady. I yelled at the setter to go home. A voice called him from a distance and he took off. The black dog made a wobbly circle and settled back into his funk.
The sheriff arrived, shotgun ready. The animal warden arrived in her big truck. She said the dog belonged to a local family and had gone missing last week. She could see the dog from the road and started toward him.
Suddenly the dog jumped up like a pup and streaked down the road toward parts unknown. Gone!
The patrol car and the animal control truck took off after him. And that was that.