The Puppy Adventure

Meg and I hadn’t seen each other in a while so we made plans for this morning to take a walk down the trail near our apartment complex and stop by at the park to let Vic run around. We met up right on time and the gray clouds that have covered the skies for the past few days seemed to finally be clearing up which boded well for a nice walk. We made our way over to the trail, catching up on all the little details of life since we last had a good chat, with Vic kicking his feet and babbling in the stroller.

The air was brisk, but not unpleasant, a slight hint of smoke hung in the air and the leaves in the trees were bright and pretty, a nice fall day to take a walk with a friend. We walked just under a mile down the trail at a good pace, fast enough to put the roses in our cheeks, but not so fast that we couldn’t talk comfortably. Vic was in a pretty good mood, he’d jabber something into the conversation every now and then, but seemed content to wheel along admiring the scenery. We turned around on the trail about halfway to downtown Walnut Creek and headed back toward the park to let Vic play.

At the park, Meg and I got to wind down a little from the walk while Vic burned off lots of energy running around, climbing, sliding and swinging like a monkey from the monkey bars. We were on our way back, strolling along the winding path out of the park back to the trail when we saw them – two dogs frolicking in the autumn sunshine in the middle of the trail. The trail boasts a paved portion where most people walk and bike, alongside a wide swath of uneven ground studded with low shrubberies, weeds and grass. The dogs were playing in this soft, muddy ground, bouncing around and yipping cheerfully in a way that indicated they were young, most likely puppies.

“What are they doing out here by themselves?” I mused aloud and looked around for a possible owner along the trail. The dogs didn’t seem to be following any particular jogger or walker so I asked an approaching woman with a stroller if they were hers. After her negative response, Meg and I looked at each other and Meg said “I can’t just leave them out here, let’s see if we can check it out.” I agreed and Meg called to the dogs who came running up eagerly, tongues lolling and eyes bright with fun and mischief. Close up, it was amply evident that we were dealing with puppies, one a sweet, fuzzy husky type with cocoa-colored fur and pale blue eyes, the other a sweet little beagle type dog. Both were high energy and incredibly sweet, jumping up and giving us doggie kisses and checking Vic out. Vic was delighted with all the doggie attention, reaching out to pat them and let them lick his fingers.

Meg checked the dogs’ collars and discovered a phone number for the owners on the husky whose name is Coco and the vet’s number on the beagle’s rabies tag. She called both places with her cell and we settled in to watch the dogs and wait for a call back when they both took off into the park. We followed them and they went tearing across the park, heading straight for the very busy road that borders it on one side. Worried that the puppies wouldn’t know better about running into the street, we chased after them with help from a guy in the park. It took some doing, but Meg managed to chase down Coco and hold onto him. I was much less successful in keeping up with the beagle who could really run. Meg mentioned that she wished she had a leash so we could keep the puppies contained and I cast about for something in Vic’s stroller when it occurred to me that we could use the strap from my purse since it has clips on both ends. That gave Meg the idea to also use her bag, which has a clip on one end. With Coco clipped onto her bag, she was able to chase down the beagle and we leashed her with my purse strap.

With our new canine pals under control we debated what to do next. Since Vic was getting cranky and needed changing, we decided to head back to the apartment complex to wait for a call from either the vet or the owner. We’d only just left the park proper and were back on the trail when the owner called and asked us to keep the dogs at the park because she didn’t live far away. We strolled around waiting out by the trail and were just saying to each other that maybe we should go back into the park if the woman was driving over and had moved back onto the path when she hurried up with her daughter, both holding onto leashes.

It turns out the the beagle’s name is Minnie (she didn’t have a name on her tag) and that both she and Coco got out through the fence on their yard. The woman and her daughter were very relieved that we’d caught the puppies and called and said they’d be keeping them in the house until the fence has been repaired. They showered us with thanks before they left, which made me feel pretty good about doing the right thing. On the way home, Meg called the vet to let them know that the dogs had made it back to their owners and the girl on the phone gushed more thanks because apparently, the puppies mean a lot to the family for whatever reason.

We headed back up the trail toward the apartment complex feeling pretty happy that we’d been able to help out, that we’d been in the right place at the right time to help out the puppies and their family. We talked about all the times we’ve seen stray/abandoned animals before and not been able to do anything about it. This time we were and it was wonderful to have such a happy ending to the story.

Like an idiot, even though I had my camera with me, I forgot to snap a photo of the puppies, which is a shame because they were really, really cute. Instead, my only mementoes of the adventure are a large pawprint left behind on my pants leg from where Coco leaned his fuzzy paw and the happy feeling of having helped out. Not bad things to come home with at all when I’d only intended to get out for a little bit of Saturday morning exercise.