On Friday evening it was raining in Dickinson. I was driving around the corner in my truck, and my neighbor was just getting home from riding his bicycle, he was wearing rain gear. I asked him if he wanted to go get something to eat, and he acted kind of mad, and he sounded kind of mad.
My neighbor is moody, and he admits it. He and his wife were divorced about ten years ago. His ex-wife, ex-girlfriends, and current girlfriend have similar criticisms and complaints, part of it being his dark or unfriendly moods, which he is more aware of after the fact, than when they occur.
On Saturday he called me on the telephone to apologize for his angry behavior. One of the first things he said was that he had lost his dog. I thought that he was talking about his dog being dead.
He has this very small old male dog that is 14 years old. It is about sixteen inches long from rear to snout, about eight inches high at the shoulders, and it weighs less than twenty pounds. I don’t think this dog can see very well or hear very well. I have been out to Patterson Lake with this dog, and it quit walking and just sat there not saying anything, and its owner had to come back and examine it, and it had stepped on a cactus and had cactus thorns in its foot.
My neighbor explained that on Friday when he was riding his bicycle in the rain, he had gotten into an accident. He was going too fast, he lost control of his bicycle when he hit a curb too hard, everything went flying out of his bicycle basket, his backpack came off, and it was very embarrassing because there were people around, and dogs started barking. He could have been hurt very bad, but he wasn’t.
He picked up the things that had come out of the bicycle basket and off of his bicycle. He didn’t realize that his backpack had come off, and he left it there without knowing. His small old dog had been in one of the bicycle baskets. He looked around for his dog, and it wasn’t there. He looked and looked for the dog, but it wasn’t there. He supposed that the dog didn’t want to get back in the basket, so it walked off.
I said, “So your dog didn’t die?” My neighbor said, “No, he’s home here now.” I said, “Wait a minute, where was this that you got in a wreck on your bicycle?” My neighbor said, “Over by the South Side Bar on Broadway.”
I couldn’t believe it. The South Side Bar is at least a mile away. The 14 year old, 8 inch tall, 16 pound dog, that can hardly see, and can hardly hear, had to walk across Broadway, walk through the rail road yard with about four sets of tracks with trains operating on each of the tracks, walk across four-lane Villard in downtown Dickinson which always has cars and people have a hard time crossing, and walk through all kinds of streets in downtown Dickinson to get back to his house.
My neighbor said yup, and it took him about one day to do it. I said, I don’t even think that your dog could find his way home from the Family Fare grocery store, and you are telling me that your dog made it home all the way from the South Side Bar?
My neighbor said, “That’s not as bad as the time that I lost him out at Patterson Lake. It was very cold, and he was wearing a sweater. It got dark and late, and I called him and I called him, but he didn’t come. I could hear him bark once, but he was very far away. I kept calling him, and it got to be about 10:30 p.m., and I had to work the next day, so I left him. He made it home after about two days. It got down to nearly freezing at night. When he came home, he wasn’t wearing his sweater. He must have gotten his sweater caught on some barbed wire, that is why he didn’t come when I called him.”
Patterson Lake is about six miles away, and most German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Pit Bulls wouldn’t find their way home from there, let alone an 8 inch tall, 16 pound dog. It also kind of surprises me that he would even try to find his way back to my neighbor’s house.