Please – ALWAYS be sure to have your pet wear up-to-date ID tags.
Hubby and I were walking across Central Park the other day. We were doing our normal dog observing, when I spotted a leashless dog walking beside a gentleman. When they neared us I asked the man “Is that your dog?” and he shrugged helplessly and said “No”. Hubby and I petted the dog, who was a Brown Lab with a very gray muzzle and tremble-dy legs. A VERY sweet dog wearing a Christmas collar with no tags. We led the dog to a nearby park bench and sat with it while hubby dialed 311 (NYC help line) – hoping to reach someone within the park.
Meanwhile, a jogger stopped and asked us about the dog. When we told her the tale, she said that she would continue jogging and would be on the lookout for anyone who appeared to be anxiously hunting for their stray beast. Then a park ranger drove by and we flagged her down.
In my mind I was already working out how we’d take doggy home (certain our cat Sammy and Dog would get along famously!), run off some quick flyers and come back to the park to distribute. I knew whoever would put a holiday collar on their dog would not have knowingly abandoned it. But as we’re working out details between hubby and myself, the ranger and the 311 attendee, the jogger came back into view shouting that she met someone who was helping someone else look for her missing dog. Next, the other woman came into view. This lady had her dog on a leash and explained how she had just met someone across the park who was frantically searching for her lost dog, Ella – an 11-year-old Lab. Ella!
We all hugged, and with tears running down not just a few cheeks, with “Happy Holidays” and “Thank you so much” to the jogger and the park ranger, the dog walker put her leash on Ella and we crossed the park with both dogs in tow, searching for the rightful owner.
The dog walker said that she had spoken with the owner a half-hour earlier – didn’t get her name or number – so we were hopeful that she would still be nearby. Before long we saw the frantic woman and we called out to her. She turned to us and began to sprint towards us. The dog walker removed her leash from Ella’s collar and Ella began running to her mistress. It was just like a slow-motion scene in a movie! The lovers (I mean, the dog and human) met in each other’s arms (I mean – oh, you know what I mean!) and happily everyone was reunited and thrilled about it. Again, hugs and thank yous were passed around, and more hugs. The distraught owned said that she had just that morning put the holiday collar on Ella, leaving the ID tags on the old collar – and Ella had slipped away. We gave Ella one more hug and sniffled as they turned to go home. We were so happy that Ella and her mom had found each other, so very happy that so many New Yorkers cared about Ella, yet just a tiny, smidgen sad that Sammy would never know Ella.