“Why doesn’t he understand?”
That’s the thought that kept running through my head as I chased a little black and white dog through the streets and trails of Promontory.
“Why doesn’t he understand that we’re trying to give him a new life and a new home that will be so much better than what he had? And why can’t he stop for a moment so I can catch my freakin’ breath!”
The dog is Max, a rescue from Mexico that joined our family Thursday night.
Friday morning he was taken for a pee in the front yard and somehow he slipped out of his harness. The next two hours were a mixture of hope, heartache, worry and despair as I tracked his furry butt. Anyone who knows the trails in Promontory knows that there are lots of forks. Go to the left and I’m in Salmon Ridge. Go to the right and I’m in Crimson Ridge. Go straight and I’m in North Vancouver.
The streets aren’t much better. When people were Facebooking my wife to tell her that Max had been spotted on Teskey, I groaned. Which of the 5,792 Teskeys would that be?
There were a couple times I got close to him. At one point I saw him bolting towards me from 50 yards down a trail. I tried to reel him in, but he went through me like a puck through a Vancouver Canucks goalie. (I kid. I kid. You’re awesome Thatcher D).
Most of the time I couldn’t get within 20 feet of him, even with a bag of treats rattling in my hand.
I shouted his name over and over, but it was futile, really. He only got the name last night.
Exhausted from walking up and down those trails, I came home at one point to find the fuzzy fellow a couple feet inside my open front door, my 11-year-old son crying because he couldn’t get him far enough inside to shut the door. When Max saw me he bolted outside. I sent my son around the side of the house with instructions to slam the front door behind Max once I’d lured him back inside, which I tried very hard to do.
But even with the promise of more tasty treats, he wasn’t having it. Life on the Mexican streets taught him a few things about evading capture.
Within minutes he was back on the trails and that’s where despair came in. Earlier, I’d said a little prayer, asking God to bring Max back.
“We’re trying to do something nice and kind. Please help Max to understand that we’re not going to hurt him.”
As I reached the top of Crimson Ridge, for the fourth or fifth time that morning, I said something else.
“Sometimes you make it very hard to have faith in you. He was in the house. He was right there!”
About five minutes later, the phone rang.
“He’s home,” my wife said.
I consider it a very good sign that he found his way back to our doorstep not once, but twice, and the second time my wife and two kids were able to keep him inside. Max could have gone anywhere, so he mustn’t think that we’re that horrible. But clearly there’s plenty of adjusting to do on both sides. Houdini will be watched more closely than Bonnie Henry press conferences for the forseeable future, and he’ll be confined to the house save for supervised trips into the back yard.
Hopefully there comes a point when he doesn’t want to leave us. Hopefully, he realizes that a safe and loving home may be a little confining, but it’s better than life on the streets.
Hopefully he never tries this again.