Dog Saving Time

Lost and Found and Shiny Black

This week your Manhattan Voyeur celebrated a spring day at the busy corner of 58th street and 7th avenue. Mr. MV (my companion) remains unhappy about the whole episode. For starters, he dislikes it when I talk to strangers. I think he thinks I’m nine years old.

It all started when I stopped short at the sight of a black dog with a fantastically lustrous coat gleaming in the sunlight. The dog was tethered to the corner lamppost. What a gorgeous coat, I said to my companion. My companion kept walking.

A pedicab driver of southeast Asian origin appeared. “You like him? You want him? Take him.”

It turns out that the pedicab driver named Boucliab had seen the dog get hit by a car and heard him scream. The pedicab driver heroically chased the dog down 7th avenue in the heat and finally caught the poor creature. Boucliab took off his belt and looped it around the dog’s neck (no ID tags) and tied the dog to the lamppost.

I surged with adrenaline. I raised my arm to hail a cab to take the dog to a nearby emergency vet open 24 hours a day. Mr. MV was angry. “Let’s go, Susan,”he said several times.

“Be quiet” I said. I’m not used to asserting myself like that. But despite my resolve he stopped me in my tracks.

Suddenly, a man with long white hair walked by. His wife held the leash of an elderly collie. I caught his eye. This dog is lost, I told him. It was hit by a car. The man squatted by the dog and began rubbing expertly around the dog’s ears. He spoke gently to his wife in what I later learned was Bulgarian.

“Look,” I said, “the dog’s favoring his right front leg.” The man ran his hand down the leg and his fingers were instantly stained with the dog’s blood. That was it. He and his companion Anna were in agreement. He stood and untied the leash from the lamp pole.

I was still tense. I took their telephone number and repeated my advice about taking the dog to a doctor. They said they live in the Bronx and their vet doesn’t come in until Monday.

“We will take him to the doctor on Monday, I promise”, the woman said.

Mr. MV was glaring at me. “What’s your problem?” I asked him. “I don’t want to take care of another dog” he said. I could see his point.” I wasn’t going to keep it,” I said. I was going to take it to the hospital. But I wondered why did the man and woman quietly agree to help the dog while Mr. MV seems to disagree with me on so many occasions.

As they walked the dog to their car, I felt tears. First, I was touched by their caring for the poor dog and relieved he would most likely be safe. I was also crying because I had wanted to rescue the dog and now it felt like a job only partly done. I borrowed the pedicab driver’s cell phone and called the rescuers. “Please take the dog to the vet,” I said.

“Monday, I promise” said Anna.

That night I called Anna again and gave them my phone number, saying, call me if there’s a problem. Anna said the dog had eaten and was fine. She said her own dog was jealous of the new dog. I said they will be fine, but please call me if you have a problem. She said, I hope the owner will find the dog through you or the pedicab driver. If not, we will keep the dog.

I had a big unanswered question. How had the dog wound up in the street? He’d obviously been cared for—witness that lustrous black coat. But how responsible was his owner?

Today, three days later, there was a message on my answer machine. Anna reported that the owner had put up circulars about her lost dog and the pedicab driver saw them.

The owner has her dog back. I hope she will be much more careful about keeping him on his leash.

All’s almost well that ends well.

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