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I didn't help the dog.

It was well past sunset when I got home last night. I got off the bus and was just over halfway home from the stop when I saw an animal running around. It took me a few moments to realize it was a dog, not a cat. It was small, maybe a Pomeranian, and dark-furred. And excitable. It was running: back and forth, around and around. It jingled, I hope from a collar, but I wasn't close to enough to be sure if it had one.

The dog was staying near a certain intersection I was going to walk through on my way back to the house; it might get nearly a block away, but get back. I started to try to follow it and get close to it. The dog didn't let me get near. When a car turned onto the block where the dog was trying to cross, I stepped out into the street with my hand up to give the driver another sign to be slow, and luckily, the dog got across the street safely. But still, it wouldn't stay near me.

I then followed it halfway down another block, then saw it turn around, get past me and go back. I kept following, but not getting close. Then the dog headed the way I was going to go as well, down past the house where I live. So I kept following it.

And I lost the dog. This fast, Pom or Pom-like dog, almost certainly out when it shouldn't be, disappeared somewhere near the house. I lost track of it. I waited outside for a few minutes, trying to spot the dog, hoping it'd come out again, hoping it wouldn't run to the busier cross street nearby. But there was no sign of the dog, and soon I went inside.

I didn't help the dog. I want to say I couldn't help the dog, but in this context, "couldn't" is a weasel word. Could I have helped? I have, other times. I haven't, other other times. What if I'd waited longer and had another chance to get to the dog, let it get willing to come over to me so I could read its collar and, ideally, call the owner to say Hi, I found your dog, I'm keeping — him? her? I never saw — I'm keeping your dog here so that you can retrieve them. Again, could I have done that?

I don't know. That's the most honest answer I can put here.

I hope the dog is OK.