The Runaway Dog and the Bad Samaritan

Yesterday, I parked my car outside my building after returning home from a trip to the suburbs with my dogs, Duncan and Woody.  When I opened the back door to leash them up, Woody shot out of the backseat in a move that reeked of  premeditation and started running around my neighborhood like a dog gone mad.

I was taken completely by surprise, as Woody is a nearly 10 year-old lab who usually spends all day playing a game of “Guess What I’m Pretending to Be” (the answer always being “big furry floor rug.”)  This 85-pound dog,  who has taken to groaning loudly every time he has to “break character” and get up from lying down (usually only to check his food bowl), was now dashing up and down the streets of my neighborhood, leaping over hedges like a gazelle, and artfully dodging capture with the agility of a doggie-ninja.

Panicked that he would get hit by a car (and cause irreparable damage to the car), I ran after Woody, waving my arms in the air, and calling his name.  He ignored me.

I ran back to the car to get the bag of potato chips I was snacking on during the drive.  Then I ran after Woody again, waving the bag of potato chips and yelling “Who wants a treat?!  Woody, do you want a treat?!  Yummy yummy treats over here!!”  Still, he ignored me.

My panic rose at his unresponsiveness to the offerings of food.  If food wasn’t going to get him to come to me, I didn’t know what would.  I got desperate and started tossing potato chips at him every time he ran by, in case he didn’t believe that I actually had something for him to eat.  As the potato chips landed on his back, he simply turned his head to catch one or two without breaking his stride.

Clearly, this dog was toying with me at this point.

After 10 long minutes of this, I was out of breath, out of potato chips, and running low on dignity.  Then, a ray of hope shined on the situation.  A man walked across the street with his dog.  He had undoubtedly witnessed at least some of my humiliating antics to catch Woody.  Perhaps he decided to cross the street in an attempt to help, like any good samaritan would.  Falling right into the would-be trap, Woody spotted the man’s dog and trotted over to sniff hello.  I thought, Hallelujah!  

Relieved, I jogged over towards where the man and the two dogs were standing, already thanking the man profusely for helping me catch my runaway dog.  As I approached, Woody stopped sniffing the man’s dog and looked at me with ears perked, obviously getting ready to bolt again.  I did not slow down, however, as I fully expected the man to reach down and take a hold of Woody’s collar to keep him from running off again.

The man did no such thing.  Instead, he just stood there, watching with mild interest as Woody took off again.  With no time to process my own disbelief over what just happened, I reinstated the pursuit.  As I passed the man, I heard him commentating the scene to his dog:  “Oh look, Max.  Your new friend is running away again from his mommy.  Look how fast he can run.  Look at that fella go!”

W T F ?

Eventually, I managed to catch Woody, but not without several more embarrassing chase scenes through people’s backyards, culminating in my tackling Woody while he was autographing his 27th tree of the day.

As I dragged Woody home, both of us exhausted, I mentally cursed the Bad Samaritan for being a bad samaritan and couldn’t help but wonder [bitterly], What is the world coming to?  Chivalry, it seems, is not only dead, but has become a big joke.  Very sad indeed.

(p.s.  Today, Woody is still recovering from his wild escapade and is about to set a record for number of consecutive hours of snoring by a dog.  Oh, the wondrous joys of being a dog-owner.)

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