Eagle Creek is getting oddly exciting these days. Last time I was there, I met Tim. And today, I basically reunited a family.
Today was another out-of-place lovely day in the middle of winter in the Midwest. I decided that I was heading to the park, so I packed a snack and a book. It was a bit too windy for me to worry about taking my bike today. Plus, for some reason, I cannot get the caps off my tires. Not even with pliers. But that’s another story.
Back to the park. It wasn’t long after I got there that I decided I was going to at least take a short walk. There’s this circle in the back that’s about 0.65 miles, so it’s just right for a short walk. For the most part, it’s surrounded by the woods, so it’s a secluded walk as well. I was just walking along, minding my own business, when a cyclist whizzed by, causing me to look up just in time to see 6 white-tailed deer BOUND across the road in front of me. Now, the deer there are just kind of a constant. They are always out when I’m there, and they’ve ambled across my path more than a few times. But I’ve never seen them bound like that, nor so many together.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw what scared them. A giant dog. I stopped in my tracks because said giant dog was clearly on its own; he was in the middle of the woods, and there were no people nearby. I wasn’t sure whether to turn around or keep going, but the giant dog ran off in the opposite direction, so I decided to just keep going.
The cyclist had made a round already and whizzed by me again. I looked up as he passed, just in time to see him swerve to miss the giant dog who had suddenly appeared on the side of the road. I stopped again, thinking, “Oh, crap.” The dog was literally 20 yards away from me, standing still on the side of the road and looking at me. I had a sudden urge to run the other direction, but running isn’t an option at the moment. Plus, I don’t think you’re supposed to run away from dogs. So I just slowly started taking a few steps back. The dog must have sensed that I really wanted to play because he started running right at me. My heart started hammering in my chest; I’m pretty sure the dog could hear it.
When I say giant dog, I mean giant dog. I’m not that tall, but the dog’s head was well above my waist. Some kind of mastiff. A beautiful brindle color. And suddenly right in front of me.
He seemed friendly enough, but I just stood still. I pretended I was a tree. I wasn’t about to do anything to set the monster off. He stood in front of me for a few seconds, and the turned and ran off down the road. I decided to keep going because, at this point, I was more than half-way around the circle. I took a few steps and realized that there was someone calling a name off in the distance. They were far enough away that I couldn’t understand the name they were shouting, but it seemed logical it was the name that belonged to the giant beast.
I rounded the last turn and saw the dog stopped on the road in front of me. By this time, I’d decided he must be completely disoriented and couldn’t figure out how to get back to his owner. Those deer led him astray (he’s lucky it wasn’t the squirrels that caught his attention; they’re evil). I kept walking until I was close enough to the giant dog to reach for his collar. Let me just say, this took a lot of courage for me to do. I love animals. I do. I do not, however, love strange animals. Especially ones that come bounding up to me from out of nowhere. But I did it. I grabbed his collar and saw that the tag had a phone number. Also, I saw that the beast’s name was Mongo.
Me: “Hi, did you maybe lose your dog?”
Mongo’s owner: “w.kjdgbsejbgrfak avdsf” (There was a high-pitched, frantic voice on the other end of the line, but I could not understand a word the woman was saying.)
Me: “Um… what was that? I couldn’t really understand you.”
Mongo’s owner: “Thankyousomuch! Wevebeenfranticallylookingforhim. AreyouinEagleCreek? Whereareyou?”
Me: “I’m kind of near the back…”
Mongo’s owner: “Are you near a playground? I see a playground!”
Me: “Uh, no. Not even close… Oh, hold on.”
Runner who randomly stopped by: “Hey, there’s a couple back there looking for their dog. I bet that’s him!” (You’re kidding me? You don’t think the dog I’m holding on to by his choke collar while standing in the middle of the road might not be mine? Good call, sir, good call.)
Me (to the runner): “Yeah, I could hear them calling, but I don’t know where they are.”
Random runner: “Oh, they’re just on the other side there.”
Me (to Mongo’s owner): “Ok, this nice gentleman stopped by to let me know that you’re just on the other side of the circle.”
Mongo’s owner: “Is he a runner?”
Mongo’s owner: “WE JUST SAW HIM. WE’LL GET IN THE CAR AND WE’RE COMING TO YOU!”
Mongo’s owner took a few minutes to get there, so the random runner and I had a chance to chat about how the dog had scared the living daylights out of me and about how we’re both big proponents of leash laws.
Mongo’s owner drove up, there was a happy reunion, and all was well with the world. The family had been reunited. I took pity on the owner and didn’t lecture her about leash laws because I know what it’s like to lose a pet and how your heart pounds in your chest and you lose 7 years off your life. I once lost Manning for three days. Though I didn’t let him run loose in the park. No, he took a leap off of my second floor balcony one night.