Editor's note: This is the second column in a series of two. The first column will publish in the Dec. 20 Enterprise.
It was obvious this beautiful yellow lab belonged to someone, his nails were trimmed, he didn’t smell like he had been running loose, he had beautiful white teeth, but he had no collar. So, we continued walking to the park ranger's cabin. The ranger is known as DNR (Department of Natural Resources) Doug. There was no one home. I was running out of ideas.
We walked back to the cabin and I tied both Alfie and the lab to separate posts. They kind-of tolerated each other. Alfie definitely didn’t want me to show too much attention to our uninvited guest.
I had DNR Doug’s phone number so I called. No answer, but I left a message explaining the situation, and asking for help or what to do. It was about 3 p.m. After our day of hiking, Alfie was napping. The lab the same thing. Even though I hadn’t heard from DNR Doug I figured he would drive by and we would figure out what to do. I started a fire and read a book, but going on high alert every time I heard a vehicle come down the road.
Hours passed. No DNR Doug.
When it got to be about 8 p.m. the dogs and I went in the cabin. I was tired too. The Spam and beans were burned in the crock pot. I ate some of them anyway. I fed both dogs with the dog food I brought along. I called DNR Doug one more time, again leaving a message.
I laid down on the futon and initially both dogs jumped on with me, Alfie on the right by my shoulders, the lab on my left by my feet. And my mind won’t stop — what to do with the lab? He had to belong to someone, but who? A serious consideration was to drive back to Blair and home him in the Jeannette Hunt Animal Shelter. They have numerous ways to advertise a “lost dog.” One option was never considered — drive back to Blair and just leave him loose. That I could never do.
After a few minutes, the lab jumped off the futon and went to the other one by the door. I noticed that every time a vehicle drove by he perked up.
I fell asleep. And then, a knock at the door. It was DNR Doug. He saw that I had the lab. He told me that the owner was an out-of-area contractor and the dog had walked away from their construction site and that the owner had been looking all day for him. DNR Doug had his number, called it, and within two minutes the owner drove up in his pick-up. The lab jumped into the pickup bed. It was a wonderful scene and a happy ending! I petted him one last time, shook the hands of the owner, who was extremely thankful, and DNR Doug.
Alfie and I went back in the cabin, I enjoyed my second beer of the weekend, then we both fell into a relaxing sleep.