Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

A doggone lively morning in our Janesville neighborhood

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Greg Peck
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I was in the basement before 6 a.m. Monday when all hell broke loose upstairs. I had the doors open, trying to let in fresh air to clear the overnight humidity, and Molly, our Cairn terrier, started going wild. My wife, Cheryl, was still asleep.

I hustled upstairs to try to quiet Molly down and see what the alarm was all about. I saw a man walking through our next-door neighbor's yard, calling, trying to get a loose dog to mind him. His pet had other ideas.

I didn't catch a glimpse of the large dog, nor did I get a good view as it twice darted between a neighboring fence and our back deck as I sipped coffee and read The Gazette. Molly stayed on alert. So did neighboring dogs. I could hear where the loose canine was headed based on the direction of howls.

I wondered what kind of dog it was. I was concerned about walking Molly and perhaps triggering a dog fight. Molly, being a terrier, is rather timid but also isn't shy about barking or even snarling should an unfamiliar dog get too close. Who knows what might ensue should this loose dog approach us?

I finally saw the dog. It was chunky, perhaps a pit bull and beagle mix, but looked harmless enough. I tried to coax it with a treat, but it ran the other way. It laid down on a nearby lawn, but as I started that way, it got up and ran off again. Molly and I went on our walk. We twice saw the dog race across streets and between homes, but it was uninterested in approaching us.

After returning from our walk, I sat down for breakfast, and Molly again started barking. I stepped outside, and the dog was in our yard, appearing exhausted. I approached and held out a treat. It was so weary from all that running it didn't even take the offering. I saw it had a collar with tags, so I carefully got my fingers around it. One tag included a phone number, address and name of Pumpkin—appropriate, I thought. I tried to coax the dog to our driveway so I could get Molly's leash on her and she wouldn't run off again, but Pumpkin was too tired to move. I hoped the latest ruckus might have gotten Cheryl out of bed, and sure enough, she appeared at the door. I asked her to get the phone. Cheryl also got a dish of water. Pumpkin started lapping as I dialed. A woman answered.

“Are you missing a dog?”

“Oh, yes! Thank you.”

The woman said her husband tried retrieving Pumpkin, who likes to run (obviously), but he had to leave for a Madison appointment. She said she walks with a cane. She lives about three blocks away, so I said I'd walk Pumpkin over. The woman said she'd be waiting on the porch.

Pumpkin was so exhausted that she walked slowly. She even sat down twice. I had Molly's leash on her, and once I tugged on her collar enough that it slipped off her head. I feared she'd bolt and maybe even get hit by a car, but she just sat as I slipped the collar back on.

The woman was most appreciative when we arrived. She tried to offer a fistful of bills, but I said no thanks. She told Pumpkin how worried she had been.

The woman again held out the money. “No, you don't need to do that,” I said. “We have a dog, too, and I'd just hope that if our dog got loose someday, someone would do the same thing for us.”

With that, I headed home, the pooped Pumpkin and her owner still on the porch. My workday was getting a late start, but I was happy to have helped.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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