Several years ago my husband Steve and I were huddled downstairs during a snow storm the week after Christmas. At some point that evening, we went out to the garage to get more drinks and check the snowfall. I turned on the outside light to see how much snow had already fallen and saw two dogs, a Black Labrador and a Basset Hound, standing in the yard. It was snowing hard – there were several inches on the ground already – and both dogs coats were covered in snow. The light caught their attention and as they stood there looking at me I called Steve over the door. And there we stood, the dogs staring at us, us staring at the dogs, surprised to see them out on a night like that.
As I began to open the screen door Steve said, “You can try but they probably won’t come in here.”
I opened the door and said, “Where are you guys going?”
They looked at each other, as if they were considering their options, then looked back at us before walking through the open door and into the garage where they settled themselves on our Saint Bernard’s bed in the corner. They were wearing collars but they did not have any name tags. Steve and I grabbed some beers and went back inside while the dogs rested.
An hour or so later I went back out to the garage and found both dogs were still sleeping on the bed. I put down a bowl of food and a bowl of water, grabbed some more beers and headed back down stairs.
A few hours later when I went out to the garage again, both dogs got up. They let me pet them and then the Lab, followed by the Basset, headed to the door. I opened it and they both walked outside. Not knowing if they were just going outside to go potty or if they intended to leave, I stood there with the door open and watched them. It was still snowing hard. They walked about ten yards from the house, then they both stopped, turned their heads back and looked at me as if to say thank you, and then turned back to the darkness and headed off into the night.
To this day I have no idea from where they came or where they went. And although I was happy to give them a brief respite from the storm, I was saddened that they had to try to make their way home in a snow storm – in the dark – on their own. Dog owners, please, make sure that your dog has a name tag with your telephone number and address on it that is easily read. I have helped way too many dogs who either did not have a name tag or whose name tag was so worn that it could not be read. I choose to believe those dogs did make it home, but it would have been so much easier to call their owner to come and pick them up.
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