As my wife Connie and I drive the 50 mile or so canyon commute to work one morning, we gaze upon the beauty of the river along the steep forested mountain gorge. We love the drive and it serves us with a dose of serenity preparing us for a day working in a local hospital. Suddenly we arrive upon what has become an all too familiar scene on the winding two lanes, a rollover single car accident. People have stopped their cars and are tending to the victim. They wave us on and we notice the man sitting in the wreckage appears to be okay, although his car looks none-for-the worse.
We press on to work, but about a mile down the road we see a small dog running hell-bent and trailing a red leash behind.
“I wonder if that dog was in the accident?”, Connie surmises and I make to pull over and investigate. Connie, ever the good Samaritan when it comes to animals in danger, is almost half way out the door before the car stops and she gives chase calling out comforting and soothing words like “come here girl” and “its okay”.
In spite of her well meaning attempts, she only manages to further spook the already traumatized pooch who dashes for cover in the heavy brush along the river. After a few more minutes of coaxing Connie reluctantly gives up and we continue on for work. All the while she is lamenting the fact she wasn’t able to help the dog and worried for the next few days about what would come of it, in spite of my continued reassurances.
About two weeks later, we are traveling along the canyon, this time at night when we again spot a dog running along the highway. Connie exclaims breathlessly “that’s her, Stop”. She recognized the red leash. This time the exhausted dog comes to her and allows us to get her in the car for the short drive home. Connie checks her over and save for a few burrs, slightly malnourished and some scratches she seems not much for the wear, in spite of being out in the woods for two weeks. We decide to hang on to her and nurse her back to health, all the while checking the shelters and the paper for a lost dog. It takes about a week but our efforts turn up the owner who lives a couple of hours away in Orange County. We talk on the phone and we find out he had been convalescing with a broken upper arm and it is in a cast. We make hasty arrangements for him to come by and retrieve his dog, but it may take a while as he is 80 years old and can no longer drive.
We have had the dog for a couple of weeks now and are growing attached to her. She fits well into our routine and loves to sit on the couch and get her ears scratched. Connie even took her to the vet and got her checked out. She only has a few fleas and a tick or two, which is amazing after being in the wild for two weeks and subsisting on what ever she could to survive. The vet deems her good-to-go and we are glad.
The day finally arrived, the owner gets a ride from his son and they show up to our door. We call the dog Lucky now ,which seems appropriate, but find out they call her Stella. Dog and owner are reunited and there is not a dry eye among us as she recognizes him and licks his face and wines a greeting climbing up into his lap. He struggles with his arm in a sling and has to hobble with a cane, but it is apparent he is glad to see his puppy.
Connie is reluctant but understands she has to give Lucky up as she hands over the tattered red leash.
We got a phone call about a week later saying Stella is doing okay. We learn that the old man’s wife just got out of the hospital and she is ecstatic to be reunited with her dog. She was beside herself when she learned of the dog being missing after the car accident
Now as we make our canyon commute we stare wistfully at the place we pass by where we rescued the dog we called Lucky.