Safe and Sound
We were almost home when we saw her, walking slowly down the yellow line of the road through the rising steam left behind from yet another violent, yet transient, thunderstorm, the sort that pelts this part of the world in the dusks of July. A German Shepherd of magnificent countenance, she was obviously tired and obviously lost. Without a word, The Songwriter immediately pulled our car to the side of the road and I opened my door. Leery and frightened, the big dog veered away when I spoke and continued to make her way down the busy street, cars swerving to miss her as they passed.
We carefully followed, making her nervous enough to eventually lope into the front garden of one of the houses lining the road. I got out to follow. Dressed as I was, all in white with a pink scarf around my throat of Isadora Duncan proportion, I was hardly prepared for a ramble through the muddy gardens of strangers, but looking at the poor creature I couldn’t help but see Edward or Apple, lost and afraid. Do Unto Others, after all.
Success proved elusive, as she stayed twenty paces ahead of me despite my encouraging pleas for her to approach. Finally, I decided to stop trying to convince her of my trustworthiness. Leaning against a mossy pine tree, I turned my back and quietly began to talk to her, about the weather, about the sweater I was knitting. I mentioned the approaching night and the rabbits in my back garden. I told her about Edward. After three or four minutes, I felt a wet, furry head rub against my white trousers and, still not making eye contact, I reached down to scratch the tired girl behind her ear. I felt a collar, and then, mercifully, a shiny metal tag on which was imprinted a phone number. Relaying this to The Songwriter who’d been hiding behind a nearby house, a call was made, a reunion facilitated. Such a joy to hear her worried owner call her name - “Maggie!” - and see her run to safety.
When the next angry thunderstorm pounded our roof at midnight, I lay there listening to Edward and Apple breathing softly, safe and sound, and thought of big, tired-out Maggie, happy that she too was safe and sound.
But the white trousers were trashed.