Friday, November 28, 2008

Trauma On River Drive, continued

Rain began to pelt my face.

Calling, calling, calling to my dog to no avail, I felt as though the storm clouds had moved in and settled directly over my head. Dell was a sniffer, and was bred to ferret out small game from tight spaces. If I couldn't find him, surely he would make his way home, I reasoned.

I had reached the section of road with heavy two way traffic. A small portion of the walk, but one that must be managed with keen awareness to oncoming cars. I traversed this area disheartened to say the least.

Dell had never been struck by anyone. No tool of illwill had ever graced his snout. He was corrected when necessary, yes ~ but not with harsh means. A newspaper rolled is louder than it is painful; a smack under the jaw imposes a self inflicting clenching of teeth that need not be repeated. Dell is a lover, not a fighter.

"Love me, and I'll love you back."
is Dell's motto.

When I happened upon a man taking out his trash against the busy highway, I thought to ask if he'd seen my dog.

I didn't have time to utter a word.

Excitedly, the man engaged me. Pointing wildly at his fenceline and frantically sharing the details of an accident that had occurred on his property the night before, he drew me in to view the damage.

Shortly, his wife was by his side, sharing her version of the events that had transpired.

In all honesty, I was very interested in their story. I was even more interested when they told me what they do for a living: the little house before me was a quilting workshop, where quilts and custom draperies had been fashioned. Their wares graced the windows of hundreds of Gulf Coast establishments and bedrooms of countless hotels and homes.

Listening intently and politely, I would nod at appropriate times. Within me, though, my voice was calling for my dog. "Perhaps he tried to swim home? What if he drowned?" I'd never actually seen my dog swim, although I was confident he could. Dread kept me from thinking clearly. "This traffic!" as cars swooshed past me, the baby, and the couple. "He certainly is too green so as to manuever this road on his own!"

As soon as I'd have a dog-thought, the woman would venture another piece of amazing information about the incident on her property, or the career she held. I really, really wanted to get to know her. "Ma'am, I must - really, I must - find my dog . . .perhaps another time, you'd allow me a visit? I'd love to see your machine . . ."
"Where is your dog? . . .THAT man? . . . Oh my gosh . . ." as she ranted about him, some nebulous detail from days gone by. It was easy to hear she was unimpressed by her neighbor. "Here ~ bring the baby . . .you'll notice that the car broke through the wall, coming mere inches away from our $17,000 quilting machine . . ."

And soon, propelled by Southern social graces as they drew me in, I was standing in a smallish building that held ream upon ream of fabrics; factory quality sewing machines, and a quilter. Chatting, chatting, chatting. "Hurricane this, hurricane that . . . We quiltled this; we quilted that . . ."

"How do I bow out of this gracefully?" I thought, in a half stunned amazement at the work station before me, and the searing concern that penetrated my heart.

To my relief, the insurance adjuster arrived at that moment.
I was free.

My steps now took me off the main road, and back into the quiet section of the last leg around the lake.

"DELL!" I called. "D E L L ! ! !"


My emotions ranged from intense fury to hot tears to confidence that he would return on his own.

I turned the corner of my house to glance hopefully upon the deck. Surely my dog had come home. Surely he lay, panting, waiting for me.

I felt crushed.

Another wave of anger towards the man that seemed to know nothing about being neighborly, and about dogs in particular, motivated me to the car. Snapping Keller into the car seat, I backed out of the driveway.

"I won't give him the benefit of seeing me look for my dog." I stated to myself, and turned so as to retrace my most recent steps.

My eyes scanned the water, the lake edges, the neighboring dogs, lying placidly in their own back yards. I drove slowly past the little shop that graced the street side, peering into people's fences, calling Dell's name.


Soon I came to the place where I had confronted the Bicycle Man. A woman moved about her yard to the left. Was that a dog I just saw?


I continued.

Slowly, slowly, slowly. Now I was directly in front of the gully where Dell had taken his cooling off splash. I stopped.

Nothing moved.

There was no sound.

I called for my dog.

My periphrial vision caught movement.

Turning my head, I thought I saw a small black and silver dog run a fenceline.

Could it be? I thought to myself. Backing up, then stopping, I yelled his name again.

Unmistakable were the ears that stopped short and turned my direction.

That champion showmanship stance gave him away.

Blood rushed my face, hot tears filled my eyes. I turned around and sped back to where I had seen the woman.

"Did you loose a dog?" I might as well have been speaking to Audrey Hepburn in person, her features were so remarkably similar.

Kindness spilled out of her very being, as she recounted how her daughter had found Dell, my normally happy and assertive minature schnauzer, afraid and cowering under the stairwell, and coaxed him out with loving gestures.

Dell was soon in my arms, as glad to see me as I was him, and the friendly neighbors more than willing to hear my story, share thier educated dog handling skills, and affirm me with remarks of the difficulty of the Bicycle Man in other neighborly endeavors.

Relief came in the form of nurturing Dell's noggin; his eye swollen from the bruising he had endured.

The canvas of the day distressed, I sought to settle my feelings through the process of words. Peace came when the GilGuy responded to my tale of the day. "Angi, walking sans leash carries a fine, no doubt. Yet animal cruelty? That is a felony. What this man has waged against Dell is the greater crime."

My thoughts turned at day's end to the intention of my walk in the first place. "Walk With Me" had been my blogtitle in progress, a picture of our daily commune with the Lord, abiding in His presence.

Perhaps the trauma I'd experienced wasn't so far away from that working title after all.

The choice to utilize the restraint of soulish passions and anger at injustice.

A confrontation with an expected end of peace.

New neighbors met, with foundations for relationship built.
A dog, a woman, and a baby.

Impacting a community by unusual means, and somehow, despite the negative connotations, making the most of it.

In my trauma, did I pass the "What Would Jesus Do?" test?

I certainly hope so.


Dawn Sodini said...

Glad that all has ended well. From what you wrote you definately passed the WWJD? test. How long did this experience last- when you finally found Dell? Sorry you had such a trying experience.

Joyce said...

So sad to read your tale, dear one!!

Sorry the quilters thought they'd talk your leg off. Maybe you'll find another day to visit. You can tell me all about it! :)

mary grace said...

SO sad to read this, but so happy that the ending has you with arms full of puppy goodness.

~ Denise ~ said...

Funny...I didn't have any issues when Dell and I took to the lake. lol Ok, so that's just really rubbing it in eh? for real - you ok, chickie?

~ Denise ~ said...
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~ Denise ~ said...
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Beth said...

I am very thankful your day ended will with Dell home safely where he belongs. I can't believe the cruelty of the bicycle man. I think you did well with you WWJD test, you have such a sweet spirit.

Sharon (sk) said...

You don't worry about being mad... I'll be mad enough for you... ARGH! The NERVE of that man. It just shocks me that people can be so full of hate towards others like that. And to take it out on a dog... and a woman... because honestly, he was emotionally taking it out on you as well. I have to wonder... if you would have been a man would he have been as brave and done the same thing? Probably not.

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