A lost puppy
I had an interesting start to 2014. But before I get into that, let me explain a little why I have been absent from the blogosphere for so long. Yes it is true that I had a lot of work stress and all the holiday merriment took its toll but I also have to admit that part of the reason I have been so silent is that I have not been in a good place with training. I continue to deal with the pain from my injured knee and I also managed to injure the good knee as well. The second injury is doing much better but because it was hurt for a while, I ended up having to put more weight on my bad knee and it is in a lot of pain.
I have been really down about the fact that my body seems to be at war with my soul. I want nothing more than to get back to the mats full time and resume my pre-injury training regime but my body seems to be telling me that it is not ready. So that’s what I’ve been up to…now back to the start of 2014.
I had decided early in the week that I did not want to do anything for New Year’s Eve. I was talking to a friend who also mentioned that she was planning to stay home and we decided to do nothing together.
So we spent New Year’s Eve watching TV and movies and eating Chinese food and cookies. It was actually very relaxed and fun and just the low-key kind of night I was hoping for. When she left to go home, I walked her to the front door of my building because I live in a labyrinth of hallways that my friends often have trouble navigating.
When she opened the door to go outside, we noticed a dog had been sitting at the door and he came rushing into the building. I immediately recognized him as another resident’s dog. I often see him being walked and I know his owner tends to walk him without a leash so I figured that the owner was also on the way in. My friend looked outside and said she didn’t see anyone out there and I realized that the dog was not wearing the harness I usually see him in when walking (I realize I might sound sort of like a creepy stalker but I just really love animals so I tend to notice them).
Once I assured my friend that I knew the dog belonged in the building and I’d get him home, she left and I waited in the lobby for a while, figuring that the dog had escaped his owner and the owner would soon come to claim him. As I waited, other residents and their guests came down and I asked them all if they knew who the dog belonged to. No one did (and many seemed to have had a little too much fun ringing in the new year so were not much help).
I started to worry that the dog’s owner was not going to come in and I started to wonder what I could do at that time (around 1:15am) to find him. I didn’t think my neighbors would take too kindly to me knocking on everyone’s door and asking “do you know this dog?”. Every time the elevator opened the dog tried to get on it and it occurred to me that I had seen him on the elevator with his owner many times. I was pretty sure that the dog and his owner lived close to me as I have seen them in my hall lots of times so I called the elevator and prepared to head to my floor.
As soon as the elevator opened, the dog got in and looked at me as if he was waiting for me to follow. I got in and pushed the button for my floor. When we stopped on the floor the dog got out and once again waited for me to follow. As I started to wonder what direction I should take him to look for his owner, he calmly started walking down the hall. I realized he was now in charge and resigned myself to following him to see where we would end up.
He very slowly and calmly led me through the same labyrinth of halls I’d just helped my friend through. He would occasionally stop to sniff something or listen to a noise until eventually he took a seat on the welcome mat in front of a door. I thought he might have sat down to take a break from walking (he is an adorably lazy bulldog of some kind) but he looked up at me in a way that made me think that he was pretty sure this was his house. I had some reservations about knocking on the door in case the dog was wrong as it was now almost 1:30 but when I looked at him again, he was still calmly looking up at me with a lot of certainty in his eyes.
I knocked and waited to see if I was about to really piss off a neighbor or about to become someone’s best friend for returning his dog. No one answered. I tried again a little louder and still no one came to the door. I started to worry again. What if the owner was asleep and couldn’t hear me? What if he was out of town? What was I going to do with the dog? I decided that I should take him to my condo and come up with a plan to find the owner. It was too late to knock on everyone’s door so if nothing else, I figured he could spend the night in my house and we could find his owner in the morning.
I tried to call the dog and get him to follow me but he just sat there looking at me curiously. I tried to move him by grabbing the scruff of his neck but he would not budge. Right or wrong, he decided he was home. I stood in the hallway for a while wondering what to do. I thought I could probably leave him there and his owner would get home eventually but I couldn’t bring myself to leave him alone in the hall.
I looked down at him again ready to plead with him to move but he had such a strong, steady look in his eyes that I knew it would not work. He had been on a journey I knew nothing about and found his way home. He was not going to leave it for me or anything else.
As I began to wonder if people would think I was weird for sleeping in the hall, I heard the door to the stairs open and around the corner came the dog’s owner. He stopped in shock in the middle of the hallway and then smiled. I walked up to meet him and explained I had found his dog outside the building. He told me the dog had been missing for a while. I didn’t think at the time to ask how long but clearly longer than that night.
I couldn’t help but ask if the dog was indeed sitting in front of his house and his owner confirmed that yes he was. I told him that I was glad the dog had found his way home and then headed off to my condo and my bed. However once I got there I couldn’t stop thinking about the strange circumstances that led the dog home that night.
I do tend to believe that things happen in life for a reason and I kept wondering why the universe had sent me a lost dog that night. Most of us are probably familiar with the saying that someone is following someone around like a lost puppy. However in this case, instead of the lost puppy following me around, he very calmly and assuredly led me to where he needed to go. I started to think about my frustration with training and how it was all stemming from me not being able to do what I used to do. I think maybe the universe was trying to tell me that sometimes I have to let go of what I believe is the right path and follow the lost dog to see where I’m meant to go.