Robert U. Montgomery

Pippa and Zeus: Tales of Two Lost Dogs

Just about six years ago, I lost my best friend, Pippa.

I had adopted her a few months before. She was an adult dog who had spent her first two years of life in a shelter, and adjusting to life in the outside world was both exhilarating and frightening for her.

For example, with a stream-lined body, she was born to run, and now she could. And she did, often streaking in joyful manic circles around the yard after we came back from long walks. She daily rolled on her back in the grass, moaning ecstatically. And when it was just the two of us, she was the happiest dog in the world.

But strangers frightened her. So did sudden noises. And on that fateful day six years ago, a week before Fourth of July, someone set off firecrackers early on a Saturday morning.


Pippa loves rolling in the grass

Pippa and Zeus: Tales of Two Lost Dogs



Just about six years ago, I lost my best friend, Pippa.

I had adopted her a few months before. She was an adult dog who had spent her first two years of life in a shelter, and adjusting to life in the outside world was both exhilarating and frightening for her.

For example, with a stream-lined body, she was born to run, and now she could. And she did, often streaking in joyful manic circles around the yard after we came back from long walks. She daily rolled on her back in the grass, moaning ecstatically. And when it was just the two of us, she was the happiest dog in the world.

But strangers frightened her. So did sudden noises. And on that fateful day six years ago, a week before Fourth of July, someone set off firecrackers early on a Saturday morning.

The first "pop" brought instant panic to her eyes and she started to run away. Frantically I called and coaxed and finally gained her attention. She slowed and crept back toward me. But just as I was about to pull her to me and snap on her leash, a second firecracker exploded . . . And she was gone.

But there's a happy ending to the story. By a miraculous set of circumstances, we were united several days later and Pippa remains my best friend today.

Curious about how that happened? You can find out in
Pippa's Journey: Tail-Wagging Tales of Rescue Dogs. I write about Pippa's discovery of the world and how we learned to be best friends. Additionally, Pippa shares her insights about adopting an adult human, and we've included other heart-warming tales of rescue dogs

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Now I'd like to tell you about my recent encounter with another lost dog, a large, male yellow Lab.

Driving on a little-traveled gravel road, I saw him bounding about. His frenetic behavior suggested that he was an "escapee" exploring new territory.
As I slowed, he came galloping toward my car and then actually ran alongside me.

Well . . . I couldn't just drive away and leave him. I stopped.

Before I could get the car door even halfway open, I suddenly had 100-pounds of slobbering, goofy love halfway in my lap. Now what?

At least he had a collar. I looked for tags, as I struggled to avoid both his tongue and his determined attempts to join me in the driver's seat. None. But then I saw his name, Zeus, on the collar and a phone number.

Using my serious voice to call his name, I finally managed to get his attention and moved him out onto the road again. Keeping one hand on his collar, I used the other to pull my phone out of a jacket pocket and call the number. It wasn't easy.

And no one answered. Now what? I had somewhere to be and I certainly couldn't take a stranger's dog with me. Nor did I want to leave him alone.

Suddenly I remembered seeing two yellow Labs at a house on the morning route that I walk with Pippa. I drove there with Zeus in the backseat, drooling over my shoulder and licking my ears.

No one was home. But through a glass door I saw a second yellow Lab, and, when she saw Zeus, she started bouncing with joy. Zeus responded in kind.

And the door was not locked. I opened it and Zeus streaked inside.

That's when I realized that I'd done a very good thing --- or a very bad thing.

What if Zeus didn't live here? What if I'd just let him into the house of a stranger who, by coincidence, had a female yellow Lab in heat inside?

Fortunately, my concern quickly vanished. As I backed out of the driveway, the dogs' owner pulled up. She had been looking for Zeus and was on the phone to the police when I tried to call her.

She was grateful and I was happy --- both because I hadn't screwed up and Zeus was reunited with his family.


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