The following story is a finalist in the Pawsitively Picture Perfect photo contest. The top three finishers will receive $500 in cash, as well as $2,000 in cash and supplies for their favorite shelter. Voting runs through June 1. To read more stories and cast your vote, click here!
We had her only a month, 30 days to be exact. She had been a stray that someone decided not to keep. She was a couple of years old. She was scared, but sweet. We named her Kona.
It was a Monday afternoon. My three dogs and I were taking our daily walk on a major street. I had crossed a busy intersection and pulled up on their leashes to put them in the heel mode. Kona’s prong collar came off! I tried to be calm, but she sensed my worry. I tried to put the collar back on, but she got startled, squeezed backwards between my legs, and ran into the right turn lane of the eight-lane road.
She turned around and came back to the sidewalk. I couldn’t believe she didn’t get hit since that lane had the green light. The next thing I knew, she was headed west on the sidewalk with no intention of coming back to my pleading calls. I started running after her and screaming her name. The last time I saw her, she was running up a hill and out of sight.
I searched the nearby apartment complex. I stopped at a restaurant to call our answering machine. My poor husband. He came home to a hysterical message from me: “I’ve lost Kona! Come to the high school and help me!”
Since it was rush hour, he had to drive in the left turn lane to quickly get to us. I gave him our other dogs, Pudder and Molly, and we both searched in opposite directions. We finally met up again and went home to get my car. Thank God she was still wearing her nylon collar with her name tag. Tom called our friend Sharon and enlisted her help. Funny thing is, she hadn’t met Kona yet. She got in her car and starting looking for a black and tan dog.
We searched until dark. The last route I tried was the freeway near our home. I had avoided it because I was afraid that I would find her body. Thank God I didn’t. We came home, called the police and waited for the phone to ring. It didn’t.
The ache in my heart and the pain in my stomach and head were unbearable. I blamed myself. I blamed the manufacturer of the collar. I couldn’t look my husband in the eyes. I felt so guilty. It wasn’t fair. We love our dogs. We don’t have any human kids. We train them to come when called so they will be safe. There hadn’t been enough time to train Kona to come when called. There hadn’t been time for her to learn to trust us. She didn’t even know her name yet. She was still a baby. Remember, we had her only a month.
We both went to bed. I moved to the couch to try to rest. In the meantime, a skunk had decided to visit our backyard (this is not unusual). I got up and closed the window. I went to the bedroom and got Molly. I needed someone to comfort me. I must have dozed off. The next thing I knew, Molly was crying and pacing back and forth from the doorway to the dining room window. I assumed she smelled the skunk. I got up and cracked the window so she could smell better.
That’s when I saw the movement in the backyard. “What the heck?” I said out loud. “No way! It couldn’t be!” I ran to the backdoor, flipped on the light and saw her on the porch! I screamed “KONA!” The poor dog jumped off the porch out of sheer terror. I quietly said, “Kona, good girl, come on, come in the house.” Molly was at my side and silently convinced Kona to come in the house. She did! I then began screaming “TOM, SHE’S HOME! SHE CAME HOME!” My husband ran down the hall thinking I was having a nightmare. He turned into the kitchen, stopped dead in his tracks, his eyes as wide as could be, and said, “WHERE DID SHE COME FROM?”
I continued screaming and crying and laughing, “Oh my God, she found her way home! Thank you God, thank you sweet Jesus!” She smelled a little of skunk and had burrs on her tummy. She was hungry and thirsty. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
We gave her a quick bath, a bowl of food, and some water, and she proceeded to fall asleep on her bed. She had been gone a total of 7.5 hours in a busy suburb. I had walked that route no more than five times with her. I don’t know if she would have barked or cried or waited on the porch until morning. Or worse, left. I am so thankful to Molly. She knew her “sister” had come home. I am amazed at Kona’s ability to make it back to her new home that was over a mile away. She must have thought, “I like that place, I think I’ll go home.”
This story was submitted by Laura Shaw, in support of K 9 Stray Rescue League. To read other stories from the Pawsitively Picture Perfect photo contest, and to cast your vote for your favorite, click here!