I love people, and I love animals. I’m especially a dog lover, but ALL creatures are sacred to me (except spiders)
Yesterday I, and a number of others, experienced the ‘experience’ of a lifetime, when it came to ‘ pet love ‘. My daughter, who is almost 7 months pregnant, has a puppy. A beautiful little (ok, not so little) Vizsla, named Ben, He’s lovely. Big floppy ears, and the most amazing green eyes. Typical of a puppy, he’s clumsy and awkward, and has a way of always being under foot.
Well this 8 month old puppy, Ben, had a seizure 2 days ago and in their attempt to get him in the car to rush to a Veterinarian he panicked and suddenly bolted. He literally jumped out of the car and ran into the woods. The kids were frantic. They live in a community surrounded by forest and they only moved here 10 months ago. They know,,,, well,,,,no one,,,except the odd person who saw them walking a dog.
I was chopping vegetables for a chutney (totally irrelevant) when my husband got the call,,,,,a hysterical call,, from our daughter. Ben was gone and they needed help. She also posted an SOS on her and her communitys’ Facebook page. Now I am not on Facebook or Instagram, never was, never will be, because I don’t feel the need to be that connected, but in this case Facebook proved to be a lifeline for little Ben.
My husband and I literally dropped everything, jumped into the car, and drove to her neighbourhood. Cruising the area, we stopped every person we saw walking to ask if they’d seen a loose dog and every single one advised that they too were on the hunt. They’d seen the call for help on Facebook and, it seems, so had many many others. People were walking their own dogs up and down the street hoping to lure Ben in. Kids were on bikes riding the streets and calling his name. More than a dozen locals were cruising the streets in their vehicles, and a number had set up a slow moving convoy on the highway just behind the homes in case Ben ran into traffic. A group of residents who had recreational vehicles coordinated to ride through the wooded areas and a local pilot offered to send up a drone to try to find him.
Sightings were reported and all would rush to that locale but Ben remained at large. My daughter consulted with Bens’ Veterinarian who advised he was likely disoriented from the seizure but it was promising that he was conscious and mobile. The search was into its’ seventh hour, dusk was only a couple of hours away, and there had been no sightings for at least 2 hours. Hope was waning and all feared he would not be found before nightfall. Temperatures were dropping below freezing, and the woods are home to any number of animals, coyotes, in particular, are a concern. An innocent puppy wouldn’t last long in these conditions.
As my daughter and I prepared to cruise the streets again the call came in. A young boy was searching on his ATV and found Ben quite far in the woods. We would not have found him on foot, he’d gone that far. He couldn’t bring him back on the vehicle so he radioed his father who gave us the location and all able bodies headed into the woods, my 7 month pregnant daughter jogging ahead of everyone (I was sure she was going to bring on labour!) Ben was freezing so the young boy took his own coat off and wrapped it around Ben while he waited.
After about 35 minutes the group emerged from the woods with Ben in tow. His paws were bleeding, likely from running blindly through rough terrain, but he appeared otherwise no worse for the wear. A crowd had gathered on the street because after an entire day of searching people needed to make sure it was him, and not for the first time that day I was humbled at the kindness of these strangers.
The community of Waverley, Nova Scotia, is truly amazing. A fellow resident was in need and everyone came out, full force, to help. In a time when social distancing is mandatory, due to the Covid pandemic, all maintained necessary protocols, but the restrictions did not stop them from helping. The collective sigh of relief when Ben was found rippled through the whole neighbourhood and we all slept better that night knowing this innocent puppy was safe.
Now Ben will still have some challenges, namely finding out why he had a seizure in the first place, but knowing he is in the safety of a loving community brings some measure of comfort. We cannot begin to thank all those wonderful strangers who so selflessly gave their time, vehicles, and efforts to the search. In a world where most keep to themselves we all feel a renewed sense of appreciation for the kindness of strangers.
To the wonderful community of Waverley Nova Scotia and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.