Jeremy Stein - Journal

« »

Dog Chase

As I drove down our quiet suburban street on my way to work this morning, I saw a woman in a pickup truck pull into a neighbor’s driveway. She stepped out of the truck and stepped toward a small black dog that had been running in that direction. The dog immediately changed direction and started running toward me. Ah, I recognize that situation. I’ve found myself doing the same (though with a much larger dog). Copper (my dog) would go to anyone else but me. I thought perhaps the same would be true of this rodent-size dog and I stopped my car to assist. I kneeled and called the dog. He darted off the other way, running into the street to go around the pickup truck. It hadn’t worked, but now I was determined to help.

I followed the pickup truck to the next round-up location. The same thing happened — the dog only ran from me further down the street. At the next stop, I went past the pick-up truck to assure that I would scare the dog back toward our safe suburban neighborhood and away from the major street we were approaching. Again, my plan backfired. As I tried to corner the dog, he dashed past me across a church lawn toward the major road.

I did not want to be responsible for causing this dog to run into the street, so I tried to head him off and corral him back toward safety. That little dog was fast! Sprinting, I was only slightly faster than he. We were both running toward the road. I shifted my course to force him away from the road. I then learned that dogs, particularly little dogs, can stop much faster than a sprinting man. He stopped, and as I tried to do the same without sliding across the grass, he took the opportunity to dash across four lanes of traffic. Thankfully, the cars stopped. I waved my thanks as I followed at full speed.

That crazy dog was heading for the onramp. I was determined to stop him. Just before he crossed into traffic again, I dove (in my dress clothes) and grabbed his back. He nipped at me and I withdrew my hand, but then I grabbed at his collar. He twisted and bit my hand, but now we were both stopped and I was within reaching distance.

Now, this is the part where I’m supposed to pick up the dog and bring him safely back to his owner. However, I hadn’t fully thought through this part of the capture. I’ve caught my dog before. I grab his collar and lead him back home. He never bites. I’ve caught my cat before. I grab him by the back of his neck and he limply accedes. But I had no idea how to grab this rodent dog without further damage to my person. After a few seconds of standstill with him lying on his back prepared to defend himself and I leaning over him contemplating my next move, I decided to act. I grabbed his collar, intending to lift him much like I’d lift my cat (though my cat is larger). He gave me a nasty little bite on my arm and dashed into traffic heading up the onramp. I stood up and felt my knees buckle under me. There is no way I could catch him again.

I walked back toward my car and stopped by the pickup truck to apologize for running her dog to his likely death. She didn’t seem too upset; I wonder why. When I finally got back to my car, I drove up that same onramp to get to work. I didn’t see any recent roadkill, so he might actually have made it alive.

It took me a long time to recover from that sprint. Perhaps this was payment for skipping my jog this morning to get to work early. Now I’ve got grass stains on my work pants and a couple of dog bites to show for it, and I still didn’t get there any earlier.

November 4, 2005 3 Comments.


  1. Kelly replied:

    I was waiting for the end where you discovered it wasn’t even her dog. Nice brownie points you racked up, even though you were unsuccessful.

    November 5th, 2005 at 12:15 pm. Permalink.

  2. Jeremy replied:

    It’s interesting you mention that, Kelly. When I returned to the woman, she was talking on her cell phone. I got the impression she may have been talking to the owner, but that’s just a guess. Maybe you’re right!

    November 5th, 2005 at 5:22 pm. Permalink.

  3. matt smith replied:


    I just waved to you on 490 this morning. I was the crazy guy in the black pick-up, driving too fast. Thought I’d say hi, and posting a comment to your most recent story seemed to be the easiest way.

    I’m sometimes bothered by the sheer number of strangers that I see during the two hours of driving each day. All those people that I will probably never see again, and I wouldn’t recogize them even if I did. It makes my brain hurt. So, seeing a familiar face is a little reassuring.

    I poked around your site a little and enjoyed the warm fuzziness of common experience: I’ve also received the very well-crafted ebay scam email, and I recently put The Pragmatic Programmer on my holiday wishlist, too.

    Well, you’ve got my email if you ever need it. Have a good one. Apologies if I ever tailgate or cut you off in traffic.

    – matt

    November 8th, 2005 at 8:54 am. Permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *