The day I met Moose it was very warm and partly cloudy with a strong chance of rain.
I had just covered a story on the excellent children’s programs offered through the summer at the Elkin Public Library when I stepped outside and chatted with a few patrons of the programs. As I began walking off one of the children asked me, “Hey, is that your dog?”
I turned around to find a large chocolate lab, wet from head to toe, walking about 10 feet behind me. “No, he’s not my dog,” I said as I watched him to see where he was headed. He stopped to sniff some flowers, grass and mark his territory as dogs tend to do.
I kept walking, sure the dog would find his way home but checking every few steps to make sure he didn’t head for the road. I noticed that as I walked, the dog followed and when I turned around, he stopped to sniff something. I was starting to get a complex, wondering if indeed the dog was trying to stalk me on the sly.
Eventually, I realized he was going to keep heading down Main Street and probably needed someone to keep him out of traffic. When I reached my car and called to him he eagerly came. I read his name tag that stated his name as MOOSE. That’s accurate, I thought to myself when I looked at the large size of the jolly fella. The tag also contained a phone number which I decided was a good place to start when hoping to secure Moose’s safe return.
I stood at my car, contemplating what to do with Moose while I phoned his owner. He was still soaking wet, my car was clean and having it smell like wet dog did not sound like the most appeasing option. Then I remembered I had recently taken my dog on an outing and his leash was in the back of my car.
As I dug in my car for the leash Moose stayed beside me, content to be my friend.
I secured him on the leash and noticed the kind folks at Fiddle’s sitting in front of their restaurant, watching the events transpire. As the clouds began to open up and a downpour came upon us, we took shelter under the Fiddle’s awning with the owners who, thankfully, are dog lovers, too.
I called the number on Moose’s collar and left a message. Without knowing when the owner would call back and not wanting Moose to wander around the streets of Elkin, I decided bringing him back to The Tribune office was my best bet. Knowing that most of my coworkers are animal lovers, even wet ones, and since the cat that previously resided in the office had long been evicted, I figured Moose could take refuge until someone from his family could be contacted.
We walked along Main Street, making a most unusual pair. Moose walked as far ahead as possible while I tried my best to keep up in the most inappropriate walking shoes ever. Eventually we reached the office where I informed everyone “Hey! I found a dog! This is Moose!” Everyone happily greeted him, including our secretary Phyllis who immediately began helping me track down his parents.
Phyllis gave me phone numbers and I was quickly able to contact Moose’s “grandparents” who would happily come by to pick up their granddog. In the meantime, Moose visited with everyone in the office, making several laps in the cool air conditioning before finally settling down for a rest.
When his people came to pick him up, Moose was overwhelmed with joy. His tail wagged uncontrollably and he jumped up and down.
With the help of his caretaker, we quickly loaded him up to begin his trek home.
While I enjoyed meeting him, I have a hypothesis about how Moose must view the day and his incredible adventure. I imagine it starting out with him at home, perhaps in the yard or the floor of the house. I picture Moose thinking to himself, “Man, this is another really hot day and I can’t hardly stand it. I’m heading to the creek for a swim.” After all, it is summer break.
I imagine Moose heading to Elkin Creek, dipping his paws before fully submerging himself in the cool waters that flow under the shade trees. He may have seen a few fish to chase or maybe even a water fowl or two. After getting nice and cool from head to toe, he followed his nose to the scent of hamburgers and hot dogs on Main Street. He met some kind people at Fiddle’s and an annoying lady from the newspaper office put a leash on him before leading him to an old, cool building filled with lots of stuff to sniff. After exploring to his heart’s content, he laid down, not sure if he would ever leave but at least the people seemed nice. After resting for a few moments, one of his favorite people in the whole world found him, rescued him and his adventure reached its conclusion.
At least I’m pretty sure that’s how he would view the day.
Karen Holbrook may be reached at 336-258-4059 or on Twitter @KarenHolbrook00.