“HEY! STOP THAT DOG!” I answered the call to action today while bicycling back home from an espresso bar in Liberty Village. A little devilish dog had Houdini’d himself from his master’s leash and was making a break for it. I don’t know if the dog had any destination in mind but the way he was running seemed like he was experiencing both the joy and fear of freedom. And whether the person who made the call for action was the dog’s owner was a moot point. That dog was darting through city streets miraculously avoiding being hit by cars yet with the laws of probability that doomsday clock could strike twelve at any moment. By happenstance I was there and so was another random cyclist. From Liberty Street the dog turned North on Jefferson Ave. Like a pair of urban cowboys on horseback the other cyclist and I were working together on our bikes trying to corral him so we can trap him and grab him. But he was too quick, small and agile. He took a sharp turn into a parking lot enclosed with fences at all sides. There was a pedestrian opening at the other end and I was pedaling hard to get to it before the dog did. If I won that race I was sure to catch him since the little devil had no where to go. But I couldn’t. He was just too damn quick.
Off down Atlantic he went towards King St, the event horizon where once passed the dog would be subjected to imminent death with heavy Saturday traffic and streetcars that can’t stop on a dime. Cars were slowing and stopping to avoid hitting the dog. And me, zigzagging on the sidewalk and roadway around people and cars trying to get to him before he made it to King. I got beside him but couldn’t grab him. Then again I got in front of him and managed to stymie his passage just a few metres from King. Up the stairway he ran back into Liberty Village and me running up behind him carrying my bike on my shoulder. By now more people answered the call and had joined pursuit.
Back through Liberty Village I rode. Cycling past the liquor store and a cafe yelling out to others to keep a doggy lookout.
Fortune smiled, the dog had darted into a bank; The doomsday clock had stopped. He had no where to go. There were several of us pursuers in the bank looking for him. Staff and customers in the bank were curious as to what was happening. I wondered if they thought this was a new way of holding up a bank, a group of people running in at once asking if anyone saw a dog and subsequently robbing everyone during the distraction.
One guy found the dog hiding under an office desk and with some coaxing managed to get a hold of him. Moments later we were all outside the bank and the other cyclist and I exchanged high fives for a job well done. Another co-pursuer, a random passerby, was still trembling from the thrill of the chase, from that adrenaline rush you get when chaos strikes and you try to manage the situation as best as you can. The dog had pee’d himself out of fear of the strangers holding him steady on the sidewalk, checking for injuries and preventing escape again. Now to find his master. Someone within the group knew the owner and made contact.
A woman ran up from the grocery store parking lot, tears streaming; The dog and owner were reunited.