An Extraordinary New Year’s Eve

Last night I was spending New Years Eve with my good friend and neighbor, Yone, when we decided that a game was in order. (Full disclosure: Yone and I celebrate ‘New Jersey New Years’ and call it a night at 9:00 p.m. here in the Pacific time zone!) At 7:30 or so we set out for my house a block away to fetch the Scrabble set. On the way there we met our neighbor, Ryan, who had a dog in tow. A few minutes earlier, Ryan had opened his front door, and the dog had run into his house. He had never seen the dog before, and now was looking for its owner. He thought Yone and I might be able to help because as Neighborhood Watch block captains we are in contact with a lot of people in the area. But we did not recognize this friendly, shiny black dog, with a white blaze on its snout.IMG_20131231_202456Yone told Ryan that he would probably need to keep the dog for the night, then tomorrow morning take it to the Banfield Pet Hospital to see if it had a microchip for identifying the owner.

Our Neighborhood Watch group (which now includes about 42 households) maintains an email list for letting people know of any concerns in the area. So when we returned to Yone’s house, we sent out an email alert to the group, including the above picture. A woman from our group saw the email and recognized the dog. She called her friend who quickly came over and was happily, gratefully, reunited with ‘Max.’ He told us that a couple hours earlier, the children had accidentally left the door open and Max had wandered away before they realized it. And they were extra worried because Max’s tag had recently fallen off his collar.

But now Max was returned to his family. What a great example of what a Neighborhood Watch group can do!

And there is another amazing part to this story. Max lives several blocks away from where he was found, down a big hill and across Barbur Boulevard which is a major four-lane thoroughfare. Somehow, Max had crossed the highway, climbed the hill, and ventured through the neighborhood to the home of Ryan, a caring, thoughtful person, and a dog owner himself. A bit of a New Years miracle, I’d say! It was great to wrap up the last hours of 2013 with an experience that affirms the benefits of living in community. I know that 2014 is the Year of the Horse, but for me it will be the Year of the Dog. Happy new year, everyone.


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