More Kindness From Stockport Strangers

1 Feb

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When I left you yesterday I was bumped, scraped, shaking and crying like a tumbled toddler; and Toby was haring down to the business park off the slip road, having avoided every vehicle on an incredibly busy intersection.  I use the word ‘haring’ deliberately – one helpful stranger said that when she first saw him, he was running so fast, she thought he was a rabbit.  If we ever catch him, we’re thinking of entering him into greyhound races as the mechanical hare.

I didn’t know what to do.  A cyclist and several motorists had all stopped to tell me that they’d go after him.  I didn’t know whether to wait where I was for them to come back, or follow my dog…my dogs!  I had two dogs, one of whom I’d recklessly abandoned to chase the other.  I phoned Pam, my walking companion, and she reassured me that she had Molly safe.  We arranged a meeting place so that I could give her my house keys and she could take Molly home via our usual walk, on the off-chance that Toby had run that way.

I think Pam managed to grasp my instructions between my dry heaves and gasps, because she found me, took my keys and gave me the lead.  She carried Molly all the way home because Molly, having been carried so far, refused to walk.  Molly was born to be a handbag dog.  Her only regret in having me as her darling is that my main ambition in life is to have a handbag so empty, pockets will suffice (yes, I am a woman.  I’ve been tested).

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What happened next is a bit of a blur.  I know people stopped to ask if I was okay; to offer help/lifts/comfort; to tell me they’d seen my dog – a big husky, right?  All of these drivers pulled over in rush hour traffic to help a complete stranger in obvious distress.  There was a fireman, a businessman, truckers and more.

At some point, a man who works for one of Stockport Council’s service providers told me to get in his truck and he and his mate would take me to where they had last seen Toby.  His mate was apologetic but adamant that I couldn’t get in because of insurance issues.  No problem, said the first man; he’d walk me down and his mate would follow.  I went with him but I don’t remember getting from one side of the intersection to the other.  I think I was a little dazed.

The kind man then got back in his truck and went off in search of my dog.  I walked in the same direction, calling Toby, still crying and shaking but thinking, somewhere deep in the bowels of my mind, I hope I haven’t put holes in the knees of these pants.  I love them and I’ve only had them a month.  It’s all about the priorities with me.

A blue van appeared and a nice man invited me to get in.  I did.  I can’t believe how easily I was prepared to drive off with total strangers.  I can’t believe how the media have lied to me all these years – no one molested me in any way and every one just wanted to help.  The man took me round the back of the business park, where a man out of a white van told me a bunch of people had tried to catch Toby but he had run off round the back of the buildings and they had all gone after him, some in their cars, some on foot.

He suggested I go one way and he go another, in a circle to try and head him off. He pointed to a woman slowing down in her white van (this was a business area; white vans are de rigeur in business areas) and told me she had trailed my dog.  As I was chatting to her – mostly me saying, ‘Thankyousomucheveryonehasbeensokind’ between sobs and over her as she tried to tell me what had happened, the white van man shouted, ‘There he is!’

Toby was running towards me!  He must have run all the way around the fairly large business park.  I ran towards him, shouting his name, so of course he turned-tail and ran off in the opposite direction.

Desperation focused my mind at last: I yelled, ‘Where’s Hub?  Where’s Hub?’ The Hub is the love of Toby’s life (and vice-versa): he slowed down; he turned; he hesitated; and then reluctantly headed in my direction, not entirely sure he could trust the woman yelling his beloved’s name.

Then he realised it was me.  Not for Toby an enthusiastic gallop into my arms – he turned his back to me, which is his way of saying, Pick me up, please.  

And I did.

47 Responses to “More Kindness From Stockport Strangers”

  1. jmgoyder February 1, 2014 at 15:34 #

    I nearly had a heart attack reading this!


  2. Ron. February 1, 2014 at 15:48 #

    Ad-ven-ture and a half. All that ends well…
    I’m lucky to live where such help from complete strangers is also common.
    Did your pants survive?


  3. February 1, 2014 at 15:51 #

    What an adventure! All those helpful men! Pity Toby is a man’s dog. If it had been Molly who’d got lost, she’d have been snuggling up to you long before.


  4. laurieanichols February 1, 2014 at 16:08 #

    What a suspense story! This story is why I think that I am mostly optimistic, never underestimate the kindness of strangers, you had an incredible army of kind and compassionate strangers all focused on the rescue of Toby. Gives us hope for the world despite all the horrible stories in the news. The Hub must have been hugging Toby for hours afterwards when you told him about the whole adventure. How are your pants?


  5. misswhiplash February 1, 2014 at 16:18 #

    sorry about your scraped knees and your damage to your pants and I am sorry it was so upsetting for you but I am so pleased that Toby was found safe and goodness that was a day and a half!!! but it gave you two days post , so in a way it was beneficial..sort of


  6. penpusherpen February 1, 2014 at 17:15 #

    for some reason quite unbeknowst to me, I clicked a link from Sir A’s (Toms) blog, and landed here, once I started reading it all came back, the day My Girl ( Bess The Mad Border Collie) was spooked in the woods by a Posse of School Kids on a ramble, wow, I’ve never been so scared, tearful, beside myself (so there was two of us searching) with fear and all such emotions combined that you mention in your piece above. I aged, I’m sure, within a matter of minutes, and she? was waitng for me at home, on the doorstep. Was I mad!! Nope, just thankful, and tearful and shaking and… allsorts. She’s passed now, ( 2011, it still hurts) but OMG I can empathise. so much. and laugh too. xPenx


  7. judyt54 February 1, 2014 at 17:19 #

    oh my dear woman, this is so funny and harrowing and true, and at the end i am sitting here in tears…what we go through for the animals we live with…and all those amazing people who helped you–I’m awash with the image of a relatively small woman carrying a relatively large dog, comforting each other…


    • The Laughing Housewife February 1, 2014 at 17:33 #

      I never thought I’d love an animal as much as I do – two animals, actually. Like children, they break our hearts, wear us out, and are worth every grey hair 🙂


  8. rebecca2000 February 1, 2014 at 17:45 #

    My dog is always trying to run away from me. I’m starting to take it personally.


  9. SchmidleysScribbling February 1, 2014 at 18:06 #

    Our dogs escape through the front door, usually when we are leaving the house to go somewhere. If I start the car, Johnny comes running and hops up through the open door with the hope he will get to ride with us. Before that they are al over the street. They scare me to death, so I can appreciate your ordeal. Our neighbors have helped us corral them more than once. Yes folks are kind. No oneI I’ve met wants to see a squashed dog. Dianne


    • The Laughing Housewife February 1, 2014 at 18:07 #

      Yes, that’s really not nice.

      We know a three-legged dog; he ran out into traffic and got off lightly.


  10. colonialist February 1, 2014 at 18:50 #

    You do know that Toby has an attitude problem, don’t you? Are you quite sure he isn’t a cat?


  11. slpmartin February 1, 2014 at 19:13 #

    I’m thinking Toby must have some cat genes…the ‘back turning” thing is what gives me that suspicion.


  12. katharinetrauger February 1, 2014 at 20:28 #

    Love laughing at you.
    So sorry it costs you so! 🙂


  13. Rorybore February 1, 2014 at 22:58 #

    So happy everything turned out okay! I had this happen once too, except we were at the local fair. and it was one of my children. And I am pretty after looking frantically, they were discovered at the ice cream truck. because of course. not sure why I didn’t check there first.
    I have often wondered if having a dog would be easier — now I know. 😉


  14. rumpydog February 1, 2014 at 23:12 #

    That got me. Been there before, and it’s one of the scariest times I can recall. And yet, you have also reminded us fans that there are lots of good people out there who love and help out when needed.


  15. Grannymar February 1, 2014 at 23:37 #

    Glad you lived to tell the tale and that the runaway dog has returned. I hope you had the head checked!


    • The Laughing Housewife February 2, 2014 at 00:38 #

      My head was fine, honest. No marks or bumps; and I was careful to watch for signs of concussion. My left hand and arm took the brunt of it and, now I think about it, it was the left side of my head that hit, which means it wasn’t the whole of my face.


  16. Three Well Beings February 2, 2014 at 06:16 #

    How upsetting this must have been, but you also experienced such kindness and care from strangers. Amazing to me! I’m so glad Toby’s adventure concluded in a warm embrace! Relief!


  17. siggiofmaine February 2, 2014 at 07:19 #

    What an adventure ! I was so unsure of the ending… I had to stay up til I’d read to the end. I am so happy the ending was a good one. Hope your pants are without holes in the knees…I know what it is like to have something happen to a new favorite pair of slacks.
    Peace and love


  18. Pseu February 2, 2014 at 09:50 #

    ‘I hope I haven’t put holes in the knees of these pants. I love them and I’ve only had them a month.’
    My pants don’t have knees.

    Confused contributor


    SO pleased you are reunited.


  19. bluebee February 2, 2014 at 10:26 #

    I had to read the ending before I commented on the beginning (suspense in fiction is one thing, but in non-fiction, quite another!). Yay to you being OK (if a little battered), yay to Toby being OK, and yay to you being back. The kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing. And The Hub – a hero.


  20. bluebee February 2, 2014 at 10:54 #

    This post throws some light in the Zemanta situation


  21. bevchen February 2, 2014 at 11:43 #

    Aaaah, bloody dogs! Glad everything turned out well.


  22. anotherday2paradise February 2, 2014 at 15:12 #

    I do love a story with a happy ending. 🙂


  23. Elaine - I used to be indecisive February 2, 2014 at 16:45 #

    Phew! Thanks goodness you and Toby are both in one piece. 🙂


  24. Karen Snyder February 2, 2014 at 16:54 #

    Kids and dogs!! A conspiracy to make us old before our time! Happy to know that you and Toby are both little the worse for wear!


  25. benzeknees February 3, 2014 at 23:56 #

    Obviously Toby adores you too! How kind everyone helped you so much!


  26. Gobetween February 9, 2014 at 14:58 #

    I’m so glad you found Toby, what a relief.


  27. idiosyncratic eye February 19, 2014 at 22:32 #

    Runaways always unite communities! 😉


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