THE PET PERIODICAL
The Tail of the Tunnel
Before I moved to Santa Barbara, I lived in Oakland, California. I was a librarian, and I worked over the hills in Contra Costa County. To get there from my home, I took a major highway that went through the hills via a three-part tunnel.
The righthand tunnel always went TOWARD Contra Costa County, the lefthand tunnel always went TOWARD San Francisco, and the middle tunnel changed directions twice a day to carry the overflow traffic going toward San Francisco in the morning, and toward the suburbs at night.
This information sets the scene for tremendous traffic around three holes in a mountain every day of the year—and this was one of them.
I was in the lefthand lane, only yards away from the eastbound tunnel, when I came across a terrified German shepherd plastered against the divider between us and the middle lane, with nowhere to go.
Because the traffic was particularly heavy, it was also very, very slow, and so I simply stopped, got out of my lefthand door and opened my rear door; and it took no invitation at all for the dog to jump right in.
One wonders how many cars before me just passed him by, and the man in the car behind me was honking furiously. Surely, some may have passed him by because they just didn’t know what to do; others may have worried about their jobs and their bosses. There were no cell phones in those days, as there are now. (That reminds me of a suggestion for the future; if you have a cell phone, at least call the highway patrol, if not for the dog’s sake, then for the accidents it might cause.)
In my case, I simply drove into a neighborhood (miles from the incident, but the first I could reach) and asked the woman there to call my office and let them know I would be taking an unforeseen day of vacation.
Then, having NO idea where the poor dog came from, I took him to the Berkeley animal shelter, which was supposed to have a pretty good reputation. Having a bunch of rescued animals, including large dogs, already, I did not dare try to keep him even temporarily. Besides, I had a hunch his owner would be trying to find him.
The really happy ending that I got, however, was a reward beyond anything I could have dreamed of or wished for—as soon as I got in the front seat, HE PUT HIS NOSE ON MY LEFT SHOULDER AND LICKED MY EAR EVERY INCH OF THE WAY.
THE PET PERIODICAL