Through the Kindness of Strangers
by Staci Roberts Beam
The other day I took our two English bulldogs to PetCo on Ashland Avenue here
in Chicago. Bulldogs are, as a rule, very lazy dogs.
Staci with her bulldogs
As the sales associate,
Erik, was helping me put a new collar on my bully named Georgia, craziness
happened. We took her old collar off and before we could put the new one on
she traipsed toward the front door. The door automatically opens. And it did.
During rush hour.
Georgia moseyed out but then took off like a greyhound. I dropped the leash of
our other bully, Humphrey, and went racing after her--in flip flops, no bra on,
a fleece shirt in 80 degree weather. Erik followed and soon passed me.
Georgia ran through traffic, zig-zagged into the neighborhood, ran down an
alley--racing like, well, a race dog. She then raced back into traffic on
I was screaming, running through traffic, holding up my hands to stop traffic.
Erik from PetCo was running much faster than me and could track her better.
It was if she was on a drug. I came across a gentleman as I was running
frantically, and he said, "Can I help?" I shouted, "Please, yes!" He raced to
his SUV, parked it, and joined in the chase. We ran for 8 or 9 blocks.
Georgia crossed back across Ashland and I heard tires screech. We kept
running. Now three people were in pursuit, shouting at people to "stop that
dog!" She was running like a bat out of hell. Far ahead, I could see Erik
waving to me, I could tell someone stopped Georgia. I came across two other
people, a man and a woman, whom I don't think knew each other. But they
stopped Georgia. The woman lives on Ashland, so we took Georgia to her house
to hose her down and force water in her mouth. Bulldogs can easily die if they
get overheated-- and she was just that.
The gentleman from the SUV saw we had her, so he just walked away after doing
his amazing deed. The lovely lady brought out a water bowl for Georgia and
GAVE us a leash for her. THEN, a young couple with two young girls pulled
over and asked, "Hey, does your husband have a white t-shirt on and
gray-flecked hair?" I felt I was in Twilight Zone. Apparently my husband Bill
had been getting his city sticker at a locale on Ashland and saw me racing by.
He looked so perplexed that this couple asked what the trouble was. They had
apparently seen me BEFORE they saw my husband, and asked if I had on a green
shirt. I did.
As I'm wondering how to get Georgia back to PetCo, this same couple pulls
up and offers to drive me back there. Erik from PetCo got a ride from his
co-worker who was driving by at that moment. I got back to PetCo, got my other
bully (whom they kept there, thank God), and the lovely couple put Georgia in
my car. I don't know any of these people; they saw me on the street, looking
frantic, and took the time to help me. I feel such gratitude for the kindness
Georgia, the star of this drama
So that's 6 people who helped me get Georgia back home. I wish I knew all of
their names, but I only know Erik because he had a nametag on--and Erik chased
Georgia the ENTIRE way with me. As I was leaving PetCo I said, "I guess we
learned to leave the old collar and leash on until we get the new one on."
What amazing people these folks are. I wish I could send them all a thank you
note. BTW, I felt this entire ordeal lasted an hour. But it was approximately
30 minutes. Still, that's a lot of sprinting for humans and dogs.
Can you IMAGINE?
Staci and the dogs during a more relaxed moment
Staci Roberts Beam is Director of Strategic Communications at Northwestern
University in Chicago.