He looked like he knew exactly where he was going, trotting along with determination – but in dangerous proximity to – Halsted Street, north of Ridge Road in Homewood.
Out on Saturday morning errands, my husband, Alan, and I turned into the Home Depot parking lot and began to shadow the black cocker spaniel, hoping to lure him to our car with the remains of a McDonald’s biscuit.
But the cocker wasn’t interested. He kept trotting, now heading south towards Ridge Road. By this time I was out of the car, following the dog on foot and calling the Homewood Police.
He made it safely across Ridge, into the Fannie May parking lot, then headed to Chevrolet of Homewood where, I thought, he would be safe and secure in the gated parking lot, wandering between the rows and rows of cars.
Not so. He was headed to busy Halsted Street, and by the time I reached him, the northbound traffic was, thankfully, stopped; one helpful driver even attempted to whistle the cocker over to his car. But he, again, wasn’t interested.
So off we were, across Halsted Street and into the Midas parking lot. And that is where two angels appeared, in the form of Lionel and Anthony, both Midas employees and animal lovers.
Coatless, the two angels took off after the cocker spaniel without hesitation, following him as he headed north towards Ridge Road (again). After (somehow) safely crossing Ridge, the dog kept trotting north, and that is when we finally ran into a bit of luck in the form of a dead-end alley-way behind De Re Tires.
Cornered, the sweet animal neither barked nor snapped while Lionel got a hold of its tag-less collar. The poor animal, with a muddy belly and knotted hair, looked like it had been outside for some time, Lionel remarked. He had a flea collar, too, leading us to believe that he had been abandoned.
Anthony ran to Mattress Firm and got a length of rope to fashion a leash. The cocker adapted to the leash in a split second. We gave him the remains of the biscuit that I was still clutching, and soothed and petted him while the police were summoned to our new location. He was as sweet and good natured as could be.
Once there, the Homewood police officer scanned the cocker for a chip – and that’s where our luck ended. No chip, no tags.
What would happen to him? The police officer would take him to Flossmoor Animal Hospital.
There he would remain for five days before going to the Animal Welfare League shelter in Chicago Ridge.
With a little coaxing from Lionel, the dog finally jumped into the back seat of the squad car, and was off.
Two days later a friend and I paid a visit to the cocker at the Flossmoor Animal Hospital on our lunch hour. He looked and acted the same – sweet and docile. We inquired about the dog’s health, hopeful that perhaps a fellow co-worker would be interested in adopting him.
We learned from a very kind and patient veterinarian, Dr. Kim Podlecki, that the dog was at least 10 years old. He had some health issues – ear infections, skin growths and a possibly ulcerated (cancerous?) growth on his rectum. He could easily live another six years or more with the proper medications, attention and TLC. But he would definitely be termed a “senior adoption.”
This friendly cocker spaniel is headed to the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge unless some kind soul would like to give him a forever home. The hospital is located at 19581 Governors Highway in Flossmoor, and the phone is 708-798-9030.
And in the meantime, pet owners, do us all a favor and drop off your unwanted, neglected animals at your nearest animal shelter. Don’t let them play Russian roulette on the streets of our neighborhoods.
Margaret Brady is a Homewood resident and writer.