Old Dog Going Home

[I wrote this back in October as I drove to work.  Thought I would bring it forward for you.]

I saw a dog as I drove on the highway to work this morning in Abilene, Texas.

The dog was a white, shepherd-like dog with long hair.  He appeared old as his trot was barely a trot, more of a fast, determined walk.  He was intent on staying on the left side of the highway, just a couple of yards out of the lane, a few feet from the grass median.  I saw him about fifty yards before I came up along side him.  He did not flinch when I passed him by. The traffic was fast at 7:30 a.m. and neither I nor anyone else could have avoided him had he decided to veer into the traffic.

But what impacted me viscerally was this old dog’s self-possession and determination to travel south on that road, at that time, to get home.  It seemed that his intent to go home was so strong that neither dawn’s light nor the traffic would stop him.

Tomorrow, I don’t want to go down that highway and see him dead on the side of the road.  I have to take that road; there’s no other highway to work.  That old dog better not have gone the way of so many old souls.  I may look for another route or go off on the access road.

I truthfully don’t know if the old dog was going home.  He was old and may have been addled to the point of madness to walk along the highway.  But, I would like to think he was headed home after escaping heartless people.

Seeing him, determined to go home, struck me viscerally and I frankly moaned at his fate, his momentum, his destiny.  Whatever spirit-that-moves-in-all-things should spare that old dog an accident today and carry him to his destination safely with biscuits and bacon and companions-of-old being his due at the end of the road.


Filed under Dogs

11 responses to “Old Dog Going Home

  1. Like so many things about your sharing here Jack – the perspective first and foremost. I too look at and get to thinking about beings I encounter randomly and get intrigued by their predicaments and their ways. It is really nice to hear someone voice these things. And then the concern. You haven’t lost your sense of connection. And then the honorable way to speak of higher power … just recently read in Frederick Franck’s book The Zen of Seeing that to actually “name” such takes away from it.

    i can just picture this shepherd. And didn’t Don Juan admonish to imagine the best outcome (via Castaneda)?

    • Cirrelda,

      Don Juan and Casteneda…know all about them. Changed my life. Nearly met him in L.A. in 1973? but was at home writing. My friends couldn’t call me because I didn’t have a telephone. Much has been written about him. He passed a few years ago. Still got his books. Phenomenology unbound in that guy! I chased shamans for years because of him. Must post about this some day.

  2. Cirrelda,

    Goodness! How the connections have been made about so many things. I do so like, really admire, your blog and the murals. If I lived close by, I would help. Love mosaics, last forever.

  3. Dear Jack,
    Are you trying to make me cry? This vivid story sends a wave of compassion through me. And it is not so different from what I see here in southern AZ every day. So many strays, and each one presenting that gut-wrenching curiosity about who they are and what their sad story is.

    I have spent much time working at the local pound here. It is not pleasant. I now adopt a sort of “nonaction” policy about strays rather than turning them in. I do indeed hope the white dog was headed home, whatever that might be, with no further suffering.
    Take care,

    • Dear Debra,

      Yes, many strays and each a story. I say thanks to you for working at the local pound. Very bold, very tender of you to do so. The “non action” policy I agree with. I see them and hope they find a home, too. We used to have strays abandoned in the country out here. I took one in. I call him, “Yeller.” I’ll write about him one day, but he is a mix of Aussie Shepherd and Labrador. Can’t ask for a better dog. He was a stray, but now he is with us for six years. Love him to death. I saw your pets on your blog. Thou be an angel, Debra.

      Take care also,

  4. ….blush…thank you…

    I’ll be looking forward to reading about Yeller and seeing his picture. What a great mix. Mutts rule!

  5. Jack , I have been thinking about that dog since I read your story, and I would like to imagine he found his home and his family. Maybe the dog by accident – in a foreign car – had got miles away from his family and now was on his way home? I hope he is safe. A dog is able to travel miles and miles to find the family. I once heard about a dog that took a ferry to get home. But your dog makes me cry.


    • Grethe,

      He may very well have gotten in a foreign car and was headed home. Upon rereading my post, I can see that I was projecting his motivation as the result of my dog, Yeller, who probably escaped abusive masters. Yeller has been with us several years now and is a fine companion.

  6. “The Incredible Journey,” was a favorite book and movie when I was a child. I love that dogs and cats have a natural instinct for Home. I hope he found his…

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