Monday, June 9, 2008


If Dudley knew the way home he’d have walked, patiently, through snow and rain and heat and darkness to get there. But he was lost. He’d been dodging cars and running from strangers for a long time, long enough to get thin and starved and dirty, long enough for cuts on his belly and legs to get raw and infected. He was limping through an intersection in Yonkers when a woman saw him. She coaxed the exhausted dog into her car then, driving into the city, called the Humane Society of New York for help.
When Dudley came to the Society he was wearing a collar with a single tag; on it was his name, Dudley, and a telephone number for a town 60 miles north. We thought someone would be relieved, joyful to get the call saying their dog was safe. We were wrong. “You found Dudley?” said the man who answered the phone. “That’s a problem.” He went on to tell us that the Collie mix had a habit of wandering from their yard, exploring for hours at a time. When his last disappearance stretched into days, he and his wife figured Dudley wouldn’t be back. They already had a new puppy. They didn’t want two dogs. For a minute the line hummed then, “Listen,” the man said, “Help me out here. Can’t you just keep the dog?”
Dudley spent two weeks in the Society’s hospital recovering from his ordeal. We treated his infected wounds, bandaged and soothed them with medicated baths. When he was well enough he was neutered, to check his urge to wander. Then we microchipped him and found him a new home with a family that delights in his brainy high spirits and who assure us that Dudley the Explorer isn’t going anywhere.