The Misadventures of Hudson: My Furry Friend
Written by: Vonti McRae for dog owner Heather Hay
I’m a New Yorker. This city is fast, noisy and packed full of interesting people who navigate through skyscrapers, around taxicabs, bicyclist, motorists and other pedestrians to get where they need to go as quickly as possible. My best friend on this endless journey of fun is my dog Hudson. He’s deathly afraid of noises, especially lightening, so during thunderstorms I let him cuddle up next to me and we fall right to sleep. We are family and support each other whenever the frantic pace of NY gets to us. I unplug with a good book and Hudson unwinds at the doggy park across the street from our building.
As a seasoned HR recruiter I’ve made people gainfully employed at some of the top companies in the US. However my greatest achievement was training this 63lb fifteen month old puppy to fetch. Hudson has banged up the coffee table, my couch and even danced around on top of my bed. But he is the light of my life and in April of 2014 I lost him.
Before I get ahead of myself let me explain how a weekend trip turned into an 11 day nightmare to find Hudson! I packed a cute and colorful overnight bag for myself along with Hudson’s travel gear on April 19th, 2014. We took a leisure stroll over to Grand Central Station for the next thing smoking out of the concrete jungle. Hudson had his backpack on with doggy biscuits inside and I had a bag filled with clothes, make-up and of course work for our short weekend visit. Our goal was to hug, kiss and in Hudson’s case lick the other love of my life, my boyfriend. He lives near Danbury, Connecticut and had a great weekend planned for my furry friend and I. Danbury is a city of about 80,000 people located 70 miles outside of New York. The city has old architecture that blends seamlessly with the new making for a serene and charming place to live. Gorgeous houses are surrounded by trees that go on for miles and miles. Two-lane roads carve their way through almost every nook and cranny of the city. But once I lost my beloved Hudson it became more like a penitentiary; holding my dog captive behind 50 feet of barbed wire fencing. It’s funny how when things fall apart we blame outside forces to cope with the tragedy. However this story has a happy ending so please continue to read on.
We arrived in Connecticut to my smiling boyfriend Bob who had a great day planned for us. We love hockey and since this was supposed to be a vacation, he scored us 2 tickets to the Whalers game. Hudson isn’t a service dog so he’s not allowed into the arena but Bob already had a plan for that. Take Hudson on a long stroll in Tarrywile State Park and let him run around until exhaustion. Feed him, give him a bowl of ice cold water and then drop his sleepy frame off with Bob’s close friends until the game was over. But I had an even brighter idea to get Hudson complacent once we arrived at the park. There was a shallow pond and I thought it would be perfect to teach Hudson how to swim. Seeing him dog paddle for his life seemed to be a quicker way to get him plopped down and snoozing on our friends’ porch.
He was enjoying our new world, jumping around my legs trying to slosh water out of his ears; then he freezes. His ears perk up and quickly flatten to his head at the sudden reverberating noise of kids throwing rocks at the nearby water tower. He scans the area looking for the source. I bend down to hug and comfort Hudson but he growls low in his throat. I whisper to my furry friend all the things I know to calm him and then BAM! Another rock hits the metal tower and Hudson takes off running. I scream like a banshee and Bob is quickly beside me calling for Hudson to “STOP!” Hudson looks back at us, about to follow our command but another large rock hits metal and BAM, Hudson takes off again!! He’s like a Greyhound at the track on a long trajectory to nowhere. Nothing will stop him, not even the hysterical cry from the woman who loves him.
We begin a foot chase and I wonder to myself why I didn’t do more cardio at the gym last week. A gentleman and his female companion pull up in a red Subaru Station Wagon on the empty two-lane road and asks if that’s our dog running for his dear life. At this point I need a paper bag for how much I’m hyperventilating thinking of the endless trees Tarrywile Park has to offer. The driver makes a U-turn to try and catch up with Hudson who is now running down the middle of the road. I’m limping along out of breath and cautious as I see Hudson put it in first gear and slow to a trot. But as luck would have it an impatient driver in a Honda pulls up behind me and begins to HONK. The driver inches forward on my bumper hoping to drive around me even though it’s a double yellow line on the road. Cars in the opposite direction zip by oblivious to his urgency. It’s a windy piece of asphalt with no shoulder making most drivers yearn to speed through the park. So it came as a surprise for this speedy driver to see me attempting a slow jog in the middle of the road after my furry friend. I turn to the driver looking frightful and I explain “my dog just ran down the road, please hold on sir!!” Inside the Honda four people look on confused as the driver revs his engine. His passenger is a woman applying make-up not very concerned that my world is coming to an end. She barely glances up and the impatient driver revs the engine again then waves for me to get out of the road.
I do what any other loud mouth New Yorker does when they unexpectedly find themselves in the middle of the street on a green light and a yellow taxicab wants them out of the way. With the look of murder in my eyes I slam my heavily ringed finger onto the hood of his car causing a slight dent and scream “settle the f*!k down. If you run over my dog up ahead I will hunt you down and hurt you!!” He slams on breaks in shock and the woman smears lipstick across her face. I smile to myself and spin around as the red Subaru comes back to tell me the worst news possible. Hudson has darted into the woods.
Day 1 – The menacing trees look down upon me and I say a silent prayer. Bob and I forget all about the hockey game. There was no need to dwell on watching players rough each other up on the ice racing after a tiny black puck. I had my own hunt to worry about and it was starting in the middle of rush hour. My boyfriend and I arm ourselves with water, some granola bars and other snacks as we prepared to hike all of Tarrywile Park if need be. Thankfully we didn’t just venture off into the woods like some naïve city slickers who decide a city park after the sun sets isn’t a dangerous place. Bob and I walked the orange trail; a section of the park carved out for people to use so they don’t get lost. In the distance we could hear the constant screeching of tires on asphalt. It may have been Hudson darting in and out of the woods trying to figure out a way home. A switch flipped to “on” in me on Day 1 of my 11 day ordeal. I became an Olympian preparing to compete, a CEO determined to close the deal, a lawyer facing off with jurors and the judge to win the case. I don’t stop looking for my furry friend Hudson until 3 in the morning.
In my quest for fitness I had purchased a Fitbit pedometer and tracked 55,000 steps that day before the battery died. Bob had came and went, replaced by a neighbor wanting to hold vigil. Another furry friend lover who saw the determination in my eyes to bring my best friend home. Around midnight my cellphone died so I no longer had the angelic glow of its flashlight to carve a light through the utter darkness. This park during the day was a haven for me but I could no longer appreciate its beauty. In the end, Bob came back with a bottle of water and determination to drag me back to his place for sleep.
Day 2 – I awoke at 6am the next day to continue the fight. My adrenaline was pumping and I was restless knowing every minute Hudson was out there could be his last on this Earth. It’s hard for some people to understand my trauma especially if they don’t own a pet. We animal lovers are labeled sometimes as weird or obsessed. That it’s just an animal you feed and shelter. A thing that can be replaced in case something happens. But I reject this idea. It is about my humanity. Having a moral compass to take ownership of something and care for it like my mother once cared for me. She nurtured me until I grew into the successful woman I am today. I pass along this love to my furry friend who has the instincts and knowledge to know he is wanted.
Bob keyed in the password to his laptop and I thanked him with a steaming cup of coffee and a smile. My game plan for the day was to surf the internet and google when stores in the Danbury area would open. I wanted to print copies of “lost doggie” posters at the store and hand them out. The local Staples opened at 8am and I was the first person in line!
To Be Continued….
Image Source: http://topdogtips.com/lost-dog-how-to-cope/For Dog Lovers