Bear Chase

This morning’s forecast indicated a high likelihood of rain, so I was really pleased that it wasn’t raining when I went out to walk at about 7:00 AM.  I normally walk three laps (1.5 miles) six days a week, but there are some upcoming mornings that I won’t be able to walk, so I’ve been doing three-and-a-half laps lately in preparation for that.

I walk and pray on the highway shoulder, and Jessica runs, walks, and prays on Coffee Road.  She’s usually out a little earlier than I am, and although we see each other from afar we don’t generally cross paths or talk while we’re each doing our thing.

As I headed toward the house at the completion of lap two, I noticed that there was a brown dog scampering through our yard near the cellar door and that Jessica was walking into the yard behind him.  Brown dogs are not uncommon in our part of the sticks.  There’s Molly (two doors down, just this side of Bill and LaShell) who runs loose a lot and has very little brain, Sparky (four doors down) who used to jump on Jessica in the mornings, till she trained him to leave her alone, and of course the occasional stray.  From my mobile position on the near end of the bridge, I couldn’t tell which brown dog it was, and I didn’t give it much attention till I looked again a few moments later and saw Jessica petting a HUGE white dog by the cellar door.

That was a dog I had never seen before, and it was quite large.  As I got closer, I called to Jessica, who was grinning (her motto is “be joyful always”) and saying that she didn’t know whose dog it was .  He was massive with lots of long white, wet fur, but he was nice and mellow.  The brown dog was rather more spastic.

Jessica dug around and finally found a tag on the monstrous one (the brown one had no tag) and announced that he must belong to “McDowell.”  Aha!  Ann McDowell had led Josiah’s Cub Scout troop in Branson when he was nine and ten.  She and her husband had recently purchased a home on some land our in our neck of the woods, and, prior to actually moving out here, had had a brown dog (“Chase”) that was staying out at the house.  We had gotten to know Chase because he had twice gotten loose, gone down to Bull Creek (which abuts their land several miles upstream of 160) and followed the creek down to our house.  They had come looking for their lost dog, which is how we kind of reconnected with the McDowells after several years.

It had been a number of months since Chase had last appeared on our porch, and I hadn’t recognized this morning’s brown dog as him, but when Jessica read me the phone number on the the white monstrosity’s tag, “Apollo’s” phone number matched Ann’s cell phone number.  I called her, got no answer, called the second number on the tag, and reached Bob, who said he’d come get them.

Sure enough, ten minutes later he arrived to haul off two very wet dogs, calling the big white one “Bear,”  (which I guess is short for Apollo?) – hence the post title.


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