Man oh man, what a day. I don't know where else to post
this, so I'll post it here. Today was one weird day.
I get to work, fire up my email program, watch it download
mail from the mail server, and suddenly my screen goes
black, then blue, and DOS-style text appears, and I think,
geez, the blue screen of death -- I never thought I'd see
this in my email program! And then I see that it's not
my email program that's crashed, nor Windows 95, but, it's
my virus scanning program, and it's discovered an incoming
email with an Excel file attachment that contains some
nasty macro virus. It's a first for me. So, needless to
say, I delete the email (the sender's address was,
conveniently, a .kr domain). So then I notice that my
mail server machine's hard disk is thrashing and the ethernet
lights are a'blinkin' and so begins about 7 hours of battle
against spammers who have launched a full-scale attack on my
mail server, using it to forward a spam message inviting
the reader to some porn website. I'd shut down the mail
server, then go back to work for a half hour or so, and
then turn it back on and WHAM the instant it went back on,
the FLOOD of spam resumed. So I tracerouted the spammer's
IP address and found it was a UUNET modem in Detroit. So
I called UUNET's Net Ops Center's Security team and they
were very helpful and pinpointed the perpetrator and they
shut him and and 5 mins later WHAM the SPAM was back, this
time with a different Detroit UUNET IP address and a different
UUNET account but the same SPAM mail. All of it going to poor
AOL people. All day long this went on; I felt like I was
plugging holes in a dike wall that was bound to burst any
moment. Then my wife calls late in the afternoon and says
look out the window, a co-worker of hers at her job says
it's about to rain and hail and thunder and maybe I should
run home and close some upstairs windows (I work about 0.8
miles from home, own my own company, so can leave if I need
to when I need to) and let the English Bull Terrier out for
a little bit too.
For those of you who have read about the trials and
tribulations of our English Bull Terrier named Jesse,
well, that's what this tale is about.
I go home -- it's really raining -- the first rain really
since May or April. I get home, and take the dog outside
to the backyard, which is a tiny little space about the size
of a large room. Fenced on 3 sides. There's an enormous
oak tree on one corner of our backyard boundary and it
is so big and leafy and wide, the backyard stays dry when it
rains. So we puttered around and sure enough, the English
Bull Terrier, realizing the rain, realizing that meant "no
big long walk today, that's for sure", did his business,
"successfully", as I like to put it. Which is nice because
he always mellows out after he's been, er, "successful."
So the rain is going away, and I decided to put him in our
little 6ft by 9ft fenced dog run, with its "Dogloo" igloo
inside. So I put him inside, secure the gate, and go back
inside the house.
I glance at him through the window inside the house, and
he's watching me -- tail up, ears up, eyes straight at me.
At his front feet is a big yellow leaf, that's fallen from
the oak tree above (Seattle area seems to have two seasons,
summer and winter, with extremely short springs and falls,
and the leaves are dying fast already).
Remember, the English Bull Terrier's mission in life is to
cause mischief, have fun, and be frisky. But the greatest
of these is, "cause mischief." So he bites down on the leaf,
which is very large. He knows I don't like when he eats
sticks, or leaves, or grass, or rocks, or slugs, or frogs,
or DEAD RATS (as the obsess.ind readers already know :-),
so I went back outside to take the leaf from him. Which was
exactly what he had in mind. I get inside the dog run,
take the leaf from him, which he's furiously trying to
swallow like a spy who's got the secret code on the piece
of paper and has to swallow it so the bad guy won't get it...
but I manage to rescue the big leaf which I throw outside the
dog run. I then get him to stand at the far end of the
run so I can get out without him escaping. He's very fidgety
for some reason -- this is the first time the ground in the
dog run is wet, and he doesn't like it... so I'm having a bit
of trouble getting him to STAY on the far side so I can exit
the run. I think I've got him to STAY, and I open the dog
run's fence door, and WHIZ out he goes, into our back yard.
A loose English Bull Terrier. My WORST nightmare realized.
He does a quick figure-8, his brain in full-fledged mischief
mode. He runs behind our detached garage. It's fenced back there,
and I know what he's going to do -- he's going to come out the
on the other side. My only chance to catch him is to catch him
there. I run for it, and he's too fast. He slips by. He runs
down the driveway, banks right, and takes off like a bullet.
I mean, like a bullet, he's sprinting. No looking back. Just
about then, the words of the English Bull Terrier Breeder echoed
in my mind: "If he ever escapes, he's G.O.N.E." These dogs
don't come back. There are no happy endings. They wind up
dead, or worse, within hours. Some other dogs hate Bullies.
Even though our Bullie is the sweetest thing in the world, and
loves all dogs, he's treated EXACTLY like Casper the Friendly
Ghost by dogs: they freak with they see this muscular,
Popeye-figured white creature with the black eye patch.
The south end of the local high school is just north of my
house. The English Bull Terrier is bolting into the school,
the entrance of which is all fenced in except for a road.
He's running toward the school, and gaining distance from me
very, very fast. Picture the world's champion Olympic 100-
meter dash sprinter, sprinting. Then picture a F-16 fighter
going by, full afterburners, Mach 1+ and rising. Now
picture how fast the distance between sprinter and F-16 grows.
This was the situation betweem English Bull Terrier Owner and
English Bull Terrier.
It's 4:15 in the afternoon. The football team is practicing
in the school's stadium field. Far ahead of me, I see a white
blur, as it runs further and further away. He does not turn
back. He has no intention of ever coming home again. It
breaks one's heart. But every English Bull Terrier owner
knows this feeling. It's the breed. You think, "if you love
someone, set them free. If they never come back, it was
never meant to be." So it is with Bullies. You have to cherish
every moment you have with them, you never know how long they'll
be around. You can give them all the love in the world, and
they'll take it. They give a little back, and that little is
so wonderful it's worth it, every bit, but you know deep in their
hearts, they just want to be free.
Well, our English Bull Terrier was free. Which meant he'd be dead,
or wounded, or kidnapped, very soon.
I am still running. I am getting out of breath. The blur of white
is so far away, there is now way I can catch him. And even if I
closed in on him, the moment he'd see me, he'd double his efforts
at running that much faster.
If I keep running, I'm going to collapse. At this point I realize
I have no keys. The house is unlocked. I am going to collapse from
exhaustion any moment. The distant speck of white goes around a
corner -- and is gone. He's about 1000 yards away and still
sprinting. I stop. I need to keep some energy to get back to
the house, call my wife (she works about 0.6 miles from home),
see if she can sneak out of work to help hunt down the English
Bull Terrier. I make it back to the house, and out of breath manage
to exhale a semblance of English words to my wife, which she required
repeating: "The dog is loose. He has escaped. Come help if you can.
Last seen heading northwest of the high school." She says she's on
I leave a leash at the door and hop in the car and peel out of the
neighborhood and into the high school campus. Halfway through, it's
blocked off, right at the spot where I last saw him. It's now T plus
I retrace my drive back out of the high school, back out to the main
road, up onto Main Street in Bellevue -- it's just starting to be
rush hour -- and way back over to the neighborhoods north and
west of the school. The school's campus is huge, it must be 50 acres.
The dog is G.O.N.E.
At this point, I figure I'm going to a) find him tonight on the side
of the road, dead and run over and bloody, or b) killed by an angry
pet owner whose pet attacked my dog who in defense beat (and ate)
the living shit out of the attacker (my dog would never attack another
animal -- but he would fight to the death if he had to, and English
Bull Terriers know how to fight if they have to) or c) we'd never,
ever, hear or see the dog again, hours, days, weeks, months, years
later -- nothing. G.O.N.E.
For the next two+ hours I spent driving around Bellevue, stopping at
fire stations, gas stations, passersby, leaving them sheets of paper
with a hastily scrawn message:
White English Bull Terrier
With Black Eye Spot
Brian + Pat Dear
and they'd look at me with the "bummer, man" look a stranger gives
you when you seek their help as fellow humans. Street after street,
block after block. I'd see a white flash in a bush or hedge behind
a house and slam on the brakes only to realize it's a trashbin or
piece of paper or a children's toy or something.
I'd see my wife pass by in her car; we'd exchange looks that
said "no, I don't have him, keep looking" and drive by...
So it went. I discovered I was completely parched. I could not
swallow. It felt like there was a huge clump of something mushy
right past my tonsils, and I couldn't cough or spit it up, and
my mouth was cotton-dry. Then I see the amber fuel-empty light
go on in my car. Both me and the car, I think. So I go to a
nearby Chevron station, get some gas and a bottle of water for me,
which I chug. Ask the proprietor if a White English Bull Terrier
might have passed by, quickly... no, sorry sir.
Thoughts of loss run through my head. My wife and I have
no children. Jesse is our child. He's like our son.
A permanently three-year-old mischief-maker. But he's our
own, and we love him and cherish him and now he's gone,
and he's probably going to wind up dead soon and we'll
have lost him, our pride and joy. And we'll never get another
English Bull Terrier, because the heartbreak will be too much
to bear. Loss.
I keep driving. I feel like Arnold Schwartenegger in Terminator.
I drive slowly through neighborhoods, my car windows down, my head
scanning from left to right, trying to process every bit of visual
and aural information as fast as possible, breaking the moment
I hear a high-pitched tinkle -- was that the metal ID tags clanging
on his collar I just heard? --- and then moving on.
I come across an old black dog, loose in the neighborhood. I stop
the car right next to him. He's on the sidewalk.
"I am looking for Jesse. Have you seen him?"
He stares at me, right through to my soul. Old dogs have such deep,
more-than-human eyes. He considers me. He's silent.
"Please help me find him, okay? Thanks."
He looks at me. I drive slowly away. He walks away.
Finally at 6:45, I catch up with my wife on a nearby street, and
I tell her I am going to run home and check for phone messages...
maybe someone I left one of the hastily-written notes with has
seen the creature and has his whereabouts.
I hurry home, burst into the house, call the voice mail number,
and there are two messages. I pray. I chant.
First message saved at 5:24pm: "HI THIS IS DENISE AT THE
PET STOPS HERE. WE HAVE YOUR LITTLE WHITE BULL TERRIER.
SOMEONE SAW HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION AT 112TH
AND MAIN, HE WAS RUNNING AROUND IN TRAFFIC, SO THEY CAUGHT
HIM AND BROUGHT HIM TO THE STORE. HE'S SAFE HERE AND WE
CLOSE AT 6PM IF YOU DON'T GET THIS MESSAGE BEFORE THEN, JUST
COME BY IN THE MORNING TO PICK HIM UP, HE'S IN ONE OF OUR
CRATES AND HE'S RESTING."
I call my wife on the cell phone. "HE'S OKAY. SOMEONE FOUND
HIM. HE'S SAFE."
It's now 6:45 pm. I call the store. "THE PET STOPS HERE,
CAN I HELP YOU?" Yeah this is the English Bull Terrier Owner.
"OH YEAH WE HAVE YOUR LITTLE DOG."
This dog had run for BLOCKS and BLOCKS away from home. And
he'd fooled me a second time. First with the leaf, a setup if
there ever was one --- and now with where he'd been caught.
He was a half-block from the Interstate 405 freeway. He was
picked up far east of the house. Running around in the middle
of a HUGELY BUSY intersection at 5:15 in rush hour. And he
didn't get run over.
We are still astounded that a) he lived, b) we found him,
c) he wasn't bitten, injured, bleeding, torn to shreds
from dogfights, or otherwise out-of-kilter.
But most of all, we're astounded that the pet store he was
brought to was called "THE PET STOPS HERE."
We are home now. I feel like I have been hit by a truck.
I am physically in shock. My arms and legs ache, and I have
shocked my system. I need to sleep.
But, he's Home. Thank god.
Good night. :-)