I was on I-70 yesterday, about halfway between Denver and Kansas City, in the middle of nowhere, when I saw a car about half a mile ahead of me hit its brakes and swerve a bit. When I got up to that spot, I saw a dog running around in the middle of the highway. He was a handsome chocolate lab wearing a red collar and happily wagging his tail. I braked hard and went around him. He loped alongside my car as I pulled over to the right side of the interstate.
He didn’t look dangerous. He looked like a well-socialized guy who wanted to make my acquaintance. I put the car in park, cracked my door and said, “Hey boy, what are you – oof!”
He jumped into my lap and, his tail wagging violently, started investigating me and my pile of snacks on the front seat. His legs were muddy, but his coat was clean and healthy. I was able to grab his collar and see that there was no tag on it.
I got out of the car and dragged my new pal out with me. “Sit!” I commanded, and he sat obediently on the shoulder of the road, every aspect of his demeanor bursting with excitement at meeting a new friend. I went around to the passenger side, away from the traffic roaring by at 85 miles per hour, and my new buddy followed me. I fished around on my passenger seat for some appropriate dog food and came up with some potato chips. I fed them to the dog one by one while I tried to figure out what to do with him.
There was a grain silo on the horizon to the east. That was about all the civilization I could see. If I set the pooch loose, he would be roadkill in ten minutes. If I loaded him into my car, he would officially be my responsibility, and I had no idea in what direction his home was, or even if he was a local at all.
What would you have done in this situation? I’m pretty happy with how it turned out for me:[spoiler]There was a frontage road running along the highway towards the grain elevator. I saw a pickup truck a couple of miles away heading towards me on the frontage road. I scrambled down the muddy embankment to the road and flagged down the pickup. The guys rolled down their window.
Me: “You guys know this dog?”
Guy: “I know who he belongs to.”
Me: “Great, because I almost hit him on the interstate.”
Guy: [gets out of the truck and lowers the liftgate. The dog runs over and jumps in.] “Stupid fuckin’ dog.”
Me: “Um. Thanks.” [The guy gets back in the truck without another word.]
I drove to the next gas station and spent ten minutes trying to wipe some of the mud out of my front seats.[/spoiler]