The tedium of waiting for the right turn traffic light to change at the intersection of our street is broken by a blurry white image coming toward the intersection. The image becomes clearer and I can make out that it is a small white dog running determinedly along the haven of the median strip separating the four lanes of the busy highway. My heart skips a beat at the danger this poor soul is in and my concern increases as he closes in on the end of the median strip at the intersection. Are you going to stop little dog? But no, as if sensing the traffic light change, he barrels on and into the intersection as the north/south traffic stops.
I leap out of the car and being cautious of not spooking him I head slowly towards him, looking all around for traffic that may need to be stopped to protect him. He stops and looks at me with a tail wag as if to say “Oh hello, what are you doing out here?”. I can now see that he is firstly a male, and secondly, a poodle cross breed like our two cavoodles at home. For a second I wonder if I should just escort him off the road and avoid being bitten but if he is half a softy as our dogs he is going to let me pick him up and so he does. I scoop him up and rush him to the safety of my car before the lights change again. He happily sits up in the passenger seat and surveys all of the outside world like a king from his throne, with a familiarity as if born to the situation.
What now? I have to take the right turn into our street anyway as the lights change and I head off with the vague intention of taking him home while we try to locate his owners. I call my wife on the mobile phone to let her know of my new passenger. Molly suggests that it is probably better to take him straight to the local veterinary hospital as he is probably microchipped and from that they could hopefully locate his owners. Excellent suggestion and I turn around again with my passenger, my new best friend, now perched, unasked, on my lap as we head towards our local veterinary hospital.
Arriving at the vet’s I am presented with a new challenge, how do I get him in there? My new friend though has obviously decided I am ok and happily lets me carry him from the car into the vet’s. I explain how I found my new friend to the nurse at the counter and hand him over to her. The nurse then passes a paddle-like device across him and consults the computer screen on her desk. “Ah yes he is a patient of ours” announces the nurse and starts to dial a number on the phone. I am unable to catch all of the ensuing phone conversation but the nurse fills me in at the end of the call. The owners who live in the adjoining suburb to ours are on their way to pick up him up having been frantically searching for him for the last couple of hours. Maximus that is. My new friend has a name, Maximus, and yes, he is a Poodle crossed with a Shih Tsu, a Shih-Poo.
With a large measure of relief, and a little sadness, I say goodbye to my new friend Maximus and leave the vet’s, marvelling at the usefulness of this piece of now ubiquitous technology in the animal world, the identity microchip, which enabled Maximus to be reunited happily with his family after a little adventure from which he luckily survived unscathed. I enjoyed our brief time together Maximus, I wish you well.