Friday, July 16, 2010

Twelve Hours in the Chaparral...

Yesterday afternoon when I drove home, we had some unusual weather: thunderstorms, complete with rain and lightning, and dramatic lighting effects.  Usually these storms are confined to the tallest mountainous areas, ten or fifteen miles east of us.  We had several periods with enough rain to thoroughly wet the dry ground.

Debbie got home an hour or so before I did.  On the way home, she drove along Campo Road (State 94) near Steele Canyon High School.  She spotted a frightened little dog there, and stopped to get it out of the road.  She opened the door to her truck and the dog jumped right in, obviously happy to get out of her precarious situation.  The dog was an older female Shiba Inu, and it had a collar with a phone number and the dog's name: “Bandit”.  By the time I got home, Bandit was in a crate in our living room, looking calm and unruffled by recent events and the strange people and animals surrounding her.

Debbie called the number on Bandit's collar, but got only an answering machine.  She left a message, but nobody had called by the time I got home.  I tried googling the phone number, on the off chance it was listed someplace, and struck gold: it was listed as the business number for a web site selling boats.  From there I was able to find an email address, and I fired off a message about Bandit.  An hour or so later, I got a response from Ray: yes, Bandit was their dog – and they didn't know she was missing, and were very happy to hear she was safe!  Ray called his wife Carol, and a few minutes later Carol called us: she was on the way out here to pick Bandit up.

But Carol had to drive from Pt. Loma, a long way from Jamul.  It turns out they were putting new flooring in their house, and while all that work was going on they had left Bandit with a friend who lived out near Jamul.  Then the thunderstorms started, and most likely all the noise spooked Bandit into fleeing their friend's yard.  Next thing you know, Pt. Loma Bandit is lost in Jamul!  Carol made it out to our general neighborhood, but called us from her cell phone, lost about five miles away.  We told her to park, and we piled ourselves and Bandit in Debbie's truck.  A few minutes later, Carol and Bandit had a happy reunion.  A nice happy ending to a lost animal story...

When we pulled into our driveway, we noticed that the mosses on the boulders in our yard had all turned bright green from the moisture.  The heat and humidity were still oppressive, so we left the house closed up and the air conditioning on all night.  This morning it's clear in our area, and as I walked the dogs I could see the Milky Way, bright and crisp, stretching from our north to the southwest, nearly directly overhead.  A planet (Saturn, I think) was bright, high in the eastern sky.  To our west, some low clouds were lit up by the cities.  The air was still humid, and therefore full of scents.  I could hear the tree frogs, out because of the rain.  I also heard several birds calling, perhaps an owl whose cry I don't recognize.  The dogs were excited by traces of some animal that had visited us; no telling what that was.

A most unusual twelve hours in the chaparral!

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