On a typical pre-spring Thursday afternoon, a local woman and her husband walked their dog, through their sleepy beach town neighborhood. It’s a common thing to see dogs around these parts. Usually, the dogs are on leashes or playing freely behind the safety of fences.

The woman noticed a small black pit-mix sitting on a dull gray porch. Her dog whimpered and pulled against the leash, and the little dog just stared back.

Nobody was on the porch with the little one, so she called out, “Where’s your mommy? Come here little one. Please let me see the tag on your shiny red collar.”

Still on the porch, the dog cowered and backed away from the couple, closer to the house. The woman, Amanda, thought it was afraid of her own mammoth of a dog. She looked down at her Ridgeback mix. He’s huge, she thought, but harmless.

Amanda smiled, collapsed to her knees and cooed to the pup, “Oh, honey. It’s ok.”

She then turned to her husband, “Will you please walk away from us? I think our dog is scaring this little black beauty.”

Her husband took a few steps back, while keeping an eye on his wife. Amanda continued to call for the pup, who looked at her with interest but kept its distance. This road was too busy for the little unattended, four-legged sweetie.

Suddenly, a young boy in an oversized baby-blue shirt ran toward Amanda’s husband, screaming, “Lucy! Come here! LUCY!”

Amanda’s husband called to the boy, “Is your dog black? Is this your dog?” He pointed toward Amanda and the dog on the porch.

“uh-huh. LU-CCCCC-YYYYYYY!!!!!!” He came to a sudden stop next to Amanda and pointed, “That’s Lucy.”

Lucy took one look at the boy and jumped off the left side of the porch and down the side of the deep red brick house. She cornered herself between the house and the wall of a neighbor’s fence. Trapped.

She cowered and trembled.

The boy advanced on Lucy and looked back at Amanda’s husband, “She belong to my friend. Not me. She run away before and she wouldn’t stay. She done run away agaian and I’m gonna help him get her back.”

The husband looked at Amanda and raised an eyebrow. Amanda took their Ridgeback from him, gripped his collar and removed the leash. “Here”, she said, and threw the leash to him. Her husband gave the leash to the kid and said, “You can’t have it, but you can use it to take Lucy back to your friend.” The kid took the black leash and approached Lucy, who was still cowered in the corner. She trembled and growled as the kid got closer.

The kid mumbled, “she don’t know me, but she’s my Friend’s dog.” He continued to beckon for Lucy.

Lucy continued to growl.

The husband backed away, and looked back at his wife, “There’s no way we will get her. She’s terrified and feels trapped.”

The kid also backed away and started back down the sidewalk again.

Amanda’s husband stopped the kid, “I think the dog lives here. She seems very comfortable with this porch and this yard.”

“Naw, she’s my friend’s dog.” and the kid took off down the street.

Lucy bound out of the corner, blazed past the couple, the porch, and down the other side of the house. Behind the house was a newly installed privacy fence. It seemed to go on forever. Lucy hugged it closely and then disappeared behind it. Amanda asked her husband to walk away with their dog again as she rounded the corner toward Lucy.

Lucy peaked at her from behind the fence. Amanda called the dog. Lucy only stared. Amanda eventually stood up, slumped her shoulders and walked away. As she turned the corner, she noticed Lucy cautiously trailing her.

Amanda looked at her husband as she approached the front lawn of the brick house and smiled as she sat down indian style in the lush green grass. Amanda ignored Lucy as she slowly approached her.

Lucy sniffed everything in a perimeter of the woman. Amanda smiled at Lucy and held out her hand. Lucy suddenly decided she wasn’t afraid anymore and she took off full speed across the grass to one edge of the yard before turning around and running full speed to the opposite end. She watched Amanda and it seemed as though she wanted to play. Amanda laughed as she watched Lucy do this several times. Lucy had tons of energy and had no notion of slowing down.

And. Then.

Amanda noticed Lucy was no girl.

She called out to her husband, “Ryan! Lucy is actually, probably… um… Luke!”, and behind him she noticed the boy was coming toward them again. This time, another boy accompanied him.

The kid nodded at Ryan, “You still got our dawg?” Ryan looked down and said, “Your dog is a male.”

“Nuh. He ain’t. That’s Lucy.”

Ryan stared at the boys and was more than likely contemplating how to explain the difference to one so young.
He said nothing.

Amanda wrung her hands, burrowed her brows and felt determined to keep these kids away from this timid dog. The sun was sinking and the breeze wasn’t making the evening any warmer. Amanda sighed and turned to Ryan, “This dog does not belong to them.” He agreed as she climbed the dull gray concrete steps of the house and rang the door bell. “I can’t leave this puppy out here like this. If we can’t find the owner, we are going to take this little man home with us.”

Ryan nodded at her and she noticed the “We Lost Lucy” kids had disappeared from sight.

The door opened and a woman looked at Amanda expectantly as she tucked her short hair behind her ears with one hand while holding her toddler back with another. She was wearing scrubs and had dark circles under her eyes.

“Is this your dog?” Amanda asks as she points to the small dog that was still busy running from one end of the yard to the other.

“Oh my, YES!”

She gasped and pushed her son back into the house, “Come on, Buddy!” The dog eagerly lept over the steps and launched into the house.

She thanked the couple and said her kids must have left the gate open when they got home from school. They exchanged a few more niceties before saying good-bye.

The couple and their dog walked home laughing at themselves. They should have knocked on the door some time ago. In any event, why were those kids trying to get Buddy, and why in the world was he so afraid of them?