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Hey, Lady Who Saved My Runaway Dog From Highway 41

I did not get your number because you called my home phone, which has no caller ID!

If you see this article, please contact me through my email below. You are entitled to a better “thank you,” and a Starbucks card for an arbitrary amount of complimentary coffee and scones!

Let me explain further.

This morning, Friday, June 23, some time before I had risen from sleep, I received a call at home from a wonderful lady who informed me that she was outside our house with Rommel, our family’s German Shepherd. Not quite sure why, I went out to find Rommel sitting in the back seat of the lady’s car, leaving furry evidence of the ride all over the nice leather interior.

I was still groggy and trying to figure out why my dog’s shock collar had failed, after the lady told me she had rescued Rommel from Highway 41 moments earlier. I thanked her, but Rommel was really shaken and bolted straight for the door, and I was worried about her.

A bit discombobulated, I neglected to properly thank her for saving our dog, who had traveled about a quarter of a mile, and was playing Frogger on Highway 41. No doubt, this woman risked personal injury by stopping on a busy highway during the morning commute to somehow corral Rommel — no easy task —  and my quick thank you will not suffice.

So, anyone who hears this story from our clandestine savior who retrieved the dog, please alert her so she may claim her well deserved bounty.

I am being a tad cheeky here, but this is actually serious. I have had a nice day today, however, this could easily have been a devastating day for our family. We have since figured out what happened.

The shock collar Rommel has worn faithfully since we got her, simply failed. After an examination and trying to turn it on and reset, we realized it had clearly gone to the electronic heaven in the sky. We have since switched it out and, my wife, being the thorough camper she is, insisted we try it out to make sure the replacement was in working order.

Since Rommel was somewhat spooked, my wife suggested that I try the collar instead. While it may or may not come as a shock to you that my wife designated me to be the guinea pig to test the collar, I assure you it was literally and figuratively a shock to me. This was the first time — without the encouragement of alcohol and peer pressure some years ago — that I have donned an electric dog collar. Both times, the collar performed admirably.

Doggo is now safe, and once again, my skin is a bit red in two small places.

In addition to trying to locate my hero of the day, I want to take this opportunity to mention a few things I have noticed lately. Perhaps it is serendipity that I have the forum to try to find my anonymous new best friend, and that’s cool.

I want to take a few moments to expound on a few points related to this incident, if you will be kind enough to indulge me.

Many who know who me personally know that, within that last number of years, I have become somewhat disabled to to an unfortunate malady that randomly attacked my nervous system. In addition, some of you know that, before this diagnosis, I could at times be described as somewhat cynical, to put it lightly.

Ironically, in the last few years, the worse my condition has become — the less cynical I feel about the people around me. I want to explain why.

A side effect of my illness, in addition to the ones from my medication, is that I have become a much more voracious reader. This is one of the positive side effects, by the way. I have read everything from classic novels like The Count of Monte Cristo to the latest Zombie novel.

In my countless hours of reading, I came across a quote from Leon Trotsky, of all people, which stuck in my mind.

Now, I am not trying to be boorish and project that I am some intellectual reader. In between the aforementioned Trotsky and other philosophers, I read monster books and peruse Reddit for funny memes. I think it all averages out to normal.

Back to Trotsky.

He wrote, “There are no absolute rules of conduct, either in peace or war. Everything depends on circumstances.

I would like to give you a few examples of conduct, which depended on my circumstances, in addition to the faulty shock collar today.

I recently traveled to Nebraska to visit my son.

Now, I am not going say anything more about the fact I have not traveled in a plane for while, other than to point out that I tried to give the stewardess — I mean, flight attendant — cash for the beer I ordered.

Times change, but the fact that I have not flown in a while is relative to this subject.

For example, I want to thank the guy in the main terminal that helped me navigate my wheelchair up what seemed like an endless grade towards my gate, without me asking for his help.

I also want to thank the lady who offered to place my backpack in the overhead storage after I boarded the plane. I am still able to walk short distances, and I like to be as self sufficient as possible so I told her no thank you. She did, however, beat me to it as we disembarked, and took my pack down before I even stood up. Sneaky lady.

Thanks to the Southwest Airlines employee that helped me navigate the downhill grade through the tunnel toward the connecting flight, saving me potential blisters trying to keep my chair at a navigable pace, and from crashing into the side of the jet.

Hell, thanks to all of those people who dutifully allow me to park closer to my destination without once ever giving me a hard time for parking in one of their designated spots if all of the handicapped spots are taken.

People around me that I know have upped their game without solicitation as well.

For example, my lovely wife who, upon hearing the news of my diagnosis, sprung to action. In what seemed like a blink, she procured a college degree, a new job with better pay and benefits knowing that my potential earning power would at some point take a hit.

My buddy who met me in Nebraska to be my fast gun on my three-day sojourn to see my son.

My sister, who has sacrificed her time and time with her kids to help various members of our family, and seems to be chomping at the bit to step in when needed at any moment.

My dad and other members of my immediate and extended family who seem to be Mr. and Mrs. Johnny-on-the-Spot when needed as well.

Not trying to turn this into a personal mea culpa — I truly believe I may just have misjudged a few of those around me, or perhaps just missed those acts of kindness until circumstances opened my eyes to it.

I have a buddy whose name I won’t mention, but it rhymes with Pritchard, and he was considered sort of a “Pollyanna” because of his overtly rosy opinion on life and people, for no apparent reason that I could surmise.

Now, I think he was more correct than I remember thinking he was then. Sorry, man, but the name was funny, right?

These are just the most recent examples of the kindness I have seen lately.

Perhaps it was there before, and I didn’t see it? Maybe I was not looking for it, or circumstances did not depend on it as that Russian dude was going on about. Either way – it’s there.

I have come to the irrefutable conclusion that people are pretty good dudes. So, the next time somebody cuts you off, maybe think like my Pollyanna buddy and tell yourself to “cut them a break, maybe it’s the first time they ever cut anyone off.”  See, now you know why I called him that.

One more time before I close on this stream of consciousness about how much more dopey and arrogant I was when I was younger, I want to shout out to my silent hero of today who saved our beloved Rommel: please come forward and claim your prize.

Heck, that lady who bolted up on the airplane and grabbed my bag before I could get it out of overhead storage — if you read this, you can email me too.

I will gladly purchase two Starbucks cards.

Email Frank Ignani: gunzen31@yahoo.com

Frank Ignagni is the author of Riding the Apocalypse and lives in Coarsegold.

Read the resolution to this story:

Mystery Solved: Lady Who Saved Rommel Revealed

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Feels Like The First Time


  1. Enjoyed reading that article about the dog rescue, and life awakenings!

  2. Great article about human kindness and helping when help is needed. Special thank you to the lady who took the time out of her day to return Rommel back to her home. This article is a reminder that sometimes we do not see what is right in front of us and to be more of a pollyanna when looking at life. May we all be blessed with random acts of kindness.

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