July 11, 2006 > The Further Adventures of the Little Sled Dog That Could - Happy Ending
The Further Adventures of the Little Sled Dog That Could - Happy Ending
by Andrew and Mizuki Heywood, Gail De Rita and Donar the Great
The story left off with little Polo lost in the Niles area, having escaped out of his collar, crossing Mission Boulevard, being hit by a car and bounced high in the air. We wanted to believe that Polo had lived through all these traumas and was waiting somewhere to be found and returned home. Polo's family never gave up even though several weeks had passed. A TCV column on June 13 brought Polo's plight to the attention of readers who readily phoned in Polo sightings. Apparently, Polo had taken refuge in heavy undergrowth near the golf course at Fremont's Central Park. There was ready access to water, and garbage bins were nearby. He could rest during the heat of the day and venture out after sunset. Using mass e-mailings, Andrew kept everyone apprised of Polo sightings.
With this information, Polo's adoptive family and his Norsled family spent many evenings walking through Central Park, combing the golf course, trudging along the railroad tracks with dog friends of Polo's, hoping for sightings. Another Norsled member and his dog, both excellent trackers, joined the search. They were all rewarded one evening when a skinny red dog ran gracefully - and fast as a deer - along the golf course into some underbrush. We were thrilled to see that not only had Polo survived the drama of the past few weeks, he appeared to be running without so much as a limp and ecstatic, yet frustrated as Polo would not come to us. Yelling his name actually scared him. We decided to maintain a quiet facade while tracking.
On Monday, June 19, Andrew received a call from a Lake Elizabeth park ranger advising that Polo was seen at the lake that morning, eating out of the hands of a couple walking a dog. The ranger advised that Polo was very thin and hungry enough to come up to people with dogs. The ranger attempted to call Polo, but the dog bolted when he heard his name.
Andrew and Mizuki were heartened by the regular sightings of Polo; so that evening they arrived at the dog park around 7:10 p.m. to let their other husky, Surf, play for awhile.
Around 7:30 p.m. they split up to cover the whole lake. Andrew headed in the direction of the ranger office, while Mizuki headed for the golf course. As she neared the small pond next to the lake (across from the railroad tracks and golf course) she noticed a dog standing on the tracks on the other side of a fence. Right away she knew it was Polo.
Remembering how he'd run away before, she pretended not to notice him. She had no hope of catching him that day if he ran again. As Mizuki and Surf walked toward Polo, Surf noticed him and started making sounds. Polo came up to the fence to greet Surf (after some encouragement from Mizuki) and they exchanged licks and smells. She had some treats in her bag and was feeding Polo through the fence, thinking fast of what to do next.
She noticed the fence had a slight opening at the bottom where her hand could fit through. In her mind, she knew if she tried to grab his neck she would never have a chance. Her only hope was to grab his tail. So as he was eating out of her hand, she grabbed it with all her strength. Surprised and in pain, Polo tried to bite the hand that grabbed him. At nearly three weeks since Polo's escape, Mizuki was not going to let go now and she screamed for anyone to come and help her.
At this point, Andrew was still running around the other side of the lake looking for signs of Polo. A very kind man and woman heard Mizuki's cries for help and immediately came to her side, lifting the fence and holding on to Surf so Mizuki could bring Polo into her arms.
Polo had lost some weight, had huge ticks hanging from his ears and fleas all over him but seemed fine otherwise. Andrew and Mizuki immediately took Polo to an emergency clinic and also phoned Nancy, Gail and Deb (all of whom had assisted them in the hunt for Polo) with the good news. The vet, who knew the story, said Polo was doing great and just needed to gain weight.
Mizuki and Andrew renamed Polo, Kiseki, which is Japanese for "miracle," a most fitting name for the little wonder dog. He's eating a lot, has gained weight and is back to his old schedule of playing, sleeping and going to work with his mom. He's very happy to be back with buddy, Surf, too and all his Norsled pals.
For more information on Northern California Sled Dog Rescue, Norsled, visit www.norsled.org or mail to PO Box 5784, Vallejo CA 94591.