By LAURA DANOWSKI
Neighborhood News Group
Posted Nov. 4, 2012
For those who don’t know Six Steps to Kevin Bacon, it was an association game played among movie buffs. One player would say an actor’s name – for example, Sean Connery. The challenger would name another actor or actress who was in a film with Sean Connery (Kevin Costner in “Robin Hood”). Play continues until the sixth or less associated name was Kevin Bacon. Lots of fun, especially when alcohol and money was added and bragging rights were at stake.
The association and reference chain is strong within the equestrian community as well, especially when an animal’s life is in danger.
The Sunday after Isaac found many of us doing some sort of clean-up, immersed in our own world and thoughts. Outside, sweating to the oldies with gloved hands and rubber boots, my cellphone rang. Should I answer? I was on a roll.
The name appeared on my caller ID. Jane and I bowl together in Greenacres and she lives in Lantana. We had just seen each other the previous Friday and our usual communication is text. If she calls, there’s a problem.
“Hi Laura, how close do you live to Mandarin and Tangerine?”
“Uh, maybe 10 miles.”
“Where is Clydesdale in relation to you?”
“Maybe five miles west.”
“Barbara just got a call from a lady out there whose older dog went missing about 4 a.m. this morning.”
Our friend Barbara is very active in placing greyhounds as well as other service dogs after their work careers are finished. Barbara also lives in Lantana.
The missing dog was in his mid-teens, fairly deaf and blind. He and his family had moved two weeks earlier from Deer Run to the Acreage. His owner Louise let him out early that morning and Hayes found an exit in his fence.
The fear was the old hound had become disoriented and was trying to make his way back to his former home. Jane was trying to help Barbara organize a search network to locate Hayes.
Neither Jane nor Barbara are horse-people, so I told them about the Wellington message board.
“Horse people scan this thing like “The Enquirer” or “People” magazine. There is a specific section for lost & found animals and we all read it,” I said. So we formulated a message with contact info and prayed.
About an hour after returning to my feudal yard labors I thought about sending a text to some friends who live and work in Loxahatchee and The Acreage. Route drivers, vendors and especially kids hoofing to and from school and the bus stop might see the dog.
“I’ll do it later when I break for lunch.”
About 15 seconds of self-induced guilt got me to stop work, slog out of my puddled area, set down tools, remove gloves and start tapping my phone screen. I sent a short text to 12 friends, asking them to share as appropriate.
Tuesday morning arrived and Jane reported the post had received 130 hits, prompted a few phone calls but still no Hayes.
A few minutes later I received a text from The British Feed Company, thanking me for my help and kindness in trying to locate Hayes. What?
Stunned as to why I would receive a text from them, the pieces fell together. Hayes’ mom – Louise – is the same woman I speak to weekly when ordering hay from British Feed! Their cell number was one of the contacts to whom I sent the text on Sunday about the lost dog.
So I called Louise and we chatted. I felt like a dolt for not making the name connection. Louise shared the details of the family’s recent move and Hayes’ adjustment to his new home. He had never been problematic but was described as an opportunist. I wished her well.
The opportunity to ease a furry loved-one into the afterlife is, in my opinion, a gift. To lose one without knowing or saying goodbye is torture.
Honestly, two more days came and went. I had moved Hayes and Louise to the back of my mind until another text from Jane on Thursday.
Hayes was home! He was spotted in White Fences, a few pounds lighter but no worse for wear. The message board had generated over 200 hits and almost two-dozen phone calls, leading to Hayes.
Well, Hayes is not an actor, nor could we ever string the names associated in his happy return. However, Hayes’ Footloose adventure is an award-winning reminder of how just a little bit of being a good neighbor connects us for the better.