The day seemed to start off like just any other: coffee brewing, kids scurrying about getting ready for school, a kiss on the cheek on the way out the door … but something exciting was about to happen.
Having arrived early for my appointment, I sat outside enjoying the hustle and bustle of the day. A mere five minutes prior to my meeting, my phone rang.
“Arbor Haus? Is this you?” The voice on the other end shakes, frantic and desperate. I should have let it go to voicemail.
“This is Pete. I’m at that job on Cedar Lake Road,” he said.
Immediately my world freezes. I know where he is – with a long-time client in St. Louis Park who has three dogs, the loves of her life. I wonder what could possibly be going on.
“I was coming through the door and I turned for a second … and he’s gone. He just took off!”
The “he” that Pete is referring to is a “she,” and she is Eerie, a toy cup poodle-mix weighing five pounds soaking wet.
He continued to tell me he had Eerie cornered in the backyard for 20 minutes, but then the dog ran down the sidewalk and escaped out of sight.
This dog is her everything … Of all three dogs, this is the one, the “precious.”
I immediately called my production manager, who having worked with this client as long as I have knows what this means. As worried as I, he hurried in from the West Metro to try to find this dog running free somewhere within the northeast corner of Cedar Lake Road and Highway 169.
Distracted, I instantly wrapped up my meeting, apologized for being so distracted, and I, too, ran off to search the neighborhoods north of Cedar Lake Road.
Two hours had passed since the initial call for help. Two hours this dog had been darting through back yards and sneaking off through fence openings, and with the heavy traffic on the local thoroughfare we were not hopeful.
Just then, my phone rang.
They found her.
Eerie was resting among the power boxes of the church lot located directly across the street from her home. Tired and worn down, she can see her house, but is too scared to cross the street.
As soon as we had her cornered again, she slipped away and was on the move. This time, however, she headed west and turned south towards the frontage road to Hwy. 169. We turned the corner, frantically scanning where she could be, and then we saw her running south in the northbound lane of 169.
After jumping in the car to drive down the highway, we parked in the median expecting the worst.
We jumped over the guard rail, flagged down traffic and had her run down the Minnehaha Creek embankment. Little did we know she had never experienced water before, but that didn’t stop her from jumping in.
Having decided it was time for this to end, I cannon-balled into the water, grabbed her and ended the dramatic ordeal.
I guess you never know when a friend may call and need your help … or when you’ll take an impromptu dip in Minnehaha Creek.
Nate Stangler is the owner of Arbor Haus, a remodeling firm in Excelsior.