Community in Action (PVD)

Today, I lost a dog.

For anyone that has met me for even five seconds, you’ll know that I have a particular obsession with corgis. They look like little loaves of bread, and are always smiling, and have big stupid ears. Honestly, how can you not love that? Anyway…

Today started out like most Wednesdays. Our first work out at 5:27 had a particularly incredible level of hype, and everybody absolutely crushed it. Air high-fives were being given out like candy. Laughter, silliness, hard work. It was dope. 6:27, though…

Right before the bounce, I saw in front of me is the handsomest little bread shaped corgi I had ever seen – and his name was Barry. I think I actually stopped the bounce so that I could pet him, because corgi. Instructions happened, the workout began, and all was right with the world. A glorious morning, a beautiful city, and a great bunch of humans enveloped the State House steps and grounds.

We were maybe five or six minutes into the work out when I was entrusted with the care of this handsome devil, Barry the Corgi. With the instruction “he likes to run“, we went for a casual little jog. While I would say that he was my perfect running partner, I am 200% certain Barry would not say the same.

Because within 30 seconds of our run, Barry cut back, and the leash slipped out of my hands. The little bastard stared up at me smiling as I went to get the leash.

Does the story end here? Oh I wish. But no. Unfortunately, it does not. At this moment, the happy little corgi decided that today would be the day that he challenged himself as an Olympic Track Star.

Thus begun the adventure. Me chasing Barry down the stairs. Me chasing Barry across the State House grounds. Me shouting to any and everyone around “GRAB HIS LEASH!” to no avail. Barry found Second, and then Third Gear, and shifted into the fastest sprint I’ve ever seen. Seriously, this thing has 2″ legs, and he’d make Usain Bolt jealous of his acceleration.

Across a field. Into the street. Then into traffic. And I lost him. I couldn’t see him anywhere. By this point, participants in the 6:27am workout had joined in the hunt, and one was advised they saw him make their way up the hills into Brown University. Sizeable hills, hills that I avoid running because they’re steep as hell and miserable to run. BUT…

We have this Bus Tunnel. It’s quite illegal to run up it, which makes it even more fascinating.
It’s .41 miles (660 meters) long. It’s entirely uphill. The only things permitted in there are emergency vehicles and buses. If you get caught inside, you get fined, and potentially a quick visit to the Police Department. So. in an effort to catch Barry the Super Corg, I went up the tunnel. NEITHER I, NOR NOVEMBER PROJECT, CONDONE THIS BEHAVIOR. That said, it was super rad. At one point, a bus came by, and I had to duck into this little nook to avoid being seen, and it was pretty much the coolest. But I digress…

I made my way up into Brown University campus, made my way through the fashionable East Side of Providence, at one point bouldering a large stone wall and entering onto the sports complex of Brown, where several sportsball practices were underway.

No luck. More running, less success. I wept openly walking up Lloyd Ave. As I ran past the offices of PVD Psychology, my brain ran through the Kubler Ross stages of grief.

Denial – did this really happen? No, I’m asleep. This can’t possibly be real.
Anger – mostly at myself. How the hell did I let this dog get away?
Bargaining – What if I buy a new dog and say I found him? It works with goldfish.
Depression – omfg I lost a dog. I’m the worst person who’s ever personed.
Acceptance – He’s never coming back, and Cruella has made a coat of him and 100 other corgis.

I made my way back to the State House to gather my things, get my car, and call my office to tell my boss I lost a dog and would likely not be in today, on account of having to find said dog. I called the Providence Police, the Brown University Police, the Amtrak Police, and put out BOLOs for Barry. They’d all already been reported, because proactive people are the best.

In my running through the streets of Providence, I found the participants of our 6:27am workout actively on the hunt for Barry the Corgi. People running together, driving together, taking on the narrow streets, the trafficked streets, the parks and alleys of Providence. These incredible humans who came out for a free workout were getting a full-on tour of the City of Providence. These incredible humans who stayed later than normal to be a part of the search for the 7″ tall meatball on legs. My heart is filled with gratitude for each and every one of you for being a part of this search, and full of humility for not thinking I’m a colossal asshole for this happening. I love you more than ever before, and I’m so appreciative of your efforts.

The community of November Project Providence rallied together on a quest to find Barry. I was surprised, but not surprised at all. I was deep in my grief for my mistake, in the midst of my shame spiral, when the People of NP were actively on the hunt with me. To see that love, compassion, support – my heart was full. It was through each and every single one of you helping this morning to make this awful situation a community dog hunt effort.

While in my car, I received a phone call from the dog’s human. She had gotten a call from a stranger who had eyes on the dog. With the help of two other incredible humans of November Project, we made our way to the Pedestrian Bridge, where Barry the Corgi was sitting, quietly contemplating his adventures that morning.

And then he saw me. I assume this was he was thinking when he did. “Oh shit, it’s the cops,” Barry said to himself. “I mean sort of the cops, It’s that bald, beardy guy from earlier that I escaped from. Seems like he wants to hang out. Better get out of here.”

So Barry booked it across the bridge, while myself and two other NP heroes gave chase. I shouted in my daddest dad voice “SOMEONE GRAB THE LEASH,” but to no avail. Barry made his way across the street.

As we made our way to the other side of the bridge, the following conversation took place.

Stranger: Are you the person looking for the dog?
Me: Yeah…
Stranger: I grabbed him when I heard you yell.
Me: Are you serious? OMFG!! Thank you!!

Barry. Found. Happy about adventures.

Tears of joy. That’s the only way to describe the leakiness emitting from my eyes. Thanking her profusely, calling the people on the search, posting up onto the social medias, calling back the Police Department…these things happened simultaneously while trying to get Barry to take some water. Meanwhile, Barry glanced up at us, smiling broadly, excited for his next adventure.

To everyone who helped search for Barry today – thank you. Thank you for sharing, thank you for hunting, thank you for caring and showing your support. We found Barry together, and next time he heads to the dog park, he’s going to have the best stories to tell about his day in the city.

And this – this is my story. I’m relieved we found him, embarrassed he got away, and grateful for every single one of you.

Oh, and I ran through the RIPTA Tunnel, and that was THE COOLEST! (note – we still do not condone this behavior)

Somebody’s gonna sleep real good today

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