GO HERE to read Part 1 of Helo's Big Adventure.
We live in a small-ish neighborhood that is tucked behind a couple major roads. To put it in perspective, the big indoor mall in Fort Wayne (population 250,000) is about three quarters of a mile from our house (as the crow flies), and the highway is about a mile and a quarter away from us in another direction.
So even though we live in this quiet, remote, woodsy subdivision, it's blocks from lots and lots of civilization and one of the most trafficked areas of the city.
The moment we realized Helo had left our neighborhood (and had probably done so within minutes of getting hit), the whole plan of finding him seemed that much more impossible. According to Tad, Helo had been broadsided. He rolled up on the car's hood and winshield before being thrown into the snow.
So he had to be hurting and running on adrenaline at this point. And what chance does an injured black dog have of crossing a six-lane road at night without getting hit?
So, we set out to find him. Because if we didn't, chances were he'd end up having to brave a night of freezing temperatures and snow. And, of course, possibly death.
The snow, however, ended up being our best friend.
We had about six inches of it on the ground, and despite the police officer losing Helo's tracks and being unable to find them again, we found them (says a lot for Fort Wayne's finest! ;). This was a moment when we thanked God for Helo's massive paws. Because there was no mistaking our boy's tracks.
So, we followed his path. Through people's yards (one lady sent her dogs out after Tad, thinking he was an intruder) and across streets where we'd pick them up again hundreds of feet away from where they left off.
Basically, there was a lot of putting our ears to the ground and fingering the snowy soil and smelling scent rubbed against trees and you know. Aragorn-type stuff. Or Sully-type stuff, if that's your thing.
We followed the tracks until we lost them at the big road I mentioned. The road that is some hundreds of feet away from a giant, massive intersection.
Tad set out on foot, and I took the car. I knew that there is a trailer-type neighborhood behind the businesses on the far side of the road, so that's where I headed. I drive up and down these dead-end roads, until I spot a set of tracks that just seems a bit random. Like it doesn't lead to a mailbox or door or anything. Something tells me to check these tracks. So, I get out, and I'm convinced they're Helo's. I follow them to behind a garage, where I lose them in a rust pile.
Just beyond the rust pile, and on the other side of a really big garage, is a gas station and what would be another super major road in Fort Wayne. So, I get Tad, he stays at the rust pile to see if he can find where the tracks pick up, and I head to the big road.
I'm driving up and down this major road, hoping and yet fearing to see a black dog on the side of the road. Hoping, because the Interstate is now a quarter of a mile away, and Helo is headed north in its direction.
I eventually meet up with Tad, who picked up Helo's tracks and then lost them in a car dealership lot. So, he leaves word with the people who work there, and we go north to a neighboring fenced-in hotel complex. We can't find him or his tracks, and I'm beginning to wonder if Helo somehow snuck around the fence and is heading toward the Interstate. So, we head to the Interstate.
At this point, we start praying like crazy. Clearly, we've lost his tracks. We have no idea where he is, and he's been missing for almost two and a half hours. That's plenty of time for him to get far, far away. Or get snatched by someone. Or, get hurt even worse. Tad calls a bunch of other people, and they start praying. We pray, because we have nothing left. Which is really sad in retrospect, because it's totally one of the first things we should have done.
No tracks in the field leading to the Interstate. So then, we head north on this main road, wondering if maybe he stuck to IT instead of veering off of it (and onto the Interstate). It was here that we got a phone call.
Helo had been found. It's 9pm.
We go to the hotel, and the guy who called us says that it's actually the dealership that has Helo. So, we go to the dealership, and standing inside of the showroom, looking out the window, is our dog.
We run in there and get him, thank the people (the guy closing up for the night had found Helo between two big SUVs), then lift Helo into the car. He's limping. So we head to the emergency pet hospital.
After a quick exam, we head home at 10:30pm. Helo simply has a bruised hip and a few scratches. His prescription? The doggy version of Ibuprofin.
And it's at this point that someone asks us how the car who hit him fared.
Probably not as well.
I strongly feel that God led us to Helo. We never failed to find Helo's tracks, no matter how crazy of a path he took. And we talked to the right people...people who would be instrumental in helping us get Helo back. And, we found him a mile away from home. Think about your hometown or city. Think of where you live, or a spot in town that is heavily populated and trafficked. Then, choose a spot a mile away. A mile isn't that long. But when you're talking highways and crossing city streets and passing block after block, it's VERY long. So long, that had there not been snow, I don't know how we would have found him. So that's my God post for the month or year. I don't do these very often, because that's not the type of blog this is. But I had to do it here. Because I thought it was a pretty crazy story.