Two days of rain ended this morning, so it goes without saying that dogs were being walked. Our course took us over the bridge and then down to the the Ohio River flood plain that the locals call the McKees Rocks Bottoms. The Bottoms are separated from the rest of McKees Rocks by a set of impassably broad railroad tracks, and the only way to get by them are 1) over the McKees Rocks Bridge, and 2) down River Avenue to West Carson Street.
The basenjis made their zigzag way across the Bottoms, frequently raising the ire of other dogs who were chained up in the back yards of the houses we passed. We traveled down the length of Hamilton Street, which is bordered on one side by the Ranger Park basketball court, and on the other side by a stand of tangled, forbidding woods. We turned right onto Schoen Street, and were nearing the intersection of Shingiss Street when I noticed a large dog crouching on the side of the road. He had short tan fur and a black-and-red dog collar with an Allegheny County dog tag.
He was a stray dog, and he came over to investigate the basenjis. Louis can get a little growly when we come across other male dogs, particularly unfixed dogs like the stranger, so I kept the two apart as best I could. The stranger evidently decided that he liked the basenjis, because when we began walking up Shingiss Street, he followed us. I passed a woman and asked her if she knew who the dog belonged to, but she said she didn't. She had never seen him before.
At this point I noticed a pickup truck from the local Department of Public Works turning onto Schoen, so I followed it, and the stranger followed me. The driver said he didn't know what to do about stray dogs. He did, however, have the number for the local Police Department, so I called them. I was connected to a woman who got my information, then told me that she would call the local animal control people, who would get back to me.
While I was waiting to hear back from animal control, the stranger began walking back up to Shingiss, and I followed him. I trailed him up Shingiss, then left onto Catherine Street. There were three teenaged boys on Catherine who expressed alarm at the sight of the stranger. One of the boys said the dog belonged to a neighbor of his, and I persuaded him to lead the dog back to his home. He did so, and soon had the dog restored to his place behind a chain-link fence. Since the gate was closed when we got there, I wondered how the dog had escaped, and the boy said that he had probably jumped over the fence.
With the stranger restored to his home, the basenjis and I made our own way back over the bridge and to our happy home. It's now 4:25 PM, two hours since we called about the stranger, and I still haven't heard back from animal control.