Bloodhound in Rain

As I drove a remote stretch of Highway 101, rain fell. Dusk was coming on. For over 50 miles, I’d followed a fancy orange vehicle, an SUV of some type. The driver kept a steady pace and it was just us for miles and miles. On the radio, a documentary about the legendary SF band Moby Grape played and I learned of their extraordinary story and heard psychedelic rock songs by them I’d never previously knew existed. They went well with rain.

The orange vehicle slowed down. I slowed down and shut off the radio. In the distance I saw a vague figure in the middle of the oncoming lane…it was…it was…the shape of a coyote. I’ve had some coyote moments in recent months and I relished another one.

The orange vehicle pulled over to the shoulder and stopped. I stopped well behind it, in the middle of the road. No one was behind me. The figure kept trotting down the middle of the oncoming lane. Coyotes don’t do that. They scoot across.

It was a dog, a large dog with big floppy ears. As it came nearer I recognized it as a bloodhound. I could see it was wearing a collar and tags and appeared to have an arrow protruding from its neck.

What in the name of God? Here we go again, I thought, dog rescue time. They never really come at opportune moments. That’s why their called rescues and this one was going to require considerable effort. What exactly do you do with a bloodhound with an arrow in its neck and it’s a late Sunday afternoon and it’s raining and you are in the middle of nowhere?

The driver side door to the orange vehicle opened and a man emerged, a younger man, pretty hipster looking in attire. The bloodhound went toward him. The man coaxed the dog closer to the vehicle. The bloodhound stepped into the car and barely squeezed inside.

I was utterly confused, dumbfounded. It seemed as if the dog and man already knew each other, but that was impossible. The entire incident seemed more like a dream, hallucination or poem, one that was unfolding 20 yards in front of me. I accelerated my car forward and passed the orange vehicle at a slow speed because I wanted a look inside at the bloodhound. I had to!

The windows were tinted. I could see nothing. Nevertheless, I knew I had just witnessed a spectral rescue of a wounded bloodhound in rain, one I would never forget, and one I would also never fathom.

I turned on the radio. Moby Grape was still doing their thing, and I headed down the road.