The teeny tiny town of Hartland is famous for one very special thing--the longest covered bridge in the world. For me, it became even more famous...
You can see the bridge right in the middle of this picture.
As I approached the town and spied the bridge up ahead, I quickly pulled off the road, parked, and jumped out of the RV to take pictures.
It was a picturesque spot, here looking in the opposite direction at the railroad bridge.
The road was rather busy but I decided to brave it and walk along for a ways to get more pictures.
I finally crossed the road and was up against a very wooded cliff when I heard a little whimper.
I looked down and there was this little creature, covered with burrs and trembling all over.
He came cautiously toward me, licked my hand--and stole my heart.
Beyond any doubt he was lost.
He had a tag on his neck that read #74 but no name or phone number. He kept running ahead of me
then turning back to see if I was following him. He also kept checking the cars that drove by as if looking for a familiar one.
I was particularly worried that he would run onto the highway but he stayed close to me.
As we got to the town I stopped at the first house we came to. A young man came to the door and I asked if he knew the dog. He didn't, but he took the dog's picture and said he would put it on Facebook along with my phone number.
He also gave me a leash and told me to try the grocery store--"They know everyone in town."
As we walked toward the store I stopped several people to ask if they recognized the dog--none did. But one pickup truck full of sneering guys suggested, "Lady, just let the dog go--he'll find his way home."
And that's why I see so many dead dogs along the roads. Grrr!
There were a dozen or more people in the store but none recognized #74. They suggested I check with city hall about the tag but it was Sunday and the offices were closed.
Before long I had met 20 or more residents of Hartland. Several bought some doggy treats for #74 and then I realized I had walked away from the RV without my purse or keys--and it was unlocked! Could I become as homeless as #74?
Everyone in the grocery store pulled out their phones and began calling friends and neighbors to see if anyone knew of a lost dog. There had been a parade that morning (that I had missed) so no one appeared to be at home in the entire town. Messages were left and I thanked them all and walked over to the bridge to get another picture.
Suddenly I heard someone shout, "Tippy! Where have you been? I have looked everywhere for you."
He told me they had gone to the parade and at one point some parade 're-enactor' fired a musket near their car and Tippy bolted and ran. It was close to the top of that cliff and I think Tippy ended up rolling down to the road where I found him.
I was sad to say 'Goodbye' to #74/Tippy but he didn't seem to mind at all. What a successful day. The RV was where I left it, #74 found his owner, there were three 'thank you' messages on my phone, and I felt I knew just about everyone in town. I could hardly have asked for more.
The next stop was Woodstock, New Brunswick (not New York). I found a great parking spot right on the river within walking distance of downtown.
The parking area was not posted so I thought to stay for the night unless someone insisted I move. I did park in an area that was not easily spotted from the road, and there were lots of cars with boat trailers there so I thought I might get away with it.
It was worth the risk.
I have decided, I will hunt for the perfect dog--or cat--as soon as I am back in the U.S.