Kumo can run like the wind. Before I knew his given name I was calling him Ghost but felt that Arrow might be a better choice.

I learned from the get go that giving chase is of no use–Kumo can run circles around me and does. He is also smart and wily and careful not to get close enough that his collar can be grabbed.

This dog absolutely will not come when called and is not tempted by a proffered treat. In other words, approach is totally on his own terms.

With Kumo’s history of roaming, I took no chances and had him microchipped during his recent surgery. But even with that precaution, there is no question that being off leash is something that can occur only in contained areas.

Kumo arises early, and our first walk is taken while I am yet a bit groggy.

This morning my thoughts were elsewhere when I had the unsettling realization that the leash in my hands was suddenly connected to nothing–evidently I had not attached it firmly to Kumo’s collar and it had come loose. Kumo was just ahead of me but at the same moment I realized he was free, so did he. And he was off like a shot, an arrow.

I didn’t know what to do and nor did he. The call of the wild and all those mourning doves were pulling him off and away. And yet, he did stop when he was a good distance away to look back. Suddenly he was running toward me again and for one brief second I thought he would return. Rather, he ran wildly to and fro, close to me, away again, exhilarated by his sudden freedom of choice. Because it really was up to him at this point.

As I sat on the pavement in the middle of the parking lot, my heart pounding, tears quietly rolled down my cheek. ‘This is it’ I thought, my dream of a little white dog over. And so I stood back up and walked slowly to the building. Maybe, just maybe he would follow. And if not, I would go get Appa, the great white Pyrenees who is Kumo’s first and best friend at Western Avenue, and try to lure my little wild thing back inside that way.

I shut the glass door behind me and Kumo came closer. The minute I opened it he bolted. When I closed the door a second time he cautiously approached. I opened it just a tiny way this time and to my great surprise and overwhelming relief, he came inside.


At the moment he is laying beside me on the couch, pressed up against my arm as I type. We’ve had our breakfast now and he’s licked my bowl clean for me.

I think we’re good.

20 responses to “Tested

  1. I saw an article about your journey a couple of years ago on AOL and have followed you ever since. Through your blog, I discovered Ezra and followed him as well. I am absolutely thrilled that you found your soul mate, Kumo. He is absolutely adorable and so very lucky to have found you. There is no love equal to that of a dog. 🙂

    • Letitia, I think about Ezra all the time. I purchased one his photos–a self portrait. What a hell of a writer/fighter/person. And I got such a kick out of his photos of Putney. Kumo is inseed sort of my soul mate, ala Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. My new roommate is a little bit feral, but then, so am I. Thanks for saying hey–I’m glad you’re along for the ride.


  2. Linnea, I love everything you write, and do believe Kumo has found his human soul-mate, and vice-versa. So happy for you both.

  3. Wonderful account… I really enjoyed the mental picture you painted. Although I work away at it most every day, it’s forever difficult to define or to understand the nuances and intricacies of the human-animal bond. On so many levels.

    • Thank you Jay. I am doing my best to observe and appreciate those nuances–spending time with another creature up close is always a privilege (no matter the species 😉


  4. The power of love and companionship:-)

  5. Kumo is adorable — now that he’s back safe at home! Good for him, learning to trust. He knows a good thing. Sounds like a good dish washer, too.

    • So glad he turned around. He is adorable, when he’s not being a little shit, which is part of his personality too.


  6. He is adorable! Good for you for giving him a good home too. I’m sure glad he came back! Perhaps with more time he will learn that you’re a safe haven and he needed run away from you.

    • I think the call of the wild is strong in this one. However, he has also found a safe place and he must understand that to be so.


  7. Wow … how frightening for you … and for him. I am so happy you have your boy back.

  8. Never chase a running away dog. Always walk in the opposite direction all the while calling him. It worked for you this time and should in the future.
    So happy you have him and I’m sure he’s happy to have you!!

    • This was not something I knew but chasing him the first time taught me there was no way I’d catch him a second.


  9. Trust takes time. He will get there. Poor little soul has possibly been punished when he did return to his previous owners.

    • I think the little guy has been punished a lot. He can really push some buttons (very spirited and an intense bark) but mothering has prepared me for these challenges 🙂


  10. Hi Linnea, I am so happy that you found your little ghost. He looks like an Arctic Fox! We have two Chihuahuas, a black one and a white one. Kumo looks like he could have a little chihuahua in him. For the most part, ours come when called, but every now and then, they get a little independent. I have been scared more than a few times when they decide to run away from you.
    Peter and I are coming to Boston on Wednesday for an appointment with Dr. Shaw on Thursday. If you have time for a cup of Joe, maybe Thursday morning, perhaps we could meet at Tatte’s or some other place nearby.

    • Jon, I am just getting to the comments on this post. What time on Thursday? I might be able to arrange that!


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