December 29, 2012

Citizens of the Week: Christian Chadwick and Jonathan Wakefield

When a Dalton native who lives in Atlanta asked her parents to “dog-sit” while she visited friends in North Carolina, the parents agreed. After all, the two dogs were “Dalton dogs” before moving south last spring.

Their local accommodations were familiar, as were the daily routines of walks, play and “going to see a dog about a man,” or for those not familiar with the vernacular, answering nature’s calls.

The latter ritual involves securing a leash to the collar of each dog and walking the dogs the short distance to the “canine powder room.” There they are independently secured to cables with ample room to run away from each other.

When the dogs arrived for their “vacation,” leashes had been left inadvertently in Atlanta. An encased-in-plastic cable became the make-shift solution as a hook on each end was attached to each dog collar. The dog walker held the cable in the middle to escort the animals the few feet to the designated yard. The plan worked for the first 12 mornings of their “week-long” visit.  

On morning number 13 around 7, the “grand-dogs” uncharacteristically decided to escape and ripped the cable out of their “grand-master’s” hand as they took off down the street. Clearly, they would have preferred “wireless,” but were stuck with cable, a 10-foot-long cable.

A long day of searching the neighborhood and beyond while calling the dogs’ names every few dozen yards fetched no “grand-dogs.”

The two “dogs-on-the-lam” should not be too hard to identify, the couple told neighbors as they knocked on doors and handed out fliers describing the dogs. One is a black-and-brown German Shepherd mix and the other a black-and-white Jack Russell mix. The real giveaway was that this “Mutt and Jeff” duo was connected by a cable. The danger was that they could get wrapped around a tree or bush and become trapped.

Darkness fell, as did the thermometer, bringing not only shivers from the cold, but also shivers from the thought of two dogs possibly stranded on a chilly night after a day without food or water.

As 10 p.m. approached, the couple answered the door to see Christian Chadwick and Jonathan Wakefield gripping a cable connected on either end to a tired, but excited dog.

The men had heard the animals’ distress calls in a wooded area down a steep hill behind Chadwick’s house and took off with a flashlight to rescue the pooped pair. Sure enough, the cable had entangled the dogs in the wooded area. Chadwick and Wakefield freed the dogs and returned them to the owners.

Meeting numerous wonderful neighbors and seeing how caring and concerned each neighbor was about the dogs was an unexpected plus in the ordeal, the owners said.

Having two men descend a steep hill into the woods on a dark night to rescue and return two frightened dogs to neighbors they had met just that day is the kind of intangible gift this holiday season is all about and a Christmas-card-perfect example of peace and good will.

For their generous act of compassion and kindness, The Daily Citizen names Christian Chadwick and Jonathan Wakefield Citizens of the Week.

Meanwhile, the couple has acquired two leashes for future grand-dog visits!


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