The one year anniversary issue of JOURNEY magazine was taken to the printer yesterday so the Blue line and the proofs could be printed & checked.

I don’t know why a blue line is still called that; it used to be blue, but it’s not anymore. A “blue line” is a complete mock up of the magazine, but in very dull, low-res colors and low grade paper. It is to check that all ads, layouts, page numbers, etc.. are where they’re supposed to be and that the text has no grammatical errors.

The proofs are what they sound like; large uncut sheets of the magazine’s pages, exactly as it will appear when the magazine is printed.

So today I had to go pick up the proofs and the Blue line. Adam, a friend I went through my first treatment center with, and who I started seeing around the rooms again lately, went with me. He is going to be our new marketing manager (And I know this guy can hustle!).

As we left I-95 in Miami and merged onto 1-595, an 8 lane east/west expressway that will take you from Miami all the way to the Everglades, I noticed the traffic was light and eased my old one-eyed Hyndai up to 70.  But as I crested a slight rise, I saw a bunch of cars stopping short or swerving onto the emergency lane. Ahead of that, I could see the road was clear; empty in fact.

“Dude, an accident must have just happened!” I told Adam, as my car nose dived to a stop (She may be older & only has one eye, but her brakes still work like new).

As I looked around to see where the wreckage was, I saw a dog hopping across the expressway. I immediately drove my car to the emergency lane; easing in & out of other stopped cars until I got down to where another car had stopped by the dog & opened its door.

The dog was ½ way in the car and ½ out, and it’s back part sticking out had only one leg!

My mind automatically thought it’d been cut off in the accident, even though I hadn’t see a wreck.

The people in the other car were trying to coax the dog in, but maybe there were too many in the car because the dog backed out and started looking around. It was a black lab; and I saw that its leg had been amputated, not cut off- and recently, too; the hair around its back was newly grown; soft and short, unlike the rest of  its hair.

Scared it was going to run back onto the expressway, I jumped out, and probably more than a little shocked by the sight of its amputated leg – since I already have 3 dogs, opened my back door, and whistled.

The lab looked at me, looked at the open door, looked at me,

Like a fan at a tennis match,

Then hopped over and jumped in.

I waved at the other car, then Adam & I got back in the old Hyndai.

On the way to the printer again, we’re petting the dog and asking her (It was a girl) what the hell was she doing in the middle of an expressway? She smiled a dog’s smile, then lay down and immediately fell asleep.

Heading back to my office with the proofs in the trunk, I call my girlfriend Lynda, “Hi Honey, you’re not going to believe what happened! I found a 3 legged dog on 595 and she’s sleeping in the back seat. Can you believe it?”

Yes, Charlie (she actually sighs here), I believe it (Read my story, ‘Lunch with God’ – you’ll understand), but do not bring it home! We have three dogs already!”

“Honey! It’ll just be until we find her owners.” I cried.

“Like Lady?” She ended the argument.

Lady was a stray that my counselor at my old rehab asked me to keep over the Christmas holidays until they found her owners.

That was two years ago.

I knew someone loved this dog, she was too friendly, fat and for whatever reason she’d had her leg amputated – someone had paid for it.

So when we got back to the office I immediately got online to check the Miami Herald, the Sun Sentinel & Craig’s List to see if anyone had lost a three legged dog.

They hadn’t.

I placed a found dog ad in the Sun Sentinel since it was Broward County’s paper and that’s where we found her. Then I made a final try at the Humane Society.

No luck there either.

I asked them if I could leave my number in case someone called, looking for her.

After the usual questions of sex, breed, age, color, the lady on the phone asked me if there was any distinguishing marks.

“Like I told you, she only has three legs.” I said.

“Which leg is missing?” she asked.

“The back one.” I replied.

Then she asked, without a hint of a giggle, “Left or right?”


I paused, wondering how many three legged dogs go missing, even if this was South Florida,

“Right, facing her, left from her point of view.”

I giggled.

Joel, my art director, came into the front office, and after hearing what happened agreed to keep her until we found her owner.

The dog had scarfed down the Iams that was in a bowl by the front door that my dogs used whenever I brought them to the office, then as if understanding, hopped to the back office and lay down under Joel’s desk.

Twenty minutes later the phone rang. It was my seriously serious friend from the Humane Society.

“Do you still have the animal in your possession?”

“Of course I do.” I said.

“We have a lady here looking for her dog, which has lost a leg. Is it OK if we give her your number so you two can see if it’s her dog you found?”

“Do you really think that another three legged dog was lost today?” I asked, not giggling this time. Irritated; I’d lost a dog before.

“Is the lady with you?”

“Yes, she is.” Too serious replied.

“May I speak to her?” I asked.

A new voice, fearful & hopeful, not serious at all, came on.

“What’s your dog’s name?” I asked.

“Le lu.” Is she alright?” She asked, more fearful than hopeful here.

“She’s eaten & is sleeping under my art director’s desk. She’s fine.” I told her.

I gave the lady my address and she was there in 10 minutes. Turns out Le lu has cancer and they had had to amputate her leg after a tumor had grown there. “But she gets around fine.”

“I saw that on I-595.” I told Le lu’s owner.

“I don’t know how she got there, or why she ran away.” The lady said.

“You mean hopped away.” I said..

Then they left; both with a smile, and the owner with a stack of JOURNEY magazines under her arm (Hey, I am always promoting!).

In the office we were all stoked,

Except for Joel, who was really quiet.

“What’s up Joel? You don’t have to worry about taking care of her now.” We said.

He looks at us and said, “But I wanted to.”

We started talking about dogs. Joel’s favorite is German Sheppards. “Maybe we’ll get you one for Christmas.” I told him.

Joel went back into his office.

As Adam and I got ready to leave a few minutes later, Joel came back out, smiling to beat the band, and said,. “They have a German Sheppard pup at the Humane Society! I just checked online!” he said.

I told Joel to give it a few days to be sure. “You just got your hopes dashed by losing le lu, maybe you’re on the rebound – in a dog lovers kinda way.”

He just smiled.

JOURNEY’S anniversary issue looks great, a dog and her owner were reunited, and a German Sheppard pup may get paroled from the Humane Society –

Not a bad day, at all!




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