I was cruising through a quiet residential neighborhood today when I happened upon an animal potentially headed for trouble.

A Dachshund was frolicking at the side of the street, sniffing around and enjoying her explorations. She hadn’t yet ventured from between the parked cars, but given her small stature and short legs, it would be hard for her to escape a vehicle traveling swiftly, or a car driven by a distracted driver talking or texting.

I swung my car close to the sidewalk just ahead of her, and jumped out to assess the situation. I glanced around, checking to see if there was anyone to query about the dog’s circumstances, but the street was deserted.

Many dogs will run when they are approached by strangers, particularly if you are moving quickly, so I stayed in one spot, crouched close to the ground and extended my arm while calling her.  She didn’t hesitate long before she waddled over, placidly allowing me to scoop her up and place her in my vehicle for assessment.

Maggie smelled and looked clean, and she was on the chubby side, so I knew she hadn’t strayed for long. She wore a collar that dangled license and identification tags, so it was a no-brainer to track down her guardian. She had strayed only a few houses away but it was clear she wasn’t authorized to wander.

When I called her elderly owner, he was hard of hearing. At first, he thought I wanted to sell him something and almost hung up. But after some bellowing on my part, he eventually realized I had his dog. He was surprised she had slipped away from home, but gladly came out to retrieve the mischievous Maggie.

The man told me he had recently returned from an extended hospital visit, and three-year-old Maggie had been a bit discombobulated with all the upheaval. No doubt she was content to be back safe and sound in her guardian’s arms.