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Saturday, May 14, 2005

In addition to being the neighborhood plant expert, my wife is the defacto neighborhood animal expert. We've been called to neighbor's houses to help diagnose animals and deal with strays more than once. Last night she was called to duty again, this time I was actually of some help.

The next door neighbor girl, Jenna, rang our door bell around 9:00 PM last night and said there was a big dog in the yard with a thing on it's lip and maybe Jennifer should look at it. The big dog was "Bear" (according to his collar), and he is a very friendly, but very old Golden Retriever. The thing on his lip was a growth of some sort, Jenna was afraid it was a disease. We took Bear into our garage and wrote down the information on the tag, a name, an address and a phone number.

For the sake of the story well say the name on the tag was Judith Dulan. We called the number on Bear's tag to find Judith but go no answer. I used google to find what I could about Judith Dulan and found several references to an address at a local business that assists with life crisises. We called the number for the business which had a paging service for emergencies. Jennifer decided to see if she could find out anything from someone who might work with Judith and left our number on the paging system. In the meantime I looked up the address on the tag on maps.google.com. The address was quite a drive away and across some major highways. I also did a property search via the Greene County Assesor's site to see who currently owned the property at the address. Curiously there was no record for that address.

Soon someone returned our call and Jennifer explained we were trying to track down this Judith. They told her she hadn't worked there for years. So that was a dead end.

I considered driving to the address on the tag but decided to first do some more searching. I looked under Judith Dulan on the assessor's site for properties she might own. I found one that was closer but also seemed unlikely that Bear could have made that trek.

Using google I did a reverse phone number search by typing in the phone number in the google search bar. I was returned an address also quite some drive away. I also used the reverse look up tools on the ultimates.com to find that another Judith was also tied to that number, a Judith Wheeler, (for the sake of the story, I've changed the names again). I did a property search for this address and found it was regesitered to a Bill Wheeler.

I did some more searching on Bill, and found his name on some local cycling clubs. No other information was given about him, but lots of the other members had phone numbers listed. Jennifer started calling those people to see if they knew if he had a dog and had lost it.

I decided at that point to try driving to each address to see if I could track them down that way. If no one was home, I would see if the neighbors could help. I wasn't sure which place to go to first. I thought I might as well start with the original address that was on Bear's tag. Or I could try the property that Judith owns according to the assessor's site, it was the closest of all of them. Instead I decided to try the address that the phone number reversed to.

It was quite a trek in a very affluent area of South East Springfield. It was raining hard and was very dark by this time (close to 10:00 PM). At some point Jennifer called and said she talked to two of the members of the club and no one knew who this guy was. They also said there was a big race out of town, and most of the club was gone to it.

I made my way through some tricky streets, it was difficult to follow the map and drive in the dark rainy night. I couldn't seem to find the entrance to the neighborhood I was looking for from the North, what seemed the easiest on the map. I instead had to circle around to some better marked streets on the opposite end.

I finally found the address I was looking for, got out in the rain and rang the door bell. The house was quite nice, as all the houses in that area were. It was dark inside but I hope for the best. I soon heard a "hello?" and I answered back "hello!?". I was met by a couple, who were obviously not expecting visitors, they were dressed in their bed clothes.

I asked if they were missing a dog, they said no, sorry and started to close the door. I asked if this was where Bill and Judith lived and they said yes. I looked at my google print outs trying to figure out how I got here again, and asked, "Judith Wheeler."

She gave me an impatient look and said yes, and I said "Judith Dulan?"

She looked surprised when I said that and said "is it Bear?" I was pretty happy at that point.

"Yes it's Bear" I told her. I asked if she knew who Bear belonged to.

"Bless your heart, come on in" she told me and invited me in. Bill wondered off at that point as Judith filled in some gaps. She told me Judith Dulan was her childrens' grandmother, and Bear is her dog.

I called Jennifer to tell her the good news, "I found Bear's... ummm..." childrens' grandmother's, something I thought, "relation."

I found out that the Judith I was talking to was formerly Judith Dulan, but so is her ex-mother-in-law (they have the same first name, and the Judith I was talking to married the other Judith's son). She was very helpful, and gave me her phone numbers. The number on the tag she kept from the divorce but she only uses it for internet and doesn't even have a phone hooked up to it. She called her ex and left a message as well as her ex-mother-in law's and gave me those numbers as well. She told me if no one came to get Bear that she would. I left with a thanks and the info I needed and headed home.

I woke up this morning about 7:00 and let Bear out of the garage to do his business then came in and called the other Judith. She was very happy to hear from us and quickly came over to get Bear.


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