What Happened to Huckleberry? (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Huckleberry is Home!


If you follow me on social media, you saw this yesterday:

Or maybe this:

Many people have reached out, wondering what happened. It’s a bit too much to explain on social media, so I figured I’d attempt to write a brief thing about it to answer those questions.

Every Sunday my oldest daughter, our dog, Huckleberry, and I go for a two-three mile bike ride. We’ve got this Walky Dog PLUS® Bike Leash that allows the three of us to enjoy our rides together with ease (if you’re a dog owner who enjoys riding your bike, I highly recommend getting one of those things). My oldest daughter (age: 6) looks forward to these Sunday morning adventures, as do I, as a highlight of our week.

Yesterday, while on our ride at around 8:15 am, a woman in a gray SUV came racing out of the Second Base restaurant parking lot on Chapman. She was on her phone and her music was blaring. She did not see my dog, my daughter, or me, and almost hit all three of us.

Let that sink in for a moment: All three of us were almost hit by a car because a woman was going too fast and looking down at her cellphone instead of the road ahead.

I may hate that woman for a very long time.

Thankfully, I was paying attention. What happened next happened in a matter of two or three seconds.

I slammed the brakes of my bike, allowing the back tire spin around to the front. My daughter tried to stop, but panicked. I reached out and grabbed her, lifting her and her bike into the air and away from the car. Huckleberry yelped, but I couldn’t see him. I caught a glance at the woman driving the car: she smiled, mouthed “sorry,” and drove away.

My daughter was in tears, terrified. Huckleberry was gone. He had spun himself out of his collar and, as terrified as the rest of us, begun running away. My daughter and I saw this at the same time. She called out his name– No. She screamed it, watching him run down the middle of the Chapman as cars veered to avoid him (don’t take his escape as a knock against the Walky Dog setup — Huckleberry is 50+ pounds and, in the chaos, any dog could have gotten out of their collar).

My adrenaline was going now. “Get on your bike and follow Daddy.”

We rode after Huck but he was far too fast. About a block down the rode I found a cop sitting in his car. I yelled at him to help and he did. He drove quickly down the road, chasing after our dog.

We lost sight of them both at Chapman and Flower.

I called my wife and told her to go outside, on the off chance that Huckleberry was running home. When my daughter and I got back to our apartment we found my wife, but no Huckleberry.

The girls went back inside and I waited for the cop to return. He did, took my statement, and promised to call me if he heard anything (which is more than he needed to do, so I am grateful for that officer).

After putting my bike away I got in my car and drove around for an hour and a half. No Huck. While I did that, my wife called shelters, vets, and his chip company; he wiggled free of his collar, which means he has no tags on him now, but he is chipped, so if he’s taken to an animal facility, he can be returned to us.

As I write this, sitting at my computer, my wife and daughters are putting up signs with Huckleberry’s picture all over our neighborhood, our bike route, and along poles in the direction he was running. They’re also talking to a few neighbors, and a large community of homeless who lives in the Santa Ana River Trail near our home.

I am not out with them because, as a result of the incident with the woman on her cellphone, the three herniated discs in my lower back have relapsed. I have a cane, and back-brace, and an ice-pack. I’m kind of useless.

Perhaps the worst part of this entire situation is what’s going on with my oldest daughter: she’s convinced this is her fault. Or at least, she was. I think she may understand that it isn’t now (her mother and I have said this to her many, many times), but she blames herself for almost getting hit by the woman on her phone. Yes, I know it’s absurd, but that’s how her brain works.

We need your help. Since it is a holiday weekend, none of the animal care facilities we depend on will be able to assist us until tomorrow. Until then, we need to get the word out and share with the Orange County community that Huckleberry is missing, he has a family that loves him dearly, and we want him back.

So please, share this post. Share the above Facebook and Twitter posts. Help us get the word out?

Thanks for reading this “quick” explanation.

Be well.