Saturday, November 14, 2009

Crossing the line

It was a dark and stormy night at Peace Arch.

I got to the U.S.-Canada border last night with something to declare, but it wasn’t anything I had purchased.

It was my mission. Animal rescue.

That was relevant because of what I’d just seen. I had been driving down the lanes towards the checkpoint booths around dinnertime when I noticed a thin dog resembling a yellow Labrador trotting along the grassy shoulder. I was headed home to the United States. But the dog was going in the opposite direction, north towards Canada, with her nose traveling close to the ground.

I wasn’t sure if her guardian was nearby, maybe on foot enjoying the lush Peace Arch Park. Perhaps waiting for her in a car.

Peace Arch Park—named for a giant white arch that declares peace between the two nations—surrounds the border crossing connecting British Columbia to Washington State, and Canada to the United States. It's a popular park, and the busiest crossing west of Detroit.

When it was my turn to pull up to the booth, I asked the officer if he knew about the dog.

It turns out I wasn’t the only animal rescuer on the premises. Not only had border officers spotted her, but they had started feeding her too. And had tried to get close enough to catch her.

But so far, the dog had eluded them.

I asked the guard for permission to try. He sent me to park my vehicle in the area usually reserved for searching cars, and into the office to speak to the supervisor. I grabbed a leash from my rescue kit and set off.

The supervisor was kind, expressing concern for the dog and for me. He warned me to be careful amid the traffic. It was stormy, and hail had started pelting little round pellets the size of peppercorns. I trudged along through the slush and searched. My pink skirt wasn’t the best attire for the job, but the galoshes I was wearing were perfect for the task.

Unfortunately the dog had vanished for the time being.

But still I drove off feeling peace. She will resurface again, and I'm sure the guards will help her when she does. When I returned to the building empty-handed, several officers promised to look out for the border-running canine.

Because at Peace Arch, humanity is international.

I was soaked to the skin after my fruitless search for the border-dashing dog.

I recently became a dual citizen. You can read about the citizenship ceremony by going to Not Born in the USA.

1 comment:

Morgan Remenar said...

Amazing pictures Carreen. It's so good to finally have time to catch up on your blog :)