A Daring Miles River Rescue by Angela Rieck


This weekend, we were able to rescue a dog from the Miles River. It is an exciting story, but I think that you will see that I am actually telling another story.


On Friday morning at 1 a.m., my friend’s rescue dog, ironically named Waldo, arrived from Alabama. He did not come as advertised. Instead of a sweet, quiet 10-month old puppy, he was a severely traumatized dog, terrified of the world, frozen in fear. Panicked, he jumped the fence and was off to the races and disappeared into the woods. Given his level of fear, he had become feral and would have to be trapped.

We knew that we were going to have to give this problem to the universe.

So she, her parents, and her young boys made signs, searched and waited.

The universe responded.

Every local St. Michaels store put up signs. Strangers searched for him.

Thirty hours later, an astute homeowner spotted him. We dashed to the scene, hoping to formulate a strategy. While she set a trap, I walked around the neighborhood, occasionally spotting him as he raced from yard to yard in panic.

Homeowners didn’t resent my going across their lawns and offered to help, pointing where he was last seen, offering their backyards for traps.

I walked over to someone who was staring into the river. She pointed to a tiny dot in the middle of the river, it turned out to be a dog’s head. She was looking out her window at just the moment a panicked Waldo jumped into a river and started swimming to nowhere. Waldo’s new owner found us, grabbed the homeowner’s kayak, and paddled quickly to the middle of the river. Her young sons waited patiently, watching, confident that he would be okay.

There was not enough time for the police or DNR to respond, so she lifted the drowning dog into the kayak without tipping it over.

In his panic, the dog bit her, hard. She paddled to shore with an arm that would require stitches. I put him in a crate, brought him to my house and she went to the hospital. He will need a long rehabilitation.

Now you tell me, is this just a story of a rescue? I think that it is a story of us. Kind people, who gave their time for people they didn’t know, to help a sad, scared little dog they had never seen. It is a story of the universe, where everything had to unfold just the way that it did to save this little dog.

These are the stories that don’t make the news. Our news is filled with stories of selfish, arrogant, entitled behavior.

But Waldo’s story is the story that I know, that I see every day, everywhere. When we trust the universe, we are trusting ourselves. Because I believe that we are a universe of kind souls who give just because we can.

Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.

Letters to Editor

  1. Mary Munro says

    Same thing happened to me just after Christmas. I took in an 11 lb Rat Terrier who within minutes jumped my 40″ chain link fence. The kindness of all the people who spotted him and let me or Talbot Humane know was heart-warming. I thanked everyone I could, but it’s never enough. I wish Waldo’s owners the best of luck and hope Waldo will finally be able to enjoy his forever home. Note to new owners: a drag line for the first while could save his life. My little rescue’s was 20 feet long and made of paracord.

  2. Beverley Martin says

    So appreciated this heartwarming story. Let’s “write” more them!

  3. Kelley Werner says

    This is a wonderful story. It would be so great if the Talbot Spy could keep us all up to date of Waldo. I am sure we would all be so interested in how he is doing in the future

  4. This is a classical example of Caritas, Latin meaning love for all, a practice of loving-kindness and empathy. Caritas is unconditional love- a type of affection and caring that is so strong that you feel it consistently, regardless of what that person does or who he is. In this case, Caritas saved a creature in serious mental and physical distress. Hopefully, with further affection and care it will become a devoted companion.
    Life is Good,

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