“It was the most rain I’d ever seen in my life,” said Taylor Spurgeon, a senior equipment operator at the County’s Alpine road station.
Late Friday afternoon, August 17, Japatul was experiencing flash flooding and Taylor was “storm patrolling” in the driving rain. Then, about 200 yards ahead he saw something running down the center line of the road. He caught up with it, saw it was a very large black Labrador Retriever, pulled over and opened the door thinking he would get out and try to corral the dog. Instead as soon as the door of his truck opened, “the dog jumped right in and began licking me head to toe, like I’m his long-lost friend.
“I would not normally put a dog in the car, but if he jumps in, you know he has to be friendly,” said Taylor.
Taylor got some towels, began to dry the animal off, and noticed a tag on the collar. He called the number on the tag, and left a message, in fact several messages, letting them know he had their dog.
“That happened to me a couple years back,” said Taylor. “I know the feeling your dog is gone. You get that empty feeling. I knew how heartbroken they would be. How I felt when I lost my dog. Your heart just stops – it’s one of the saddest moments of your life.”
For the next two hours Taylor, “now smelling more and more like wet dog,” continued patrolling the area, with Flumpy (yes, that’s the dog’s name) sitting beside him in the cab of the truck.
“He called me and asked if I have a big black dog,” said Lori Bledsoe. “He told me he had Flumpy in his truck and Flumpy was soaking wet.”
Ultimately, Taylor and Flumpy’s owners were able to meet up.
Flumpy is just one of many strays Chris and Lori Bledsoe and their son, Sam, have taken in over the years. They named this one Flumpy “because when you pet him, he goes boneless and just flumps.”
Apparently during the storm, Flumpy, who despite his 120 pounds is afraid of thunder and lightning, broke out of the house and escaped – into the driving rain.
“The lady started tearing up; she was overjoyed. Her son was overjoyed to have his dog back,” said Taylor.
“I thought that it was awesome he didn’t just call the dog catcher,” said Lori Bledsoe. “Plus, a lot of people are afraid of big dogs, and Flumpy is a big boy, although he is afraid of thunder and lightning.”
Chris, Lori, and Sam were grateful for a County employee finding their dog, and making a special effort to care for him and return him, and who, like the Lone Ranger, merely departed with nothing more than a simple thank you without them even knowing his identity.
“We’re not heroes,” said Taylor. “We’re public servants doing things for the public. That’s our job.”
In the letter they wrote to Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the Bledsoe’s expressed their appreciation “for this unknown person who saved Flumpy.
“We don’t know his name or for which department he works, only that…he saw an animal in need and did his good deed for the day, heck maybe for the year. Please accept our kudos to the Unknown County Worker.”
Dear Bledsoe Family: We will; and we have.