“Brutus, come home”

Fancy-free dog -- lost when owner falls in park -- is found through the kindness of ranger

“Teresa Moore decided to venture down an alternate pathway with her dog Brutus at Manchester State Park on a sunny and warm April afternoon, a rarity in these parts.Moore, a South Kitsap-area resident, wanted to enjoy a day away from work and celebrate her new position with Boeing’s legal department. The winding path, strewn with pebbles, sloped steadily downhill and the walk proved difficult. But Moore wasn’t too concerned, since she and Brutus were but 15 feet from the roadway.Moore didn’t notice the pebble she stepped on until her left ankle twisted over it and she fell to the ground, writhing in pain. Doctors later told the 47-year-old that she fractured her ankle twice and dislocated it. Moore never broke a bone in her body before. Later that day at Harrison Memorial Hospital, surgeons inserted two pins, a rod and a bolt in her ankle. Moore returned home after several days of physical therapy, though she’s still waiting for her ankle to entirely heal.So there Moore sat on the ground, stunned. As she fell, Moore dropped Brutus’s leash, and the 4-year-old dog ran off, apparently more interested in pursuing wildlife than staying by his owner’s side.I remember he looked right at me, and his eyes seemed to say, ‘I’m going to chase some squirrels,’ Moore explained, remembering how Brutus bounded off, heedless of her cries. Brutus, a cross between a German shepherd and chow chow, is the type of dog who demands immediate attention. Tongue and tail wagging, Brutus jumps on those who happen to visit Moore. He won’t bite, but he could love you to death.Moore worried her fancy-free dog would get lost, but her pain was too much to bear. I couldn’t think of him running off, yet I had to get help, she said.Still sitting, Moore scooted down toward the roadway, where a young couple eventually picked her up. To this day, Moore wishes she asked for their names to thank them, but at the time, it was too difficult to remember such niceties.The couple drove Moore to the park ranger’s station, and the ranger eventually transported her to Group Health Cooperative in Port Orchard.Ranger Jim Schmidt was absolutely wonderful, Moore said. He iced my ankle, gave me a blanket and made sure I wasn’t blacking out or going into shock.Under Schmidt’s care, Moore slowly regained her senses and told him about her recalcitrant pooch and Schmidt promised to look for him.Moore didn’t know what she’d do without Brutus.When he was just a little puppy, I saw him in a box at a grocery store, and I immediately fell in love with him, she said.That afternoon, as doctors took Moore into surgery at Harrison, Schmidt launched a search for Brutus.When the ranger responded to an unrelated aid call, he spotted Brutus loping by toward the woods. He called for the dog, but Brutus kept going. (Moore had told the ranger to call for Brutus by offering him bits of cheese.)So I kept yelling, ‘Brutus, cheese’ that afternoon, he said. I was a bit embarrassed by it, but kept it up.By the time Schmidt finished with the aid call, Brutus was nowhere to be seen. Schmidt finally found him near some rocks at the water’s edge, and the ranger called for him again. Still obstinate, Brutus took off in the opposite direction, his leash dragging behind. Brutus ended up on a promontory, his chain jammed in some rocks as the tide moved steadily in. While Schmidt waited for a boat to arrive from Blake Island, he called Moore’s trusted neighbor, Kevin Dunn, and her nurse, Connie Moody, showed up at the park as well. All three helped untangle Brutus from the rocky shore, bringing him to safety.Dunn cared for Brutus until Moore came home. And, now that it’s all over, Moore is grateful.She’s glad Boeing decided to hold the job for her, even though she couldn’t start as soon as expected. She’s happy so many people came together to help her.Everyone has been absolutely wonderful about this, Moore said. The actions of those involved have confirmed my faith in man.When it comes to Brutus, however, she’s not as confident.He still won’t listen to me, Moore said with a sigh, admitting she won’t let Brutus out of her sight for an instant.And when her ankle heals, Moore plans to escort Brutus on another jaunt to the park.He hasn’t been on a walk in a long time, she said, admitting he’s anxious.”