Friday, December 19, 2014

Ozmer Henry's Frantic Search For The Bride's Missing Dog, 1921

“All Over a Dog,” from the Rockingham Post-Dispatch, Dec. 22, 1921

The days of Atty. Ozmer L. Henry last week have been full of trouble and expense—and all over a dog. But all’s well that ends well.

On Dec. 7th Mr. Henry went to Boston to attend the marriage of his brother, Dr. Boyce Henry of Greensboro. Dr. Henry’s bride possessed a beautiful English setter that she prized very highly. From the goodness of his heart mr. Henry volunteered to bring the dog back to Rockingham, the intention being for the bride to get her dog when she came down several days later.

Mr. Henry reached Rockingham with the dog in fine condition, and placed him in the back yard of his home, chained. This was on Monday, the 12th. The next morning the cook fed the dog and loosened the chain so the animal could have more freedom in eating. And then church was out. That dog was kennel-raised, and as soon as he found himself free he tarried not. Like a streak, he fled. And then followed days of anguish for the brief filer and law exponent. Half a dozen cars were hired and the woods and nearby towns scoured. Circulars were printed and distributed, rewards offered. Haste was imperative—the dog must be found before Dr. Henry and bride should reach here.

Two days after his escape, the dog was found by Frank Garner, near the county home, with the chain hung in a fence. Mr. Garner had visions of the reward, and no doubt had mentally spent the money; but the dog was quicker; with a lunge the animal snapped the chain in two, and lit out across the field and into the woods beyond.

And then for three days ensued a state of affairs hard to imagine. From all parts of the county came messages to Mr. Henry that his dog had been seen in such and such a place (as a matter of fact, the dog was never a mile from the town limits.) One darkey even brought in to Mr. Henry three dogs—but they were not the English setter. Saturday night a crowd of folks chased a dog that they thought was the one wanted, over on Watson Heights and into Mr. John Thomas’ yard—only to be greeted by Mr. Thomas with the demand, “what are you people running my dog for.” No stray dog was safe hereabouts—you see, Christmas is near and a $25 reward just now is not to be despised. And so many hundreds of people became dog chasers.

Finally Sunday afternoon a party of searchers came upon the dog on the edge of Pee Dee mill pond. The dog of course ran—who wouldn’t with such a hullabaloo after him? The crowd followed in the vicinity of Steele street. The word was spread that the dog was located. Mr. Henry came on the scene. A plan of action was mapped out. Cars were stationed on different streets on the lookout. The area where the dog was last seen was surrounded, the net began to close in—and the dog promptly closed out, making another getaway through the cordon. The thoroughly frightened animal came down the street, the several score chasers in full cry before him. A fox chase could not have been more exciting. Reaching the Henry Wall premises, the dog darted across the open space, only to come full upon a high poultry fence. And this was his undoing. Surrounded, no escape in sight, it reminded one of the Old Guards last stand at Waterloo. Again the crowd closed in, and this time the dog came out loser. Dock Floyd made the final grab, but before getting a hold on his neck the dog bedded his teeth several times in Floyd’s hand. But that didn’t matter to Floyd—so long as he got the $25 reward. Mr. Henry then took the dog in charge, petted him up, calmed him and within the hour his dogship was quietly and voraciously eating the first meal since his escape six days before, and apparently is now little the worse for his answering the “call of the wild.” Mrs. Dr. Henry is once more reunited with her pet—and all’s well that ends well. But no doubt dogs will continue to be caught throughout the county until the news of the capture is spread complete.

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