291. A Stray Dog's Journey to a New Home
By Julia Szabo
To survive as a stray dog, you need street smarts. In a major metropolis like New York City, you also need to be able to navigate public transportation.
For computer consultant Greg Garnant, it was looking like just another after-work ride on the Manhattan-bound F train – until he noticed a skinny dog, "a good-looking mutt, mostly English pointer," descending the crowded subway staircase ahead of him in the Brooklyn station.
"At first I thought, maybe he's with someone," explains Garnant. "Then I realized he was traveling alone."
The friendly dog approached several passengers on the subway platform. They ignored him.
Garnant squatted down and made friends with the stray, whose "collar" was a dirty red shoelace. He named the dog Greystoke, after the legend of Tarzan, "because he was scruffy but noble underneath."
Garnant led Greystoke back upstairs to the street and asked several passersby if they recognized the dog; no one did.
He contemplated going to the city shelter but admits, "I was concerned he might be put down." So instead, he took Greystoke to a vet in Manhattan, assuming the cost of the dog's care. Then it was back to Brooklyn, where he paid to board Greystoke at the Brooklyn Dog House, which has many connections with local dog-rescue groups.
But the intrepid canine commuter wasn't done traveling from borough to New York borough. Ultimately, the traveling mutt found a permanent home in Queens with author-screenwriter John Zmirak and his beagle, Susie. Zmirak was drawn to a photograph of Greystoke posted online. "He looked gentle yet inquisitive, and I look for personality in a dog."
True to his literary name, Greystoke makes a fine writer's companion.
"As I'm working, he puts his big angel head in my lap and stares up at me – it's really cute," Zmirak says.