"Wow, this weather sure did change, didn't it, Fido?" Ryan said, driving him and his dog through an unexpected snowstorm back to their home in Babylon Gardens in River Ridge.
Fido was in the backseat, messing with the sunglasses he always kept with him. "I'm just disappointed it came in the evening," Fido replied, putting the sunglasses back on his head. He looked out the window at the snow blowing nearly horizontally, both in amazement and disappointment. Each breath Fido made splashed an area of fog on the window, which quickly dissipated in the warmed cab of the car. Fido then leaned forward, pretending like he had a rod and reel in his paws. "Wish we could've spent a few more hours out on the ice… We barely got any bites!"
"Yea, I know how you feel," Ryan, Fido's owner, said back. "This storm wasn't in the weather report this morning, but I guess you can't always predict the weather."
Fido acted like he reeled in a fish from the ice before sighing and leaning back against the window, staring at the snow again. "My day off from the force and this is what happens…" He just stared at the snow flying by. The small amount of sunlight from the horizon that was still getting through seemed to shine on each snowflake. It was having a hypnotizing effect on Fido. He started to fade in and out before he eventually just fell asleep. It was still a while before they'd be back to their house, so a quick nap wouldn't hurt…
The weather refused to let up at all. How a snowstorm this large was missed by the weathermen, Ryan couldn't understand. But he just drove diligently through it all. He had the heaters in the car blowing full blast to counter the freezing air that was just outside. The radio was lightly playing classic music from the 70s. Fido could be heard gently snoring in the back of the car. Through it all, Ryan kept a smile on his face, content with how the day played out. Even though their time on the lake was cut a slight short, he still had fun, and he knew Fido did too, even if he didn't admit it. Neither of his brothers liked ice fishing, and Fido had yet to meet another who shared this hobby with him, so he was all he had on their ice fishing trips.
Fido had just reeled in a decent sized pike before the weather really started to turn into the snowstorm that was currently raging. After Fido released his catch, the two had to move quickly to gather their gear and get back to their car before their visibility on the lake turned to nothing. The visibility for Ryan driving was poor at best. He could barely see a hundred feet in front of him! And the snow that clogged on the windshield was being constantly swept away by the wiper blades every second.
Though through it all, nothing eventful had happened, and the two were back in River Ridge without incident. The streets that they drove on were barren of anyone: human, pet, or otherwise. Houses had half-made snowmen on their lawns, while others left sleds and the like to be buried in the newly falling snow. It seemed like everyone had interrupted their fun in the snow to take shelter from this bitter storm…
"Whoa! No!" …Until Ryan made another turn. Through the poor visibility, he was able to notice a figure in the middle of the road, crossing. Ryan immediately slammed the brakes to avoid colliding with the figure, who was now paralyzed with fear. The car swerved on the slick roads, jarring the sleeping dog in the back awake.
"Gah!" The dog's muzzle was slammed against the window from the sudden swerving of the car. "What's wrong!?" Fido shouted, trying to get his bearings. He managed to straighten himself out before looking ahead and seeing the same frozen figure Ryan saw earlier. Fido's eyes widened, fearing the worst that could happen was about to. He wanted to shout at it to get out of the way, but they were too close. Fido turned away, expecting to hear the 'thump' of the car…
…But it never came.
Ryan had managed to swerve the car away from the figure in the road and regain control of it as well. It stopped in the middle of the road quite a ways away from where the figure was standing. Fido immediately unbuckled himself and dashed out of the car, his K-9 training kicking in. "Fido, wait!" Ryan yelled, but Fido was long gone. "…At least close the door, Fido…"
It took seconds for Fido to reach the figure in the road, who was still frozen with fear, looking in the direction their car came from. Fido circled to face the figure head on… and finally got a good look at who it was they almost hit…
A fellow dog.
The first thing Fido noticed was that this dog's fur was matted all over and caked in snow on his back. His tail was wrapped tightly around one of his legs, and his eyes were stuck wide-open, not really registering Fido in front of him.
"Hey! Are you okay? Say something!" Fido shouted, snapping into the dog's ears. Though nothing he did elicited a response. The dog's ears didn't even twitch at the snapping sound inches from them. Seconds later, though, everything seemed to catch up to the paralyzed dog, and he started to collapse. "Whoa! Hey!" Fido tried to react fast enough to catch the dog, but he wasn't prepared for him to pass out. He managed to grab onto the dog's paws and gently set him down on the snow-laden ground. "Jeez… what the heck happened to you, bud?" He started picking the dog up to take him back to the car, brushing some of the snow off him.
"Fido!" Ryan was now running over, a blanket in his hand. "Is everything okay?"
Fido was already halfway back to the car with the dog on his back. He was a bit smaller than Fido, so it was easy for him to carry him by himself. "No. We gotta get this guy to the vet, now." He could feel the dog's faint breathing from his back, so he knew he was still alive, but he also knew he was in rough shape. "Call ahead, Dad. I'll try and warm him up," he ordered, still in K-9 mode.
Ryan nodded as he set the blanket over the dog on Fido's back before pulling his cell out of his pocket. They got back to the car and set the dog in the backseat, wrapping him tightly in another blanket. He just stayed motionless, unconscious, and unaware of anything that was happening. Ryan then connected with the vet's office and explained the situation before driving off towards the vet. Fido was in the backseat again, though also watching over the dog they nearly hit. The fact that he was a fellow dog made that fact resonate with Fido even more than normal. He set his paw on the dog's shoulder; he didn't seem to even know it was there. "Don't worry, bud. We're gonna get you help."
All through the detour to the vet, Fido had questions running through his head. Who was this dog? Why was he out in such horrid weather? Why is he in the condition he's in? These questions kept pestering him and it frustrated him not knowing the answers, especially to that last one. How did this dog get to be in such a deplorable condition? Fido wanted nothing more now than to track down this dog's "owner" and strip him of that title. 'Hmm… maybe he still has his tags…' Fido thought. He recalled seeing a collar around the dog's neck, but didn't check for the tags. So he removed the blanket covering the dog's neck, hoping to find something…
Nothing. No tags, just collar. Fido's ears dropped when he saw this dog had nothing on him to help track his owner. 'Great…' He covered the dog back up and started to feel frustrated again, rubbing his eyes with a paw.
"We're here," Ryan stated, pulling into the vet's parking lot. "How's he holding up?"
Fido shook his head. "He's breathing, but he hasn't moved since we got him in the car." Fido unbuckled himself and quickly hopped out of the car. The vet on duty was already waiting for them and immediately came over to assist. The three of them were able to get the dog into the office and onto a bed that was ready and waiting. Before the vet took him to the back, Fido had a request, "Could I get a full report of this dog's injuries?"
The vet knew Fido was a K-9 and could understand why he wanted a report. "Of course. I'll get it to you as soon as I can." With that, the vet left Fido and Ryan to start treating the dog.
Ryan could see the look Fido had. He knew he wanted to do more… but he also knew there was nothing he could do right now. "Fido, don't get too eaten up by this, okay? I can understand your feelings, but-"
"Don't worry, Dad," Fido cut him off, shaking his head. "I know. But I'm still gonna do my best as a K-9 to see that dog gets justice. No one should ever look like that… Go through whatever he went through…" Fido clenched his paw in front of him… before giving out a sigh and dropping his arms to his side, his ears dropping as well. He knew that even with a report of the dog's injuries and current state, it wouldn't do him any good unless he knew who that dog was and, more importantly, who his owner was. All he could do now was wait and hope for the dog's recovery.
"C'mon. Let's get home." Fido nodded and followed behind Ryan out through the door.