By Kathy Sparrenberger
Conway Farms member John Ormsby spotted a puppy in the rough on the 5th hole when he was playing at the BMW Golf Pro Am Classic on September 11 to raise money for Evans Scholars. He put his clubs down to try and coax the scrappy-looking dog out of the bog and thickets surrounding the 5th hole.
She was too afraid and hid. But that gesture started the quick, serendipitous search that reunited me with my missing pooch.
I had been posting fliers and walking streets for two days! Chrissie, a 3-year-old Tibetan Terrier, had charged past her wonderful dog sitters – Bill and Pam Russell – after a week of my being gone for 10-hour days preparing for and performing in the show The Men and Their Music at the Apollo theatre in Lincoln Park. I think she was trying to find me. I was up all night for two nights making fliers and posting them around the area, and leaving info on Facebook and doing everything I could think of to find her. The Russells never stopped driving around and calling her name. Tim Sheil brought his black lab, Gracie, up from the city to try and track her. We were were all heart sick!
On Monday, September 11, while home from canvassing nearby neighborhoods and getting ready to walk out the door, I realized I’d left my phone in the charger. I ran to get it and it started to ring, the voice on the other end said ”Kathy-my name is Mary. I just left Conway Farms, my husband, John, is playing in the Pro Am and mentioned to me that he had spotted a dog on the course. When I told this to Todd Marsh, the general manager of Conway Farms Golf Course, he immediately had me show him the area where the dog was spotted — but we didn’t see her. I just happened to stop by the Starbucks on Waukegan Road and saw your flier. She doesn’t look like the dog that my husband described, who was scraggly and dirty, but I just thought I would call you anyway. You live miles away but you never know! Call Todd Marsh, he’s a dog-lover, and hurry!”
I grabbed a flier, the leash and tore out the door. Of course Conway was buzzing with police, golf pros, TV towers. Security let me through after showing them the flier of Chrissie. After scouring the area with Elijah – who was with outdoor operations, and driving a cart to the 5th, 6th, and 7th holes while asking lawn workers and TV camera people if they had seen a dog, he dropped me at the clubhouse to find Todd. I didn’t want to bother him with everything thing that was going on inside but asked his assistant if he was available for a minute to talk to me.
Within a minute Todd came thru the door ”get in the cart – let’s go!” We flew down the asphalt trail to the furthest hole from the clubhouse.”This is where John saw her,” he said. “I can’t stay but let me know how it works out.” I asked him what to do regarding calling her name; does golf protocol allow me to raise my voice? Todd said with a smile “do whatever is necessary!”
So I walked along the thickets of trees, three-foot high grasses and bogs surrounding the 5th hole, calling “Chrissie! Chrissie!” and hoping I wouldn’t keep someone from shooting par on the green! I couldn’t imagine how afraid a dog would be to be lost in the area. After 20 minutes or so, as I stood looking out at the endless acres and wondering how in the world she would ever hear me, when suddenly I heard a crackle and out Chrissie bounced through the air, landing at my feet. A dog’s natural GPS is amazing!
She cried. I cried. The golfers putting on the green thankfully said nothing! I couldn’t carry her because of all the burrs digging in to her skin. But she was alive and well and very thirsty!
I contacted everyone immediately and we all were just joyous that she had been found! After I calmed down a little bit, I realized what a miracle it all was. John, just happening to see her that split second in the rough. Mary mentioning it to Todd and going to the Starbucks where I had posted a flier. Mary tearing my number off the bottom of the page and calling me.
The fact that I was home when the phone rang. That Todd was able to help and took the time to break away from all that was going on inside the clubhouse on such a busy afternoon! That Chrissie had heard me through the acres of thick, dark woods and was able to follow my voice to the exact place where I stood!
I am so humbled at the kind and generous actions of total strangers. I’m not a member of Conway Farms Golf Club. Nor do I live there. John was playing to honor the Evans Scholars who had so kindly extended a scholarship to him, which allowed him to go to college. Mary called “just in case”. Todd, who was swarmed by all the activities surrounding the tournament, took the time to escort me around the course. The Russells tirelessly helped me search to find Chrissie.
Then I remembered that it was 9/11. The kindness and goodness of total strangers, who reached out in love to help an innocent little creature renewed my faith in humanity! From now on 9/11 will remind me of the beauty in human nature!