GREAT BARRINGTON

It all began when Roselle and her friend, Robin, decided to take a trip to New York. Roselle has this one place that she really likes to stay, on 89th Street on the West Side of Manhattan. She loves the place. It is staffed by doormen 24 hours a day and they are all pleasant and bright. One guy that Roselle really likes is named Nelson, and he is one sharp dude.

In any event, when Roselle and Robin got into the city they were hungry. The apartment where they were staying has a little kitchen so they decided to go to her favorite market for some provisions. It's down the street, across Broadway, and at the corner of the next block. And, oh, did I tell you that Murray, the world's smartest dog, was with them and that they took him along to the supermarket? When they got to market, Roselle asked Robin to hold Murray's leash while she went inside. Now Robin is a wonderful woman and a great friend, but Murray really loves his mom. So when Roselle turned to go into the market, Murray was, well, concerned. He looked up at Robin and then looked around for Roselle and not seeing his lovely mama, he freaked. He pulled on the leash and then pulled some more until the thing came off over his head. Robin tried to pick him up but Murray was so upset he did something he had never done before. He turned on his little feet and took off, heading south and at a rate of speed that Robin didn't know possible.

In fact, Robin thought he had transformed himself into a little white tornado. She said that she had never seen an animal run that fast. Before she knew it, he was at the corner of 89th and Broadway. Most of you have been in New York and know that Broadway is, well, broad. It has two lanes of traffic on either side of a major island in the middle. One has to approach crossing the street with extreme trepidation. But not Murray. When he got to the corner, he made a sharp left, and then ran across the road toward Amsterdam Avenue with Robin in hot pursuit. She could just about make out a little white blur heading up 89th Street. She thought she saw him make a left turn at the corner of 89th Street going north. At the top of her lungs, Robin yelled, "Help, Murray ran away!!" Two young men nearby said, "We'll help you, lady," and lit out for where Robin thought Murray had gone.

But Robin was mistaken. The dog hadn't gone all the way to Amsterdam Avenue; he had made a fast turn into the building where Roselle likes to stay. He ran by Nelson, the world's greatest doorman, and up three stairs and sat at attention in front of the first floor apartment where they were staying. Nelson, seeing the wonder dog sitting in front of the door of the apartment, got the pass key and let Murray in.

In the meantime, Roselle had emerged from the supermarket and couldn't figure out where Robin and her precious third child had gone. As for Robin, she was trying to figure out how Murray had managed to escape and what she was going to tell Roselle. Just then, Nelson came up behind her and told her that Murray had gone to the apartment and that he was safe and sound. Robin hugged Nelson.

Murray always likes to sit next to Roselle, but that night, the world's smartest and nicest dog, realizing that he had caused her such distress, sat on the couch next to Robin, nuzzling her and begging her for forgiveness, with his paw on her hand.

And that's how Murray came home.

Alan Chartock, a Great Barrington resident, is president and CEO of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and a professor emeritus of communications at SUNY-Albany.