the problem is, the more you chase them, the farther they go, whereas if you stop and let them go around in circles, they start sniffing, and then you can catch them. but the little boy, head of the pack, decided he could catch them, and kept on going forward, around the corner, a couple of blocks to the schoolyard, past the schoolyard, up to the city park, and then back left into the neighborhood. the dogs were joyfully sticking right in front of him, refusing to be caught. the girls, all barefoot, yelled and called out and in general made it harder, but they were pretty soon out of the territory where they were comfortable; they didn't really know where they were. in fact, i was probably the only one who really knew where we were. i called out after the boy, trying to get him to stop, or at least slow down, so i could catch up to him, but he was very caught up in the chase, and he kept going a little farther, and farther yet.
so finally i was on this intersection back in the neighborhoods; one block to the west was the city park, one block to the east was a busy street. the dogs and the boy and one girl had crossed the busy street, and the kids actually caught the bigger dog, who is less serious about evasion. once the big dog is caught, the little one is easier, but that's mostly because they aren't chasing anymore, they have to stop just to hang on to the bigger one. but one of the girls at my side said she wouldn't go any further, because she didn't know where she was. she knew how to get home, but if she went any farther, she wouldn't. and it was her cousin that was with her, these two barefoot girls, and they wanted to go back. i could have told them to hold still, since i could see the end of the chase, but i'd lost my confidence in my own ability to contain the kids and their reaction to the dogs. so i let the two girls walk back on their own.
another block and a half, and we'd caught both dogs. the little one let me catch him right in the busy street. he growled at me, but finally he let me carry him all the way home. the kids got the big one home; it was only five short blocks, but we went right past the coffee shop and the local grocery, and halfway, who should we come upon but the two girls, who didn't go straight home as they'd said, but kind of got a little sidetracked. we had made a very contained five-block loop through a neighborhood center, where basically the schools (that buddy holly went to), the coffee shop, the grocery, the park, are all near each other. fortunately the roads here aren't truly that busy. the busy one that i caught the dog in is only two-lane, thirty mph, no real danger of being run over, i thought.
i had less confidence about the girls. i knew people would be behind us looking for us, but i didn't know i could let two young girls walk back, past the park, on their own. i didn't have my cell phone. i felt in a way like forcing them to stick with me was not quite right. i tried to get them to stick with me. but the two with the dogs were lost too. taking their word for it (that they could find their way home) may have been a mistake. but it all worked out, and now we're all working on keeping the door latched.