A beautiful Sunday drive through Joshua Tree National Park for a glamorous day at the laundromat and since it is the era of Covid only one of us went in. This is as exciting as it gets on the road. I was down to zero socks and the pants I was wearing were rinsed of Salton Sea death sludge just for this. I remained in the truck working on things. You know, things.
Freddie noticed them first, the two young women running back and forth along the busy four lane highway followed by a young man. Then they looked frantic. Then they started running back and forth deeper into into the desert.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
I yelled to man running down the highway towards their car “Did you lose your dog?”


I dug out our oversized jug of dog treats we didn’t need anymore with an intention to assist.
Kurt came out of the laundromat and stared at me standing by the highway in front of an oversized tortoise sculpture shaking a giant jug of dog treats at cars. No context.
“So what are you doing?” Kurt mildly asked with a quizzical look.
I looked at the jug in my hand, while the car with the young man zoomed by, I had some explaining to do.
I guess I didn’t think that rescue plan out. Let me take you back to last year on the border in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument …

Kurt and I just finished driving a backroad that followed the border wall. I poked around. Took photographs. We were stopped by Border Patrol at the highway, they looked under our tarp, and we were sent on our way.
The highway that runs through Organ Pipe is a two lane smooth blacktop drive straight to the Mexico International border crossing. Somewhere between the border and the campground is where I saw the dog trotting down the desert road.
I grabbed a leash and when I couldn’t get it to come to me I fetched a water dish. And I followed that dog down the highway. I cringed at the cars passing and threw my arms up in despair when one sporty car passed way too fast, surely on course to smuck the puppy before I could save it’s poor sweet soul.
A few minutes later the same speedy car zipped back, slowed down, rolled their window down, a svelte man in sunglasses with dark slicked back hair asked me if I was ok. Told me he reported me to the Border Patrol, in case I was in trouble. And why was I chasing a border dog?
As in, Taryn, the dog didn’t need my help. I was terrifying a near feral dog from Mexico and making myself appear more suspicious. Border patrol followed us closely back to the campground. I don’t know if it was for my safety or the dogs.

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Taryn Okesson: Visual Artist
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