Suddenly, a frog leapt across the road just ahead of the Dogship. Dad felt a thump against the Dogship's bumper.
Dad pulled over and walked back up the road to check on the frog. She was not moving, but she was still breathing. Dad gently picked her up and brought her back to the Dogship.
|Can you see the frog? (This one is from Washington State, like me.)|
Dad resumed driving after laying the injured frog in a safe and comfortable spot between the front seats. Countless other frogs were hopping all over the roadway, and Dad drove with extreme caution to avoid any further incidents.
Twenty minutes later Dad arrived at the Swiss-Italian border. As he approached the checkpoint, he realized the frog was gone from her spot.
|This is a Val Bregaglia frog that looks very much like Dad's.|
Photo by Michele Nespoli.
"Excuse me... may I pull over?" Dachshund Daddy asked the two Swiss Border Patrol officers who would have otherwise ignored him.
Dad explained the situation to the officers and made an unusual request.
"Could you please look through my car to see if you can find her?"
The officers looked at him as if he was nuts, and Dad added:
"You know, you guys take cars apart for a living; if anyone can find her, that's you!"
That did it. One of the officers methodically went over every corner of the Dogship, while Dad helped by pulling stuff out.
"Here you are!", the officer said, with a huge smile, after he discovered the frog under Dad's seat. But as he tried to pick her up, the frog hopped away at warp speed.
"Oh my God... she's OK!?" Dad said in disbelief.
|What disbelief looks like on a dachshund|
"Ma certo. Quella lì non ha niente!", the officer confirmed as the frog disappeared in the safety of the grass around the checkpoint. "Of course. She's definitely OK!"
In spite of the happy ending for his frog, Dad learned from the officers that lots of frogs get run over on rainy spring nights on the Maloja road as they attempt to migrate to their breeding pools. In other areas of Switzerland (as well as in the States), preferred migration pathways have been identified and local volunteers help amphibians cross safely at night. On rural roads with fast-moving traffic like the Maloja Pass road, however, it would be hard (and unsafe) to implement such programs.
|The location of the incident in Val Bregaglia and the border checkpoint where the frog sprang back to life. The shortest route from Val Bregaglia to Lugano crosses through Italy, which is why there is a border checkpoint.|
A big thank you to Michele Nespoli for letting us use his awesome photo in this blog post. There are many other incredible photos on his website.