Today's post is about misplacing dogs. It doesn't matter how well a dog is trained, stuff happens.
At nearly 4 this morning, Shakespeare poked me with his nose, indicating that he needed to go out. It was odd timing, but I figured, what the heck, we've been keeping odd hours and maybe he needs to go. I let him and Inky out the door. There's still a gap in the north fenceline left from the geothermal installation, but the dogs are pretty good about ignoring it during their brief restroom trips. I expected them to go out, pee, and return as usual. Jon was going to fix the fence tonight.
A moment later, I saw Shakespeare darting erratically, as if chasing some prey animal. Aw, let him have some fun; there's a lot of room to chase things inside our fenced yard. But then the chase took him further and apparently out the gap -- by the time I reached the door and got outside to call them, they were well gone.
Eight hours later, they still had not returned. I'd circled the country roads, seeing no dead bodies (good) and no running forms in the fields (bad). I spoke to neighbors, but no one had seen them. I kept close to my home phone and kept my mobile on my person, as both numbers are on the dogs' tags.
Finally an Animal Control van pulled up my long driveway. I rushed to meet it. "I was just about to call you guys. I sure hope you have two black dogs."
"We have one. We couldn't catch the other one."
Apparently, someone had spied the two dogs but couldn't get near enough to read the tags. The dogs were too wary to approach the stranger. Seeing the dogs had collars and tags, the individual had called Animal Control, figuring that they would be better equipped to catch the dogs and return them. AC had been able to coax Shakespeare to them and load him in the van, but Inky (never as trusting and probably spooked at being away from home) had growled at him and run away.
I put Shakespeare in a run and took off after the AC van to where they'd last seen Inky. I called her, but there was no sign. I drove around the country roads again, finally pulling over and wandering into a field about a mile from where she'd been last seen. After a few minutes, I spotted a black shape at least a half mile away. Inky! I called her and saw her pause. Her head came up, and she appeared to be looking around. I waved my arms and called again. She turned toward the hill and trees beyond her and started in that direction.
Drat. She was moving toward the echo of my voice, not me! She never saw me. I followed her at the half-mile distance until I lost sight of her.
I thought of the search for Smooth, the agility Rottweiler who was missing for two weeks after a car accident killed her owner. Volunteers had traced sightings, looking for her. But this was different -- I wasn't dead. At least, not until Jon got home and learned that I had my dog and not his.
I went back for a three o'clock appointment, giving up temporarily. Jon told me he'd leave work early and come to search. I checked for messages between appointments and class, but no luck.
My five o'clock Manners 1 class was dispersing when Mariah, who's finishing a training externship with me, came back toward the training building. "Inky's loose," she called. She had arrived late and hadn't heard that Inky was missing. "Do you want me to put her in the yard?"
/sigh/ So everyone's okay. Still, I think I stressed enough for a year. I kept expecting to find a black lump at the side of the road....
No real work with Laev today.