We have two dogs, Drake and Sasha. Drake is part Lab and part Rottweiler. He’s a big lover lug and looks so beautifully perfect on the top of the hill! Sasha is a Golden Retriever we took in about a year ago. She’s…not the brightest dog I’ve ever known but she sure is purty! With her thin frame, long golden hair and gorgeous face, we often refer to her as our Super Model.
The first day we got Sasha, she was initially afraid of Drake, but they quickly became friends. By the end of the night, tuckered out from all the New, they snuggled together and slept on the floor in my bedroom. They were meant to be! From then on we would call them collectively as The Mister and Missus.
My dogs have gone through Obedience Training and have mastered most of it except for one thing, if the gate is opened they bolt. Mostly Drake. Since we got Drake 2 years ago, we’ve been rerouting guests through our garage just to avoid the wrestling match with him at the gate. He’s too big and strong for one to force him to stay in. Yes, even grown men. They think they can out muscle him but…no. Sasha will stay in because she’s actually kind of fearful and has a touch of anxiety about things but if she can walk out the gate with Drake…well, the world is her oyster!
Yesterday morning, Buddy left early for school. The dogs were still inside and so he left through the front door, like a normal person, and out the gate. Later in the morning, Mr. and Mrs., were all amped up about the deer in the yard and so I let them out the door. About an hour after that, Bug was outside feeding the chickens. Sasha LOVES the chickens! I mean loves ’em like, she-wants-them-in-her-belly loves them. This usually makes the chore of feeding the chickens difficult for the boys. Bug noticed how smoothly everything was going for him…
“Um…Mom…” he said after he came in with the eggs. “I felt like something was strange when I was outside and then I realized I hadn’t seen the dogs in awhile and so I went to look around the yard and that’s when I noticed that the gate was not closed all the way.”
This was not good and the realization of this problem was poorly timed. It was time to go to school. After dropping Bug off, I was going to need to run to the store to pick up a few things for Baking Day. I grumbled and cussed and fumed and pulled out of the driveway, shouting for the dogs through the open window as I backed out.
Usually when the dogs get out I know when it happens and they never get out of the neighborhood; sometimes not even off our street. The was one time they were gone for about 4 hours. They were found about 3 miles from our house by some people who called the number on their tags and kept them for me until I was able to come and pick them up. I looked up that road as we drove past it on the way to school.
Don’t go far guys…!
After I dropped The Bug off I drove through the neighborhood calling for them and asking runners and dog walkers if they’d seen them. I noticed the neighborhood dogs were silent. In one yard was a heard of deer, the bucks slamming their heads together in a show of power or play.
My dogs aren’t here. These deer wouldn’t be here if my dogs were in the area. If the dogs were around the Bernese Mountain dogs up the road would be in a tizzy. Or they would be playing up the hill with those two laboradoodles.
I continued with my morning knowing that if anyone found them I’d receive a call.
At Baking Day I informed the ladies of the dogs’ escape. Everyone was concerned and offered to look at various points through out the day. After we each made three meals to freeze and each a loaf of banana bread, we began to disperse for our various errands or for home. I announced that I would be going to look for the dogs and Kathy offered to go with me.
We drove up the canyon road that they had been found on the one day that they’d been gone for 4 hours. There were some road workers about half way through the canyon. They had not seen any dogs and had been out working since 7:00 that morning. Next we tried going the other direction toward a popular hiking area. Still no signs or sightings of Mr. and Mrs.
As the day wore on my anxiety started to rise. First I was angry at the disruption of my plans, then I was worried, but as it was almost time for the boys to come home, I became very heavy hearted. The boys would be crushed. They actually ended up taking the news much better than I thought. They were concerned and hoped everyone would be home before dark but they seemed very sure that they would come home at some point.
While the boys did their school work and had an after-school snack, I got on-line and began to put up virtual Lost Dog posters. I posted on the local animal shelter’s site, the community site, on the Animal Protective League’s site, and on Facebook. I tied the gate to the fence so it would stay open. That way if the pups came home they could run right up to the house. I left the front door and the basement door open so if they wanted they could just run on in! I stood on the deck yelling their names hourly.
It was suggested on one of the animal sites I had posted on, to hang out an article of clothing that you’ve worn all day so they can smell you and find their way home.
“Bath time!” I ordered to the boys. “Give me your pants and hit the showers.” I tied their pants to the fence by the gate.
The phone rang and my heart leaped!
“Hi, let me start by saying I do not know where your dogs are but I work with This Animal Agency and we find it helpful if you include in your post where they were last seen.” Disappointed I tearfully thanked her for the advice and added the info to my posts.
The boys were keeping it together so well! There was one point in the evening where Buddy teared up and, head in his hands, said that it was all his fault.
“It’s not your fault, Buddy. No body is blaming you. We’ve all left the gate open before. It’s really not a question of ‘will they come home?’ but more of a ‘when?'” I said. And I tried to believe it myself.
My post on the community site had over 100 views. One poster encouraged me to not give up. Her pup, Daisy, came home after being gone for a week. Another had a similar story where there dog had been gone for 3 days. Their tales both gave me hope and dread. How would I be able to make it, worrying for multiple days or even weeks?!
Man was out of town and text often to see if they’d made it home. Later he called to tell the boys good night.
“They’ll come home soon, Baby.”
“I hope so! What if they run into the bear? Someone at Baking Day said there were 500 mountain lions in our corridor! I can’t believe that, there’s just no way but…they ARE there…”
“Drake and Sasha have each other. Could a lion attack them? Yes, but they probably aren’t going to go for a pair of dogs. Too much trouble,” Man tried to assure me.
Sometimes, when he’s out of town, I get the heebee jeebees. It’s usually when I lock up the house. I get this silly fear that something/one will get in before I lock the door. I can take comfort in knowing that I have Drake and Sasha with me. Well…Drake anyway. Sasha would probably just make a lot of noise while she backed up into the corner. That’s OK though because Drake is a beast. He won’t let anything hurt his family.
I struggle with sleep when Man is gone too. Again, reaching over the side of the bed and feeling Drake’s big warm melon of a head down there, makes me feel less alone. There would be no sleeping on this night.
But the boys had to, so I called them to bed. Once everyone was snuggled down in the covers we each took our turn to pray. Bug’s prayer was much the same as he always prayed but with a few extra pleads for his pets to be safe while they are away and to return soon. Then Buddy prayed:
“Lord Jesus, Usually I pray the same thing every night but tonight…tonight I feel like I should pray a little different. Lord, the Bible says that when Jesus was born that He only had a bed of hay to sleep in. It’s so dark now and the dogs are probably getting tired…I pray they have each other and a shelter of your angels around them. I pray that you’ll keep them safe and bring them home soon. And our Daddy too.”
Are you crying? I was. Like, big messy pathetic crying and I was trying so hard to cover it up but then it was my turn to pray and so I said something simple like, “hear their prayers,” then I kissed them both and headed to the basement with a glass of wine.
In the basement I prayed some more and cried some more. I kept thinking that I could hear their dog tags jingling and I’d run out onto the deck and call for them. Sometimes I’d see them in the yard, but it was just light and wind. While I showered I kept hearing them run up the stairs of the deck to the front door. I’d turn off the shower and listen but there was nothing. I did that about 4 times before I realized it was actually the sound of the water pounding on the slate. Before bed I went out on the deck again and tearfully prayed aloud. The moon was nearly full and was so bright! One of the things I love about living our here is how brilliant the moon and stars are! I was glad to know they had light to see by. I felt certain they were together. I knew they weren’t with people. If they were with people, the people would call! Surely!
“DRAAAAKE! SAAAASHAAA!” I called out to the mountains again and then I listened as the mountain sent my call and my voice back to me. The echo ampliphied the distances they could have roamed and my lonliness. At that, I called it a night and went to bed.
The boys were up before the sun. Everyone had the same thing on their minds.
Where are Mr. and Mrs? How was their night? Will they be home soon?
We all voiced our hopes that they would. Buddy headed off to school and Bug and I laid in bed for a few more minutes of snuggling before we got up and moving ourselves. My phone was blowing up with texts and Facebook posts asking if the dogs had returned. I sat at the computer and updated all of my posts at the various sites and checked the Found Dog sections. Nothing.
Ten minutes before it was time to take Bug to school, the phone rang with an unknown number.
“Hello, I’m calling from the Inter-Canyon Fire Station. We have your dogs.”
“*SQUEEEEALS* Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ll be there in two minutes!” I shouted into the phone. “THANK GOD!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Praise Jesus! BUG-O!!! They found the dogs!”
I grabbed leashes and shouted to Bug that I would take him to school after I got the pups.
“Wait! You need treats!!” Bug yelled as he came running toward me, waving treats in the air.
The Mr. and Mrs. were so crazy ecstatic to see me! Everyone looked good but tired. When I was loading them into the car, I noticed that Drake’s hip was bothering him again. Other then that everyone is perfect! The lady who found them said they were running down a road near our home. I suspect they were on their way back. She said when she opened her car door they just hopped right in. Sasha sat up front (per usual) and Drake took the back seat and rested his head heavily on her shoulder.
At home they were quickly hugged and kissed and fed and then I had to rush Bug off to school.
“I bet last night Sasha said, *falsetto* ‘Drake…it’s dark! I’m scared. Let’s go home!’ and then Drake said, *dropped octave* ‘We can’t now. We’ll sleep here for now and will head home at first light.'” Bug imagined their little adventure and wished that the dogs could tell us where they’d been.
When I got home, Drake was laying at the base of the stairs. I pet and rubbed him all over and he softly whimpered. I cried too. I was so happy to have him home. Sasha heard us and ran down to join us. The three of us all laid down on the floor together and took a little nap. They have pretty much slept all day. I’ve given Drake meds for his hip and spent much of the day brushing Sasha and cutting out all the chickaburrs but I think she’ll need professional help to get her Super Model hair back. Drake may have to go back to the physical therapist but that’s OK.
I have been blessed and moved by how many people cared and worried for my family and my fur-babies. My post on the Animal Protective League for our area was shared on Facebook by 50 strangers. The report of their return was liked by over 60 of my Facebook friends. Which seems kind of silly I guess but there were people in there that I didn’t even know ever looked at my posts. I was touched by your little blue thumbs up! I was moved to tears by those of you who couldn’t start your day until you had a Pup Report. Thanks for your prayers and thoughts and encouragement. I love you!