Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger. ~Ben Okri
Recently, we had a run in with the dog catcher. Yes! Let me step back to explain.
Last Thursday, I had all three dogs, Seven (black Labrador), Scooby (blond Labrador) and Avery (a.k.a. Acorn a Doberman mix) outside to stretch their legs and run around. Let me step back even further that very day to state, I was suppose to put the tracker on Avery, which I was going to do when I went back into the house. However, I didn’t get the chance.
Why? Because all three dogs, yes they formed a posse, eluded me and made for the woods. Truly, it was like one of the dogs said, ‘Hey look over there’ while they pointed in the opposite direction they were heading, and then took off running before I realized what had happened. I know that makes me sound like a simpleton, but you don’t know these dogs. Normally they are clunky, loud and up my butt, until they get into ninja mode.
Anyway, my heart sank when I came to the realization that I lost ALL three dogs, on my watch! It’s bad enough when Seven and Scooby go on their walk abouts, but this time they have my sister’s precious mutt. Yikes! I knew if I didn’t get that dog back soon, I was in deep water.
Naturally, right before this happened, I had to leave. Crap! No worries, I thought, they’ll probably go trotting around the woods and be back in a couple of hours, at least that’s their behavioral pattern.
Upon my return around diner time, I found Seven and Scooby and Storm, my cat, waiting for me on the porch. All three animals were ready to go inside and relax. What! I’m missing one? Avery! O no! Now that’s serious. Not only because she’s my sister’s dog and Nicole would go spastic, but Avery is a puppy, who doesn’t know our woods like our boys do. Plus, we highly suspect Seven relies on Scooby’s nose to get them back. Now Avery is completely solo. What to do?
I called my mom. She knew they all left in the morning, because I informed her and I was happy to report two out of the three dogs returned. When she asked which ones, we both got a little scared. I stated, “Why didn’t she just stay with the boys?” Mom’s response, “‘Cause she’s an idiot!” Later on, I would find humor in that statement, I don’t think Nicole did.
That’s when I stopped up the neighbors house to tell them to keep their eyes peeled. While talking to the neighbor gal, she made a very good point. She stated that I was out numbered! Yes I was!
Mounting the quad, I drove it around to areas of woods in close proximity, places I could reach on four wheels. Nothing! No Avery.
Again, I had to depart but was planning on returning in a couple of hours. By the time I wrapped up work, mom and I started searching for this lost bad puppy by 4:00 pm or so. I even strapped on my boots, packed my flashlight and pistol and took Seven and Scooby for a hike through the local woods.
On a side note, there have been a number of bear sightings in the area. Great! I thought watch me come face-to-face with one. My luck, I’ll startle it taking a crap or something, hence the need for the pistol. I know if faced with a relentless bear, you are suppose to make yourself look big and menacing. Right?! I only look that scary when I don’t get enough sleep or Kyle is pushing my buttons.
You see, over the years tracking our boys we’ve grown pretty custom to their running behaviors, so I had an idea where to look. Having a few options, I chose the one that made the most sense and the one I wasn’t personally familiar with, near the soccer fields.
There is a stretch of woods from one ridge road to another. Closest to my parents house is my Uncle Walter’s property, then it spans to other property owners before reaching Bethel Church Road. Set back in the woods are the Loyalhanna Soccer fields. We’ve tracked Seven and Scooby way over there before, but I’ve never hiked that far in that direction. I guess it was a perfect time to get familiar with those woods.
Did I mention it’s bow hunting season? O yes! I was praying no one took a shot at that puppy or was planning on using me as a target. While trudging through the leaves and branches, I saw a couple of hunters in their tree stands. Feeling bad about disrupting them, I quickly redeemed myself when I accidentally kicked up a deer and pushed it in their direction. That made me feel a little better.
I let Scooby take the lead, perhaps bringing me in the direction of their earlier adventures. It seemed to work for a little until he tuckered out on me and Seven was simply excited to go for another walk.
On another side note, the dogs led me into a bunch of thorns and jagged brush. Seven refused to go first, remaining safely behind me while I got all sliced up tramping down the natural barbed wire death traps. Then, he pushed my butt with his head to get me to move faster, nearly face planting me, yet wouldn’t take the lead. I kept yelling at him to stop pushing me. It was like being in the woods with Kyle! I know the hunters saw or at the very least heard us.
As I was hiking some pretty steep rocky hills, mom called to give me a heads up, that our next step was to inform Nicole. Mom wanted to post Avery’s picture to Facebook but not without giving her fair warning. Agreed and understood, yet scared! We knew that was our best chance of recovering Avery, yet we really didn’t want to face the wrath of my sister.
Eventually, Nicole did call while I was winded from hiking a cliff of death, to yell at me and to blow off some steam. She informed me that she was personally holding me responsible and blaming me for Avery’s disappearance. My reply, I wouldn’t think anything other. She also asked me if I was calling her name while hiking. Really? No, I wanted another challenge, and I thought I’d move through the woods like a Sasquatch and sneak up on the dog. (sarcasm) Yes, I was yelling, my throat was raw and sore.
To sum it up, I eventually found my way to the soccer fields and no Avery. I called mom to pick me and the boys up. I also thought, since there were games going on and kids running around, I had a touch of hope that Avery pushed her way onto some other family, but nothing.
As mom pulled in, I saw she was on the phone. She got a lead! Avery was found up on Butina ridge (not a technical term but if you’re a local you know where that is). Apparently, Avery found some kids and decided to try and make friends. (I knew it!) While Avery is truly only a puppy, she’s still a fifty pound dog that likes to jump and plant her long tongue in people’s faces, like it or not. The kid’s dad didn’t know what to do with her, since her tags were missing and their neighbors didn’t recognize her, so he called the dog catcher. doom doom doom. We’ve all heard horror stories about the dog catcher!
This was the first time we’ve ever had to deal with the dog catcher. Our boys usually stick to the woods and shy away from people when they take off. Of course with one exception, Dog Gone Irony they always return.
Now the second part of our adventure, the dog catcher! To be continued… The Dog Catcher Part 2