We’ve all seen the lost dog reports. We worry about the dogs and wonder about the outcome. Today, I was one of those families who lost their dogs. And let me tell you, it was terrifying.
I let my dog out into the yard around 9:30 am one morning. It had been snowing for the past 3 days and they haven’t really had the opportunity to run around for a while so I had them stay out for a while.
Around 10:15, the my cable provider opened my gate and let them out. Rover ran off, like he tends to do. He has always been an explorer at heart. Jefferson followed him and Gidget, sweet little Gidget, went with the crowd. I did what any dog parent would do. I panicked. I called my local shelter with whom I am a board member and let them know, just in case someone called about them. I then called my local animal control who is run out of the sheriff’s office. Apparently, someone else had already called and reported “2 vicious Pit Bulls and a Chow chasing people” in my neighborhood.
I find this interesting and sad. Gidget is a therapy dog who visits schools to show kids how to interact with children. She is also a Cane Corso Mastiff mixed with a Bulldog, and not any of the breeds that are often considered “pit bull” and in no way shape or form “vicious”. Rover is a German Shepherd mixed with a Norwegian Elkhound. He is a senior citizen who spent his life as a blood donor dog and loves people. Jefferson, well, Jefferson is a dog that I would label “Pit Bull”. However, he loves people and other animals. He is currently in classes to earn his Canine Good Citizen and is also not at all “vicious”. The CDC recently came out against dog bite statistics by breed as eye witness accounts are so unreliable. That day, I got to see that up close.
I drove around the neighborhood looking for everyone. I also posted them on various social media outlets. Shortly after starting my search, I came across Rover. I told him to get in the car and he did so. Rover is by far the most street smart of the group. I wasn’t entirely surprised that he left the others behind. He got in the car and I drove him home. Upon arrival, I saw Jefferson in the driveway with a look that clearly said “Hey! How come he got to go for a ride in the car and I didn’t?”. Both of them went inside the house. But, by now I was really concerned about Gidget. Rover might leave her behind, but I couldn’t imagine Jefferson doing so. Gidget is not street smart at all. I fostered her mother when she was pregnant and Gidget was born into my care. She has been with me through her entire life. She has never been “out on the streets” and would have no idea how to get by. Not to mention, she’s not the brightest dog that I have ever had. She would not be able to get by without people.
I searched everywhere. Two of my wonderful friends came out to help. We have an amazing group of animal control officers in the area. They came out to help. Everyone was looking for her. Still, no such luck. Eventually, my friends went to print out flyers and I sat down and cried. It had been four hours. Where could she be? She’s pretty lazy so I couldn’t imagine that she went far, but I had checked everywhere and didn’t find her. I worried that she had been hit by a car ad was suffering somewhere. I worried that someone had her and I would never know. I worried about every possible “what if” there was. I cried because how could I let this happen? How could I lose this sweet creature? I was there when she was born and throughout her life. What if she was suffering and I wasn’t there to help her?
Finally, after the longest 4 hours of my life, the call came. She was hiding on someone’s porch and obviously terrified. The person had seen her picture on social media and called. Poor girl, all alone and so frightened. As soon as she saw us, her wiggle personality came back and she was just as happy to see us as we were to see her.
I have often seen the signs and thought “I wonder how they lost their dog, weren’t they paying attention?”. Well, now I know. I’m so glad that my story had a happy ending, and my thoughts are with those who may not have.