Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gone Walkabout

by Maggie Sefton

I know you've seen these doggie photos before, but they're really appropriate

for today's post.  My two dogs--Super Smart Border Collie/Black Lab KATY, aka Naughty Girl, and Goofy Blue Tick Hound/Black Lab MAX, aka Follow-Katy-Anywhere--went "walkabout" a few days ago.  I spent the entire afternoon and evening searching for and worrying about my lost doggies.  Whenever Katy gets a chance to go walkabout, she grabs it.  Max simply follows her lead.

That morning I was at Lambpun knitting shop (immortalized in the Kelly Flynn Knitting Mysteries) and the adjoining outside cafe enjoying brunch with three visitors to Fort Collins, CO.  Beautiful sunny weather and temps, consequently I didn't even hear the message that my lawn mowing guy sent.  He was distraught because the dogs had managed to get out the fence gate.  He thought he'd pushed that heavy metal latch down all the way, but when he finished cutting the grass, he looked around and dogs were gone.  Apparently Naughty Katy had watched him and realized the gate wasn't securely latched and set about to open it.  She probably told Max to help her push up the latch.  Katy can talk him into anything.  Lawn guy drove around neighborhood but couldn't find them.  Even his wife came out to drive around.

By the time I noticed the phone message, the dogs had been gone for two
hours or more.  Longer than they'd ever been gone before. Whenever Katy has slipped past a slowly closing garage door or a wind-opened front door and run away grinning at me with that "catch me if you can" expression, I jump right in my old Explorer (doggie car, snow car, gardening hauling, etc) and drive around trying to find them and coax them into car.  I usually can convince Max to jump inside but have to enlist a stranger's help to grab Naughty Katy.  She'll run up to strangers while taunting me.

This time I drove around the neighborhood and kept stretching the boundaries.  A college girl said she
saw them heading toward the last street separating the neighborhood from the foothills, which rise up to Horsetooth Reservoir.  They'd NEVER gotten close to the boundary streets, so I was really worried.
Wondering if they'd been hit by a car.  I called the CSU Vet School Small Animal Clinic to see if anyone had brought in injured dogs.  I saw kids coming home from junior high/middle school and stopped them in clusters, offering a cash reward if they found my doggies.

Finally, tired and hungry, I went home and grabbed dinner then headed to the Humane Society.  There the two miscreants were, looking sheepish in separate "cells" which sported doggie cots and blankets.  Katy did her usual "Who me? routine, while Max was mortified.  "Jail!!  I'm never following Katy again!"  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

I've heard all sorts of stories about other doggies and kitties who went walkabout after I posted on Facebook.  Did any of your pets ever go wandering?


Gayle Carline said...

My dogs have their names and my phone number on their tags, so imagine my surprise one Saturday afternoon when I got a phone call from a stranger, saying, "Duffy is down at the park unsupervised." Duffy is my Corgi, and my son had left the side gate open. The funny part of the story is the guy on the phone says, "I've got him with me at the park. I'm the one in blue shorts and a white tee-shirt." Yeah, thanks, because I wouldn't recognize MY DOG.

PS I sent my son to the park. It was, after all, his negligence that gave the Duffman an escape route.

Cynnara Tregarth said...

Since I have had custody of my beloved husky, Shango, there have been no escapes. However, when my fiance 's best friend was rehabbing him before we received my precious joy-- he and his "sister", Jewel(who should have been named Houdini) went for a run. Together. Without appropriate supervision.

Our friend, Steve, went into panic mode. Huskies love to wander. They love to go on walkabouts. So imagine his surprise when a mile down the road when he spots Shango sniffing prize-winning roses and watering them.

He opened the car door and yelled for my dog, who looked up and was like, "Awesome trip, but it's time to go home so I can bother brother Tova." Then he had to search another few blocks or so before retrieving the instigator of the affair. She was heard to be singing, "Freedom..."

So, we have always been careful with Shango. Until we realized that incident changed him into "follow Mommy everywhere" dog. If I turn around, he is there. He might go ahead 15 feet from me, but then he stops and waits, like I am the one trying to go on walkabout!

Aurian said...

That is sure cause for panic, I am really glad you got them back safe and sound!

Anonymous said...

My Blue Heeler Loki went on a walkabout for a year back in June 2009. Left in a fenced-in backyard for no more than 15 minutes with three other dogs, he figured out how to escape (either by jumping onto trash cans and then leaping the fence or some other method) and went on the lam. It about broke my and my then-boyfriend/now husband's hearts. Thank goodness that Loki still had his collar and county tag on him when Animal Control trapped him a small bear trap (he ballooned from 32 to 75 pounds! unheard of!) in June 2010.

Almost three years later, I am still so glad to have him back.

Maggie Sefton said...

Gayle---You were so lucky that guy called. I have IDs for the dogs but their collars were off because I'd just brought them back from the kennel after a trip. Theire collars were still on the the floor. :(

Rachelle21 said...

I have a cat that loves to me outside. She usually will come back and wait at the front door to be let in but we worry all the time she is out.

When we had a toy poodle, he considered the whole block as his backyard. He had our address on his name tag and sometimes college students would see him and bring him home (though he would have found his way on his own).

Maggie Sefton said...

I love that image of Shango following "Mommy" everywhere. Good dog, Shango. :)

Maggie Sefton said...

Thanks, Aurian. So am I.

Maggie Sefton said...

Anonymous---Those Blue Heelers are notorious for escaping! You were lucky he was found again. Both my dogs are chipped which helps. Love that you named him Loki. :) The god of mischief. I still remember that Jim Carrey movie from years ago.

Maggie Sefton said...

Rachelle---I have always allowed my cats to go outside even though it can be risky. I simply cannot bear the thought of Nature's best hunter not being allowed to do what they love. I know, I know. . .inside cats live longer than my outside cats. I guess I must have been a cat in a former life. :)