Lost and Found

We celebrated the one week anniversary of owning a dog by losing him.

Our backyard is surrounded by a 6 foot privacy fence.  We never open the gate.  In fact, we had to cut the last lock off of it because it had completely rusted from lack of use.  That lock was replaced.

On Saturday afternoon, Cailey took Mater out into the backyard to run and play.  Fiddledaddy was standing in the kitchen watching them both dart back and forth across the yard.  After a few minutes of not seeing them, he wondered out loud if they had gone down the side of the house.  And then I heard him talking half to himself, half to anyone listening, “Did I close the gate?”  Earlier that day he had been working on the sprinkler system.

At that point an alarmed Emme ran out into the backyard to look down the side of the house.  Sure enough the gate was wide open.  No Mater.  No Cailey.

Fiddledaddy and Emme took off out the front door and began running down the street calling for them.  There was no chance of hearing an answer because Jensen was trailing them in besocked feet screaming at the top of his lungs.

Solidifying to our neighbors, the hard earned reputation that we are all crazy.

I grabbed my keys and ran outside, collected Jensen, tossed him into the back of the car, and began backing out to look for them while heading in the opposite direction.  As I pulled out, I looked down to the end of our street and saw Cailey walking down the sidewalk toward our house, her tiny hand firmly grasping Mater and his training collar.

She was crying.

We all brought them inside to hear the whole sordid story.  When she saw Mater darting out the backyard gate, she did yell that he was loose, but no one could hear her.  She said that she didn’t want to lose sight of him because he wasn’t wearing his collar with his identification and microchip tag.  It had been taken off earlier in the day when working on his training.

I was unaware of this.  And it is something which will never EVER happen again.

If you know anything about the Vizsla breed, they are lightning fast, with the agility of a gazelle.  My Cailey?  Not so fast.  But she ran as hard and as fast as she could trying to keep up with her dog.  He took her on a scenic tour of the back of many neighbors houses, to the retention pond, and then into a different neighborhood.

She said that at one point he stopped to poop in a far away neighbor’s yard so she tried to sneak up on him.  Just as she was about to grab him, he took off again.  She informed us through tears that she didn’t have a bag on her, and didn’t have time to pick up the poop.  Thankfully a kindly neighbor saw her plight and helped her to wrangle her runaway dog.

She really didn’t know where she was, but luckily Mater guided her back to the cul de sac at the end of our street where we tend to walk him the most.

After we all declared her a hero, she walked back down with Fiddledaddy to pick up the stray poop.

It was a harrowing afternoon, one that I hope will never be repeated.

The truly amazing thing about all of this is that Cailey has always been very timid around large dogs.  She was frightened at about the age of 3 by a large dog jumping up on her, and she’s cowered at the sight of them ever since.  But when she spotted Mater with the rescue group at our local Petco for that first time, something in her heart melted.  She cried that evening as we discussed him and possibly looking into adopting him.  He was already dear to her.

The old timidity is gone as I watch Cailey run, wrestle, and frolic with her beloved Mater.  It took a lot of courage for her to chase him down like that, instead of just coming and telling us that he had gotten out of the yard.

And now, if it’s possible, they’ve bonded even more.

I look forward with great anticipation to the upcoming obedience class which teaches us how not to lose our dog.

We’re on a pet owner learning curve.  One which just aged me 10 years.

September 26, 2011

8 Responses to Lost and Found

  • Lots of lessons will yet to be learned and dogs are great teachers. So proud of your daughter.

  • I’m so glad you found Mater. Good work, Cailey, keeping up with him.

    Our dog Maggie used to run like that. I’ve chased her through our own neighborhood and adjoining ones. At one time I found her and had to put her in an abandoned fenced area until I could go home and get her collar and leash.

    Now Maggie is old, arthritic, and can’t run any more. I don’t miss running after her, but I do miss when she could run.

  • I had a similar situation happen to me when I was about 12. We had got a new puppy, a Sheltie, after our previous dog had passed away. We lived on a busy street and while I was outside playing with the new dog, she ran out the gate, which was also left open. She ran right onto the busy street. I screamed several times at my family inside the house, but they didn’t hear me. I chased the dog and watched as she dodged traffic. I was terrified I was going to watch her get hit by a car. Luckily, I was able to catch her after a few minutes, but it felt like an hour and took her back home where I told my parents what had happened. It was scary, but turned out well. I’m glad Mater and Cailey are fine! 🙂

  • What a story! You must be so proud of Cailey. Glad everything turned out OK.

    My dog, Brick, used to run like that. I can remember spending upwards of an hour chasing him from one side of the neighborhood to the next. Then one day we came to some sort-of understanding. On the rare occasion when Brick manages to get loose, I leisurely walk to my car and drive through the neighborhood. When I see him, I simply stop the car, open the door and the crazy dog just lumbers over and hops inside. I think he knows I won’t strangle him for running off as long as he doesn’t make me run after him on foot. It works for us.

  • Bless her heart, what a very brave girl! You all must be so proud. Yep, dogs will identify your weakness and exploit it. Mater created quite a little adventure for himself, there. Our dog did it several times when he first came home. That’s how I got half my gray hair.

    Nate’s Mom

  • Way to go Cailey!

    And now I will cry with you. I think I just sprouted a sympathy grey hair. Want a cookie? Or a frozen pea? Or a shot of something?

  • GREAT JOB, CAILEY!!

    We used to have a dog that would hop the 6 ft. block wall and walk along the top (like a cat) to see which neighbors yard she wanted to play in for awhile…imagine how popular we were…

  • Glad this story had a happy ending! We have two long haired wiener dogs we adopted from a Dachshund Rescue group and the male, Brisco Darling, is a bolter! If he sees an open gate or door, he’s goin’ for it and you’d better have your running shoes on! We’ve had them for almost two years now though and it’s been a long time since he got loose. I’m not sure if he gave up or we just got wiser!