Being a foster parent to dogs is not always an easy task, and even though most times my dogs all get along, there comes a time when a problem arises. Such is what happened to me on Friday, December 6.
Two small dogs were brought to me, just pulled from the dog pound. One was to go to another foster, and one to stay with me. All seemed to be going well. The two new dogs met all my dogs inside the house, all was fine. I decided to take the two newbies out for a walk around the yard. All my dogs of course had to accompany me. There seemed to be no problems, but all of the sudden one of my dogs decided to attack one of the new dogs. In my efforts to pull my dog away, I dropped the leash and the little poodle mix ran off.
That threw me into panic mode, and I did not see which direction the little dog ran. I locked all my dogs up and went on the search. Vicki, another Rose’s Rescue volunteer came out to help, but there was no sign of the little dog. It was getting dark and it was beginning to snow, but we had no options at this time but to pray she found a safe place to spend the night. I prayed she did not get her leash tangled somewhere in the woods.
Needless to say, I did not sleep well that night. I had the Facebook warriors on it. They post and share lost dogs.
The Chase Begins
In the morning I was up at 5 am, making a lost dog sign for my mailbox and putting flyers in paper boxes. I also spent quite a bit of time in the wooded area next to my house searching. Oh, just so everyone knows, tree branches rubbing together can sound just like a dog whining or crying. Took me some time to figure that one out!
When my friend Kim showed up, I was quite relieved to have some support. Then my friend Chris showed up. She and Kim started looking for tracks in the snow and along the road. In pulled Robin, another friend.
As we were discussing how we should handle the situation, the phone rang. It was Diane, a neighbor. She said there is a little dog running through their field dragging a leash. What a relief! She was alive and moving.
The four of us rushed across the street to Diane’s house, and yes, out back, there she was. Off we all went. Now, this dog could run. She went through all the back yards of the homes and into the woods. I must say, I have some dang determined friends, as off into the woods the three of them went. I hoofed it back to the house for the vehicle, because they were headed quite a distance away.
I headed down the road trying to catch sight of them. I found Robin because her husband gave her his orange hunting hoodie to wear. After all, it is deer hunting season. She hopped in the car. We saw Kim making her way out of the woods. She had fallen and her hip was hurting. We drove further down the road and spotted Chris in the distance, so Robin and Kim jumped back out of the car and headed back toward the woods again. I could see they were heading for a fairly busy cross street. This was over a mile from my house. Before you cross that street, there is a horse farm. I prayed the little dog would run into the barn.
As I pull into the drive of the horse barn, I see Robin and Chris climbing the fences. Oh no, the little dog is heading right to the road! I drove down there and they pointed; she had run across the road, through some yards, and into a field. They did not know where Kim was. So as Robin and Chris crossed the road, I drove back to find Kim. I had visions of her laying in a corn field somewhere, but thankfully I saw her limping down the road toward my house. I picked her up and headed in the direction the dog was going, only to see them in the middle of a corn field and heading toward the woods. Amazingly, Kim jumps out of the car and back into the chase.
The Pepperoni & Buddy Method
Apparently the little dog zig zagged around and eventually started heading back toward where we were, but ran across another road and into some more fields. At this point it was decided we could not keep chasing her, even though Chris was determined to keep on it. We called her off. She got into the car, her face red as could be. We decided it was better to stop chasing her while she was in an area with homes rather than get her stranded in the woods somewhere, but as she was headed toward the next road over, we drove over there and as miracles would have it, there she was, standing in the middle of a corn field.
Not wanting to set her on the run again, we sat and watched her for a long time deciding what to do. We were calling people for suggestions, and Vicki came through with, go home and get the other little dog she came with.
So we placed Chris sitting on a blanket in the corn field. She was tossing pepperoni in hopes it would entice the little runaway girl, but I think at this point the dog was exhausted. The rest of us ran home to get the little Chihuahua dog at my house.
I did the only thing I knew how to do, not approach the dog directly, talk to the other little dog and feed her pepperoni so the little runaway could see this dog liked me and was getting fed. The little runaway sat there and watched us, and we just kept getting closer. The little chi walked up to smell little runaway, which diverted her attention, so I grabbed her leash.
I cannot even express how that felt. So we sprung into action, wrapped little runaway in a blanket, and got her to safety and warmth. She is safe now in her new foster home and doing well.
It took me two days to settle down after this. All of us ladies were popping aspirin for our aches and pains as none of us are youngsters, but we did it, and that was what matters. I know we had divine intervention along the way. We stopped chasing just at the right time. We continued on to the next road just to get the address of the house there to post on Facebook. Eagle eye Robin spotted lost girl in the field. Vicki suggested get the other dog. It came together in the end.
However, it was a difficult pill for me to swallow that I put a dog in jeopardy like that. That will take a long time for me to get over.
I am thankful for my three wonderful dog loving, determined friends. There were also others out driving the roads looking, which I did not know at the time, but do now. I had numerous calls from people offering to help or reporting sightings. I am thankful for all the people we met along the way, that also offered to help. I am also thankful for a higher power that guided us to do the right thing at the right time.
Now That’s Dedication
The next day I alternated between laughing and crying. Crying as I was so relieved, laughing over poor Kim falling out there, seeing Robin and Chris climbing over those fences. My amazement at Chris and her stamina and determination. We also left Chris sitting in the corn field while we ran home for the second little dog. That is a vision I will never get out of my head.
Now, about those Facebook warriors. That is what we call them. There is a large network of people working to help find lost pets. They do amazing things, and without them, the word would not have gotten out so far and wide. Even though I passed out flyers on my street, many of the neighbors actually saw the post on Facebook. People called with suggestions and offers to drive an hour and come and help.
And also, a little note about Chris and her tracking powers. There was no way any of us could keep up with the little runaway, but she was dragging a leash, and Chris followed those tracks with the leash drag mark over three miles. That is three miles of woods, brush, fence climbing, you name it – they went through it. I still do not believe we did that, but we did, and I am very thankful that we did.
A Happy Ending
Now sweet runaway girl, it is time for you to find a new home and be happy. No more big adventures for you!
The little runaway girl is now named Tess, and she is in her foster home with Linda and Leigh. She is doing well, but we are watching her to make sure there are no after affects to her adventure. Ms. Tess will soon be up for adoption through Rose’s Rescue www.rosesrescue.net.
*aside from this real photo of Tess, all pictures are for illustration purposes only