Lost and found

by Katie on February 15, 2010

We were merrily finishing up work on the farm Saturday evening — Brandon had 55 minutes of irrigation water left, and I just had to return the tractor to Leister Farms — when we got a phone call from a neighbor.

Apparently, our next-door neighbor was hosting a birthday party for one of his toddlers, complete with the rental of a fire engine they were all taking rides in up and down the road.

We learned a long time ago Wilbur wasn’t going to be known for being a tough dog. He just doesn’t have it in him. In fact, he’s pretty much scared of anything. Brandon has a word he calls him for this, but I don’t really like to say it, so I’m certainly not going to share it.

Anyway, the siren the fire engine was blasting scared the mess out of him, and our neighbor said he saw him bolting across our yard, through our pasture, headed due east, tail tucked in, head down and not stopping.

So I abandoned my post on taking the tractor home, left it for Brandon to finish his irrigating in, and headed home in search of our terrified dog.

I drove every dirt and paved road (probably trespassing on a few) until dark, calling his name, checking in backyards, asking anyone out walking if they had seen him. No luck.

This is when I remembered he currently had no tags on his collar. I know. Dog owner rule number one. Especially when it’s a purebred, good looking dog like ours. But we had just gotten his county tags a couple weeks ago, and I couldn’t get the loop back on his collar after I added them.

So I was pretty much convinced that if he got on the main road near our house, he was now a member of a new family, or would turn up as roadkill.

We decided there probably wasn’t much use in looking in the dark, so I instructed Brandon to “talk about happy things” and we went to bed.

At daylight, I headed out of the house. My initial plan was to high-tail it over to the farm, deliver Brandon a Valentine’s Day breakfast of donuts, go to the 7:30 church service, and be back before 9 to continue my search.

I looked for him on my way to the highway, and started feeling guilty — like I should be staying to look for him while it was early. Halfway to I-10, I realized I forgot my phone. I had to return home anyway. So, I gave up on Brandon’s donut breakfast and early church, and headed home.

I grabbed my phone, made some coffee, posted a “Lost Dog” ad on Craigslist and the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control “pets911.com” website. Then continued my search.

About 8:30, I was driving down a dirt road next to the irrigation canal about one mile from our house, and I spotted an older man sitting on his porch with his morning coffee.

I’m sure there’s nothing more enjoyable than a stranger wearing old cowboy boots and a skirt (I was dressed for church when I left the house, so when I returned I just ditched the heels for some more practical dog hunting shoes) interrupting your quiet Sunday morning coffee.

So I jumped the canal, ran across the road, and inquired as to whether or not he had seen a Bluetick Hound dog.

“A big Bluetick hound?”

“Yes sir.”

“I’ve got him?”

“Really!? You do!? A male? With a blue collar?”

“Yep. I’ve got him.”

Music to my ears. I jumped back across the canal (Okay, so I slid down one side and climbed up the other. In my skirt.), hopped in the truck, and sped around the end of the road to pick up my dog.

The man, Mike, already had Wilbur waiting in the driveway. He started wagging his tail when he saw our little white farm truck.

I thanked Mike profusely, offered up some cash (which he politely declined), loaded Wilbur and headed home. Where I deleted the Lost Dog ads I posted a mere hour earlier.

I settled on dropping off lunch for Brandon and the 11:30 church service. After I reapplied Wilbur’s tags and his shock collar.

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