Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dogs Make Our Lives Whole

 We were supposed to leave for a quick out-and-back trip to Arco this morning around 9.
Taking Kory out into the back yard with me at 8:30 I wandered around to the right side of the house sipping on a cup of coffee and aimlessly looking down at the ground while checking out the progress of all kinds of little things that have been planted recently.  My pup wandered to the left.
After checking on plants and feeling pleased that all seemed to be doing well, I slowly wandered back behind the house and headed towards the picnic table.
As I was reaching the table I looked down the left side of the yard and realized that my dog was not there.
I called her name.  Nothing.
Again I called.  Nothing.
Mildly annoyed, I assumed that Kory had jumped the fence and was now running on the property across the street and happily causing all kinds of grief to the resident bunnies.
As I headed for the garage I asked LC to go round up our wayward dog while I got dressed.
By the time I walked back out to the garage again it was obvious that LC was very annoyed.
There was no sign of our dog..................
 By that time it was 8:50 and as LC loaded into the truck to go in search of Kory, I told him that I would stay at the house and call to her.
Walking across the street I looked through the trees that line the fenced-in and empty property, fully expecting to see my PIA dog gleefully chasing rabbits around the cinder block storage building in back.
No sign. 
I yelled her name frequently, all the while expecting to see Kory appear out of the trees and come bolting across the street in response to my calls.
Walking along the side of the road I looked across the adjoining, wide open and empty piece of property, searching for a dog who was on the hunt, but there was no sign of my dog.
Calling her name repeatedly, I was surprised that she was nowhere in sight.
Where the hell did she go???
 By the time LC returned to the house I could tell that he was becoming increasingly angry.
So was I.
It was now after 9 and Kory had completely disappeared.
More trips through town by LC.
More yelling by me, all the while expecting my dog to finally make her reappearance.
By the time LC returned to the house it was 9:30.
I would stay in Atomic City and continue searching for Kory while LC ran all the errands in Arco that had to be run........................
I drove around town.
I drove back to the house to see if she had returned.
I drove around town.
I drove back to the house to see if she had returned.
I drove out to Lake Seldom on the outskirts of town.
I drove back to the house to see if she had returned.
I walked into the back yard to see if she had crawled underneath the doors of our outdoor storage shed in her unbridled haste to get whatever bunny she might have been chasing, knowing all the while that if she was stuck inside a building she would have been barking up a storm.
I walked around the old empty building next door just in case she had injured herself in all the junk that is stored inside a three sided shed.
I drove around town again, my anger and frustration gradually beginning to turn into concern..................... 
There is one more piece of property close to ours.
No-one lives there, but it contains an old metal building, and on the property there also lies a number of large and old rusty farm tools.
I had not been on the property is almost two years, but on this morning I drove down the very long driveway, parked the Tahoe, and slowly walked around the entire perimeter of the abandoned building.
Digging into the side pocket of my shorts, I dug out my phone, flipped it open and looked at the time.
It was 10:25.
Kory had been gone for almost two hours.
She had disappeared before.  Either she was chasing bunnies on open land across the road from us (in which case we would call to her and she would immediately return) - or she was visiting one of the other dogs in town (in which case neighbors would call to let us know where she was).
She had NEVER been gone for two hours................. 
 As I wandered around farm implements a lot of things quickly ran through my mind.
She had completely disappeared.
Kory was very fast and could cover a lot of distance quickly, but she was also a sprinter and not a distance runner, so she ran out of steam very quickly.
She would have been thirsty by now.  There was no water around the area, and typically when she was thirsty she would return to the house.
She had not come home.
People stole dogs in this region very often.  There was no-one to steal her in Atomic City, but if she had made it to the highway a mile away, someone may have picked her up.
In which case, she was gone.
If she hit the highway and someone found her who had no ill intent, she was both micro-chipped and wearing a tag containing her name, my name and my phone number.
If she hit the highway, she may have gotten run over.
Was she lying injured in a field somewhere?  Out on BLM land somewhere?  Was she lying dead somewhere?
I could not picture her running onto BLM land in back of town.  She just didn't do that.
She also had never shown any interest in wandering all the way to the highway.
When she roamed, she either ran on the property across the road or to a resident's yard.
Chasing bunnies or playing with the local dogs.
As I continued to wander on the abandoned property, LC called.
No - I haven't found her.  Yes - I'm worried.
Yes, I will call when I find her.................
 Hanging up the phone, I walked around the building again, only this time I scanned the haphazard yard and the empty fields surrounding it.
I was no longer searching for a running dog.
It had been too long, and now I was searching for a downed dog...............
 At 10:45 I climbed back into the Tahoe and drove up and down every street in town once again, only this time I drove even more slowly, scanning the ground of every yard and every open field in search of a dead or injured dog.
 After checking the exterior of the house once again in the vain hope that Kory had returned home, I (for the second time that day) drove down to Lake Seldom (a 20 acre piece of property filled with all kinds of old construction pieces and that was good-naturedly christened Lake Seldom when it actually flooded one spring many years ago).
The plan was to wander along every trail on the property, inspect all the piles of........stuff.........look over the entire area and make sure that my dog was not laying dead or seriously injured.
After that I would head to the highway................
 She saw me before I saw her.
By the time I spotted my dog in Lake Seldom she was already headed for the two lane trail that I was slowly driving.
She was obviously very tired.  She was obviously very thirsty.
And when I saw her I parked the Tahoe in the middle of the trail, climbed out, crouched down and waited for her to get to me.
Slowly she trotted over to me, and I was so relieved that she was OK that all I could do was wrap my arms around her neck and silently hug her.
As we drove back towards the house I called LC to let him know that she was OK and that I had her.
I could hear the relief in his voice as well........................
 These pictures were all taken out on BLM land a few weeks ago, during two separate trips out onto sections of BLM land close to town.
Because of all the rain we have had over these past weeks, the world looks much greener now, than it did then.........................

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole..........Roger Caras

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