Our wayward furball is home. In seven years he has never wandered from home, so fearful of cars and so much a home body. This time, he left on Wednesday night and we did not find him until Friday night.
I hoped he had not travelled far, but familiar with his poor sense of direction I did fear it was possible. Even when we were not looking, we would regularly go out on the deck and yell his name, in the hopes he was nearby and just needed a clue as to which direction home was.
Wednesday morning I called and emailed radio stations. Within minutes of the first announcement an announcer called to say that he had been seen three blocks from our house. I ran over and screamed his name over and over. Nothing.
We called the Humane Society (which is also our local dog pound), we called the local vets, we made flyers and we distributed leaflets to people walking. We spent huge amounts of time either walking or driving streets yelling his name. My throat hurt from calling him.
The next call to a radio station was Friday day, when someone reported him by a local sports centre, within walking distance but still further from home than I hoped he would be. Again we called, we handed out flyers, and we walked and drove the area. Nothing.
People contacted me to tell me that they would keep an eye out and would keep him in their thoughts. Some said they had seen him, and that they had tried to feed him but he was too scared… the kinds of things that helped me to know he was still alive, but made me fearful he would not have the brains to find food.
Finally, a young woman called from her cell phone. It would have been a long distance call for her given her cell number. She left a message because we had been on the phone. The dog was on the same street three blocks away.
I flung on my coat and ran to the street. As the street only spans two blocks I screamed his name over and over, calling him to me. (I’m sure those neighbours must think I’m a loon). Finally, just as I was about to give up again, my throat raw from calling, a woman on the corner opened her door and asked me if I was looking for a gray Sheltie. Clearly she doesn’t get out much (his furry face smiling at me from poles along the street) and doesn’t listen to the radio. She told me that he was in her back yard and was very frightened. She suggested I go to the end of her fence and call him.
I called his name about 6 times. He did not show is face. “Do you want a treat?” I yelled. He fearfully stuck his head out from the bushes (making it clear exactly where his priorities lie). I held out one of his favourites in my hand. He fearfully came to retrieve the treat and ran back to the bushes. I called him softly until he seemed to recognize that it was me, and I was there for him.
He came to me and I lifted him into my arms. The woman asked my address. I told her, then left with the dog, carrying his shivering, wet body home. He shivered the entire distance, stopping only when we got to the bushes at our back deck. Then he knew he was home.
The children shrieked and cried and hugged him. The he ate and drank and had a quiet time, clearly happy to be back in the arms of his family.
It is sad and scarey that he was a mere three blocks from his home and could not figure out how to find it. Poor dear. And I have no idea how he kept himself alive during his journey but I do know it did not agree with his little system. Ahem.
In any event, I am grateful to have our furball back and for the infinite kindness of the people who helped return him to us. From the radio announcers, to the elderly neighbours who had never even met us but were up late praying for him, to the people who had phoned to report seeing him, and everyone who looked for him… I am reminded that I have a very great deal to be thankful for.