As soon as it got light I was outside stretching out ganglines and gathering up the 16 dogs selected to run.
Most of the dogs are turned loose at their stakeout and will run up to the 'ready chain' area where we harness and hook up dogs. Occasionally a dog will check out the garage and house before heading over to make sure the cats were safely locked away (they always are) but they either head to the ready chain right after or come to me when I walk over to get them.
Yearling Ryka was one of those that got the nod today. She walked loose besides me for about 10 steps and then turned and BOLTED down our 'out' trail. No fear, on the very odd occasion that happens, the dogs usually go a few hundred yards, figure out they are alone and come back to the yard.
Not this time.
Cricket ran about to our Inukshuk with her (on the edge of the yard) and Bet didn't even notice what was going on.
I walked to the edge of the hill but she was already out of sight. I called and whistled a few times but no response.
I untied the ATV from the launching pole, undid the gangline and headed out looking for her. I took numerous loops on our trails, focusing on the ones that Ryka, as a yearling, would know, but nothing.
I decided that the noise of hooking up and running dogs was likely the best bet to bring her home so went back to the yard and finished gathering, harness and hooking up. All the time encouraging the dogs to be noisy and constantly checking the trailheads for signs of my wayward gal. Nothing!
The dogs ran really, really well with Ryka's Mom, Trampie and Boo doing a GREAT job in lead okay they got a bit of backup from Jinx and See, who were in swing, on a few corners) but I was preoccupied scanning the woods and calling for Ryka. I even looped through the dog yard with the team a couple times to see if she had shown up. Nothing!
After about 3 1/2 miles we arrived back in the yard. I dashed into the house to check for phone messages and then quickly set about putting dogs away.
The dogs seemed to get my mood and didn't mess around too much as I ran them back to the chains (normally they are turned loose and allowed to run back to their chains on their own). I left harnesses, ganglines and the ATV strewn about the yard, jumped into the Highlander and headed off. I was hoping Ryka had ended up in the yard of our neighbours a mile to the south, as some of our trails go reasonably close to there.
As I drove up our road to the highway our silly neighourhood whitetail doe, who thinks we can't see her if she 'freezes' when vehicles come into sight (hunting season will likely not go well for her) was on the edge of the road and the cows up top were quietly grazing. Good signs Ryka had not been by.
With my heart in my throat I scanned the ditches as I drove the mile of highway to my neighbours road. It would be unlikely for one of our dogs to end up on the highway, but if they did, they have NO road sense. Nothing!
I slowly drove the mile of gravel down to the neighbour's keeping my eyes peeled the whole way. As I pulled into their driveway, I saw a pair of white, upright ears vanish around the side of the house. The neighbours have a big Mal (I'm sure it isn't his real name, but I call him Stumpy, as he only has a partial tail) and another 'husky type' dog so I wasn't sure but....
I stepped around the side of the house and called. The ears and everything they were attached to came FLYING at me with a big grin.
As I was making a big fuss over my girl the neighbours came out. "Is she one of yours?". I said she was and apologized for bothering them.
"She's so friendly. Our daughter wanted to keep her".
I agreed she was a sweetheart.
They explained she looked hungry (trust me, she wasn't!!) so they fed her and put their own dogs away, as they were barking at and chasing her.
I thanked them very much for keeping her around and bundled Ryka into the vehicle (where she promptly threw up the meal they had fed her once we started to move).
|Ryka on her car ride home.|
Ryka is back on her stakeout, happily telling Casey, Kelly and all the dogs around her about her big adventure and breakfast out.
I'm knocking back coffees and waiting for my blood pressure to return to normal!!