We have a bit of a strange relationship with our dog. While we like the idea of a “farm dog,” we’re less comfortable with it in practice than concept. Over the past year, we’ve become accustomed to the fact that he’ll leave for a few hours on the weekend. Often he’s covered in burdocks and manure when he returns – so we aren’t happy about it, but we’re not too anxious when we can’t find him on a Saturday. However, during the week he is kenneled until we get home or just left inside all together if the weather is too extreme. This is from growing up as suburbanites, where a wandering dog was a liability, illegal and simply not what people did.
However, he’s gotten a little stir crazy this winter and has become less obedient than usual – a bar he hadn’t set very high anyway. He’s not in need of Cesar 911, but when he turns his nose on, he tends to turn his ears off. This culminated into an unfortunate situation on Friday when he took off around 3 p.m. and did not return. Kate told me this when I was driving home, but I wasn’t too worried. I figured he’d be back when I got there at 5:30…. but he wasn’t.
We grew more concerned and started driving around, with no luck. Around 6 it was getting dark, very windy and snowing. I came back because I couldn’t really see out of my car window. By 8 he still hadn’t returned and we were becoming pretty pessimistic about the idea that we’d see him again. He has never been gone after dark – ever – and certainly not in a snow storm.
Unable to sit and wait – I have the patience of a meth head when I’m stressed – I suited up and headed into the wild. I soon discovered that our woods, in the dark, in a snow storm cause confusion quick. I had a lantern and flash light, but outside of the small light they were casting, I could see nothing. I stopped and yelled a few times. I was answered by a coyote’s howl once (comforting…) but mostly silence. I decided to walk toward the corn field on the other side of the woods, but was so turned around I actually walked toward the house. Now, we are in a populated-enough area that there was certainly no “threat of death” upon getting turned around, but it was quite clear I wasn’t going to find my dog this way.
Deflated, I headed back to house where we just sat on the couch, not really talking. I tried to put something stupid on TV (Family Guy) but it was three Brian-centric episodes in a row, so that didn’t help. My day wasn’t going great before this so I told Kate, “I’m going to bed, I’ll start this over tomorrow.”
Long, sleepless night and story short… at about 4 a.m., our motion light in the back went off. Kate screams, “He’s back!!” We open the door and he walks in – bone dry and almost at room temperature. I’m not sure where he went, but I guess he found a barn and figured he’d just wait out the shitty weather. He did scarf his food down and then got on his bed. He also seemed quite happy about the hugs he was receiving, which are usually not his favorite thing. Ironically, he had a vet appointment the next morning, so a few hours later, he was probably wondering why he bothered coming home…