This happened to my family and me last week.
We live on 27 acres in Texas. The property is filled with trails winding through the woods. We take our five dogs for a walk almost daily, and they dart in and out of the trees, scampering around, getting lots of exercise, and having fun. We've done this for three years now, more than a thousand times. The dogs all know the paths we take and the property. However, if someone goes off trail, it's easy to get disoriented, so they normally stick to us like Velcro.
The picture above is Ty, short for Tiberius, a purebred Siberian Huskey. A week ago last Friday, our daughter took them all for a walk in the morning. Five went out, but only four came home. Thinking that Ty would come along, she waited a bit, and then we all panicked.
We walked the woods in every direction that first day. Ty hates bodies of water, and there's a big creek that we knew he wouldn't cross because it was full from recent rains. Our other dogs: Thor, our Labrador Retriever; Lacy, our German Shepherd; Charlie, our German Shorthaired Pointer; and Mimi, our Korean Jindo, all went in search of him, but with no luck. We gave up the search as dark descended.
The next day, my daughter and her significant other took a machete and went through the thickest parts of the woods. Mark and I spent the day driving up and down all the roads surrounding the property. Again, night fell.
On Sunday, my daughter and I took our business cards and went from neighbor to neighbor, knocking on doors, showing Ty's photo, and leaving our information to call if anyone spotted him. In the meantime, the guys went around hanging pieces of worn socks and pants cut into strips on all the fencing surrounding the property with the hopes that Ty was just lost, would pick up the scent, and find his way home. Again, night fell with no luck.
Monday-Thursday came and went still with no luck. To make matters worse, it rained for two nights with thunder and lightning, something that terrifies Ty. We normally have to just snuggle with him during a storm to keep him calm. That increased our worry and feelings of hopelessness.
What could have happened? Was he just lost and turned around in the woods? Did he go to someone's house that we missed, and perhaps he lost his collar with his ID on it, and they had no way to know who he belonged to? Did another animal attack and, God forbid, kill him? Did aliens swop down and take him away?
On Friday, with heavy hearts, my daughter and I left for a planned horse show in Houston. We arrived around 6:30p that evening. Just as we were checking on my horse, my daughter's phone rang with the news, "Ty just walked through the doggie door here in the house."
"What?! Oh, my God! That is a miracle," we both screamed.
Obviously exhausted, hungry, and thirsty, Ty looked not much different than when he disappeared, and his collar was still in place. Relief flooded through all our bodies. The guys immediately put a GPS tracking collar on him, and that will be a permanent fixture for him. All the dogs have them, but we just got sloppy about putting them on. Trust me, we're on it now.
I think the lesson learned here is that even in our darkest despair, we never gave up hope. Even with that feeling of hopelessness, we never really gave up. As far as most of us are concerned, Ty returning to us was a miracle. But Mark insists that Ty was turned around and lost in the woods and that he picked up the scent of the dirty socks and pants the guys hung up on the fences and followed it home. I guess we'll never know.
What do you think?
Til next time!