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Arg : missing dog trauma

Something of a nightmare weekend : foster dog Amber managed to get out of the garden, panicked and ran

She is a nervy girl, and I don't think she had quite decided she wanted to trust philmophlegm, who had let her out for a pee.  And then he quite understandably panicked when he saw her squeeze under the gate, shouted and ran after her.  I think probably that made things worse, particularly as Brythen then went after her too.  It's really hard to let go of the instinct to run after an escaping animal, but unless the escaping animal is, I dunno, a disabled rabbit or something, you have to force yourself to just stop.  If you run, they run, and four legs trumps two pretty much every time.

So this was very bad. It wasn't as if one of my own dogs had got out - they know the area, they know where they live and they would come to us if they heard us calling (in fact Brythen did go after her, but he came back within a few minutes)  Amber didn't know the area, was very scared and we weren't sure she would even want to come to us.

So then we had hours of walking in circles searching for her.  Several people had seen her running along the lanes -  it didn't seem to occur to her to go into a field, fortunately. Philmophlegm produced a pile of 'have you seen this dog' posters that we pinned to everything and handed out to everyone we saw, but since she got out at about 4pm, and the light was going, the search was quite difficult.   The pile of posters was exactly the right approach though - we had several people phone through sightings of her which meant we were looking in roughly the right area - although it was a git of an area to search.  Old mine buildings, tiny smallholdings, about a million barns, farms where it appeared that people had just been shoving junk in sheds since roughly 1400 and then when the shed got full they shoved up another one next to it and went on... 

I think we must have just missed her a couple of times.   Of course it was a freezing night, just to add to the worry, although at least we had no snow here.   I phoned the Oldies Club and they got a notification onto Facebook and Dog Lost - thanks to those who shared that.

We started again in the morning - I'd had an offer from someone who owns a team of bloodhounds that are trained to find lost dogs to come and help look (!) but we needed a fresh scent for that to work. Pp drove around looking and postering, and I walked with the other dogs - hoping that if she smelt Chloe, Amber would either come to us, or would follow her trail back towards the house.  Despite Chloe being 12 and podgy, and Az's wobbly legs,we walked for about two hours (I was very proud of Az doing so well). But absolutely no luck.  So we came back to the house because the old dogs had had enough, and in the faint hope she might have found her way home.

She hadn't, but just as I put the kettle on, we had another call - someone had just seen her from his car, and then had stopped for petrol and seen the poster, and noble soul that he was, he took the time to call us.  So we grabbed poor Chloe, who must have been pretty tired by this time, but was still shambling willingly along,  leapt in the car, and there Amber was, sitting by the side of the road looking worn out.  She bolted when we pulled up next to her, but thankfully, only into a nearby garden, where Pp spotted her.   So I went in with Chloe, while Pp made hopeful noises with a metal dish and a fork.   When she saw us, there was a moment of panic as she tried to work out how to get past us and run away - and then she recognised us, and came over and leaned against my legs.  I have rarely been more relieved.

Amber was very, very tired and stiff - I think she must have run for about 4-5 miles,  her paws were cut from running on ice and she was very thirsty, as most water was frozen.  But after a couple of nights in the warm, she is feeling much better now.  She seems much more relaxed, and I think probably would not run again even if she got the chance - not that I am inclined to test this.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
23rd Jan, 2013 10:10 (UTC)
I'm so glad you found her.

(I once saw a cockatoo sitting on top of a lorry in a lay by near Cambridge. It still makes me so sad to think about it).

I've always wondered if those posters worked. It's wonderful how helpful people can be.
23rd Jan, 2013 10:35 (UTC)
When I was working in the City, just off Southwark bridge, many years ago now, a cockatiel (one of the grey ones) landed on the windowsill. Luckily, the windows opened (we were on the fifth floor) and one of the lads was able to grab it. It eventually found a home with him, though we reported it all over the place.
23rd Jan, 2013 11:55 (UTC)
That's a happy ending.

I like to think that somebody rescued the cockatoo. The sad thing was that it looked so happy.
23rd Jan, 2013 15:55 (UTC)
I was so pleased that people took the trouble to call. I'm going to look with special care at those posters in future!

Poor cockatoo - I hope someone took him in!
23rd Jan, 2013 10:22 (UTC)
Oh, what a nightmare! You must have been frantic.

But I'm so glad she's safe and sound now. Poor girl - it must be hard for such a nervous dog to cope with change.
23rd Jan, 2013 15:58 (UTC)
She's very much a collie, all thinky nerves. She'll come and cute at you to get a tummy rub, and loves her bed and walks - but if you ask her to do something she doesn't understand, it really worries her.

She's only 9 though, and these collie crosses often seem to go on for ages so in the scale of things a couple weeks adapting to a new home is not too huge a deal.
23rd Jan, 2013 10:33 (UTC)
Oh, thank goodness you found her. In a way it is worse losing a dog who isn't yours than one that is.

I suspect she is very happy to be back with you.
23rd Jan, 2013 16:00 (UTC)
She seems very cheerful now, and was SO pleased to have a bed to snuggle up in!

I suppose if it had been one of my own dogs I'd have been more worried because sighthounds are so delicate and poorly insulated compared with sturdy little collie crosses - but then, with your own dogs, you sort of know how they will think and react, which I had no idea of, so was worse in that respect.
23rd Jan, 2013 12:08 (UTC)
Glad the story ended happily, and I hope she continues to settle in and relax. It sounds like you put into practice those points raised in our "things we will do better next time we have to go on a corgi hunt" post-mortem of a few years ago. :-)
23rd Jan, 2013 16:04 (UTC)
Yes! That was very much my thought. I think because of that post mortem, I made a special effort to not race off in a tiz but work out what to do and what to take! Making sure we had photos and phone numbers with us worked a treat, although I think the mobile signal in the area has improved since we went corgi-hunting.
(Deleted comment)
23rd Jan, 2013 16:06 (UTC)
The people in the local pub were great - everyone in there took a copy of our flier, and it was the barman from the pub who called us with the sighting that sent us in the right direction.

I think the bloodhound team just happens to be local and was keen to get some practice!
23rd Jan, 2013 15:12 (UTC)
Yikes, that's not fun at all, but I'm so relieved you were able to retrieve her.
23rd Jan, 2013 16:07 (UTC)
If people's hair actually did turn white with panic, then mine would have done so!
23rd Jan, 2013 20:19 (UTC)
I was so pleased when I saw the news that you'd found her. Thank goodness for helpful neighbours. :-)
23rd Jan, 2013 20:38 (UTC)
Oh, that poor dog! At least you managed to track her down and get her home without her getting squashed by a car...
23rd Jan, 2013 21:00 (UTC)
What a relief! I can just imagine how worried you were. Poor Amber, but I bet she'll think of your place as home now.
23rd Jan, 2013 23:31 (UTC)
Glad she's back safe now, whew. Sounds harrowing.

And that bloodhound tracking is a brilliant idea!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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