This little lady above is Sarah. Yesterday, Sarah, Wilbur and I go for a run at Jordan Lake. There is this one spot that is about a 1.5 mile loop that I drop the leash and let Sarah run loose. I don't do that with Wilbur because he can get a bit funny if we meet up with other dogs, so it is better if I just keep hold of him. Until yesterday, Sarah had never left my side, apart from the odd bathroom break.
Yesterday, I have no idea what she saw, mabe a squirrel or rabbit, but whatever it was, her ears suddenly perked up, and she was off into the woods. Sarah is fast, really fast, and within seconds I couldn't see or even hear her. Wilbur and I follwed her into the woods whistling and calling - allowing Wilbur's nose to guide us. The thing is, I have no idea if Wilbur has any tracking sense - he was pulling me, but who knows if it was Sarah he was following or a deer that went through a day earlier. I go back to where Sarah first went walkabout. Now what?
Call Jess, that's what. I am starting to really become panic stricken, and I was choking up when I called home to explain what was going on. More calling, more whistling, more panicing. Sarah had been gone about 10 minutes by now. I decided then the best thing to do was run back to the car a little over a mile away, in the hope that she could find her way back to the parking lot, and perhaps I could engage the assistance of the park rangers.
Here's what made it worse, a few minutes before she ran off, the tag with our phone number came away from her collar, so there wasn't even a way to for us to be contacted if someone found her.
I am now distraught, she had been gone for 20 minutes, maybe more. I call home again, devestated. At one point I think I saw her in the woods - I walked into the woods where I think I saw her, called, then whistled to no avail. More time wasted. I give up - time to get help, I can't believe what a screw-up I am. I start running again.
And there she is, sitting in the middle of the trail, her tail wagging, with the biggest grin on her face, "this is the best game ever, can we play it again?"
We were about 1/4 mile from the car, and she had been gone for about 30 minutes or so. Words can't explain how relieved I was. There will be no more "freedom runs" for the pups unfortunately.