Friday, March 6, 2015

Quite a Scare on the Farm

Yesterday dawned somewhat disappointingly on the Farm, as the predicted snowmageddon held off longer than anyone had thought.  But at 0900 or so, things got rolling, and for the entire day a heavy, heavy snow fell.  We got a good six inches I'd guess, but what was notable was how fast it all came.  Rare for these parts.

Because all my meetings were canceled, I had the opportunity to work in the ManCave all day, catching up on stuff and working on a deadline project that I emailed to the client a few minutes ago, it now being 0645 Friday.  About 4PM yesterday, I heard the Kitten's voice, or what I thought was the Kitten's voice, calling out nearby my office.  I went out the door to see what was happening, and there was a bundled up Kitten (wearing my boots) calling after our dogs--which wasn't immediately apparent because I couldn't exactly hear her.  When she told me that she was indeed calling the dogs, I realized something was wrong.  Several reasons for this.

First, the dogs have an electronic fence and collars.  The system works very well, but all components must be accounted for, and that means the dogs have to actually wear their receiver collars.  Were it up to me, they would never be taken off--but concerned Kittens often remove them in order to curry favor with two animals who already love them unreservedly.

Second, The Kitten is scarred by a childhood experience in which their family dog just up and ran.  Never came back.  Our dogs' safety and security is a big deal to her--as it is to me.  But there's emotion here that must be reconciled.

Third, because the fence system works well, we let them out the back door to gambol and frolic, and they simply do so in our yard, returning to the back door to bark their displeasure at not being in the same building with us anymore when they have finished their business.  That the Kitten was out calling for them in what passes for a blizzard in these parts was concerning.  Of course, this had to happen when the scheduling Gods had coordinated with the weather Gods to give me a huge gap of free time.  But I digress.

Realizing of course that there is a brief window for me to display my interest and concern before The Kitten believes me to be unconcerned and uninterested, I sprang to suit up in appropriate gear (having been luxuriating at my desk in LL Bean slippers, track pants and cozy fleece) to join the hunt.

We walked all over the farm, calling and calling.  No joy.  I began the long walk (well, long for a dude with a new hip) down our lane in the snow toward the main road, when the Kitten drove up behind me in her urban assault vehicle, a 2004 Land Cruiser that is a HORSE in the snow.  She suggested (dear girl) that I drive around the nearby environs looking for them, as my hip was probably hurting (no, it was SCREAMING).  I took her up on the offer and began driving up and down our lane and up and down the main road adjoining our farm.

At one point, The Kitten called me and suggested I head down the farm lane to the property next to ours, at the end of which was rumored to be a small cluster of houses, sort of like what we have on our farm.  I had never been down this road, and unlike our little peninsula which displays its houses to those on the water, these dwellings are hidden from the water by trees, the owners having been good stewards of the land over time by allowing the natural flora to flourish.  The overall effect however has been one of shrouding the place in mystery to me.  So, I was none too happy when the Kitten suggested I drive down there and engage Chucky, John Wayne Gacy, the owner in conversation about our dogs.

Their lane is even longer than ours (ours is 1/3 a mile), and as I made my way down it, I made peace with my Maker in case I expired here either as a result of foul play or getting stuck in the snow and falling victim to coyotes and other wild varmints.  I reached the end of the navigable driveway and could see three dwellings, a small caretaker house, a main house, and a third newer, though less stately building.  I approached the main house on foot, and as I got closer, I could see in the doorway the figure of a man, none too happy with my approach.  I actually raised my hands in the "hands up, don't shoot" manner as I mounted his steps, and I heard him say, "Who are you looking for?"   I answered "I'm from the farm next door, and our two black labs have gotten loose.  Have you seen them?"  At this, his face lightened and he became a good bit less scary, my having established a reasonable rationale for being out in a blizzard and approaching his very private residence.  He indicated his understanding, asked for my phone number and told me he'd call if he saw them.  Additionally, he said he'd call the other dwelling's occupants to tell them.  All in all, I couldn't have asked for more.  Well, I guess I could have asked for him to produce the loose dogs, but one can't be choosy in these situations.

As I drove back down the driveway to the main road, I got a call from The Kitten telling me that the Kittens had seen Baloo, the larger of our dogs, near our house, and that she (the Kitten) was hot on the trail of following Baloo's tracks backward--they were leading toward where I just was, the farm next door.  I must admit to being a little dubious of her tracking skills, which I have never before had a reason to admire, but the woman is enormously skilled in a a huge number of very practical things, so I figured she was doing the right thing.  Just then, a strange, local number came up on my phone, and I switched to take the call.  The caller was the fellow I had just talked to, telling me that my two dogs were there near the mailboxes on his lane, he just saw them.  This didn't compute.  The girls just said they saw Baloo at the house, and this man is contemporaneously telling me my two dogs were on his farm.
The Mystery Dog

So I drove back down to his farm and there, in the distance were the two black labs, running and frolicking and having a jolly good time.  I got out of my car and began to call them, all the while watching one of them leaping up and down in an odd manner that I had not seen either of my dogs do before.  When I called, one of them came sprinting at me, and I recognized her at a distance as ZuZu. So the other one must be Baloo.  But how can it be, as Baloo was just reported at the house.  As this strange, as yet unidentified dog began to come near me, I realized it was NOT Baloo, but a smaller, thinner lab mix, a young male full of life and fun, just the kind of playmate to take my two dogs on a wonderful adventure all over the county.

I called the man who had called me and thanked him, and informed him that the second dog was not mine--was it his.  "No one back here has a black lab" was his answer.  So I piled both of these dogs--Zuzu and the playmate--in the car for the drive back.

Everyone at the Farm was overjoyed at the return of our wayward pooches, but we were now presented with the problem of a stray lab mix with no identification on its collar.  I posted a photo and an appeal on Facebook, and the Kitten did likewise on the local humane shelter's BOLO page.  I now have a strange dog living in the crate in the ManCave, a great little pup that we'll bring to the shelter a little later today.  I am assured by my people that this shelter is truly humane, so hopefully he'll eventually be picked up by his owner or by a nice family who needs a great little boy who is full of fun.


NavyAustin said...

Hopefully he's been chipped - that's the best thing. Most chipped dogs get reunited with their owners.

"The Hammer" said...

Won't be long before we are chipped.

Jimmy Wires said...

I cincerely hope your burried pet confinment cable is 14 gauge solid bare copper insulated with a 30 mil wall of yellow pollyethylene, manufactured by Seminole Wire & Cable Co. of Pennsauken New Jersey and conceived by the then President.

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