Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pearl and Prairie Lost then Found

The whole lost dog drama started out on Thursday morning. We had just returned from a 5 mile run with the dogs. We had one dog off her lead and I was running with the other on a lead. We have found that since they are so bonded to each other they stay really close together that way. 

When I got to our pasture I let Pearl off her lead. Immediately the two dogs picked up a sent of something (maybe a bear) and went streaking across the grass and into our woods. Shouting all my usual attention getting commands did nothing. It was as if they had earplugs and that they never even knew who I was. Alison was right behind me and we set off to find them to no avail. It all happened in an instant.

Two and a half days of combing the hills, stapling up fliers and doing all the typical lost dog stuff got us nothing. (Except some very genuine sympathy from a lot of nice people, thank you very much!) We took one of the dogs’ squeaky balls on our hikes and squeaked all the way. 

Saturday afternoon: The dogs were found near the cell tower on Sumas Mt (3500 ft elevation) about 11 miles away by highway and dirt logging roads. A group of men and women driving quads found them and since they were near the cell tower were able to call the number on the dogs tags. There is no cell reception between us and that tower which made the rest of this adventure more difficult. 

We were just heading out the door to go search for them again by car this time as we had spent the morning on foot hiking the hills behind the house. Between the two of us we had logged over ten miles. The traces of where we went can be seen on the map in faint blue lines west of the cabin which is pinned in yellow. 

The quad group told us to meet them at a gravel pit on the way to the cell tower because they were going to take an off road "short cut" to get to the gravel pit. They said the dogs were OK but just spent and that the group would wait for us at the gravel pit for awhile.

Two miles of highway and about 8 miles of logging road driving got us to the gravel pit. No quads were there. We could hear motors in the distance for a bit but then they faded away. We waited for about an hour and a half not knowing if we were in the right spot or not. I had never been in this area before. We opted to leave a note and go back down to the highway to see if their vehicles and trailers were still there. We left them a note on a big boulder before we left telling them we would come back if their trucks were still there. The note was written on the back of one of our fliers with a picture of the dogs and mention of a reward if found. 

The Trooper had its workout on those roads! The trucks and trailers were still there so we left another note and headed back up. Just before we got back to the gravel pit we saw a a group of quads. Two of the men were carrying the dogs on their laps will driving the quads! I think they were as happy to see us as we were them.

The dogs had been too weak to walk and the short cut was not as easy as they expected, especially with the dogs so had taken them over two hours to get down to the pit. We could tell that the men's arms were really sore from trying to drive and hold on to the dogs. We lifted the dogs off and laid them in the car, much relieved after their ordeal (and ours). Prairie was almost comatose and Pearl was just limp in my arms. The guys said they just stayed in their arms without a fuss.

The quad people had originally thought that they would get there before we did. I asked them if they would accept a reward or at least let us buy them dinner at the North Fork Brewery and Beer Shrine nearby but they declined saying that it would be bad karma and that they had already discussed it after reading our note. 

What a nice group of people to find out dogs! With hugs all around we headed down that long and windy road. 

We had received their phone call around 3:30 and we didn't get the dogs back to the house until after 7:00. We checked out the dogs, they have some strange bites on their bellies, some scrapes on their feet but that's about it. 

They've pretty much just laid on their beds since then and had to be coaxed to go out but they are back!