He did it again…

Posted by & filed under the puppy diaries.

I am subtitling this post “I guess I learned my lesson although I didn’t know I needed to learn a lesson.”

Today Columbus got lost again. On the mountain. Halfway into our hike, at the turn-around point.

Did he know we were going to turn around and wasn’t ready? I don’t know if he is that smart, really. In any case, I stood in the meadow on High Meadow Trail for 10 or 15 minutes whistling and calling for him. And asking Koda to go find him. She didn’t. A sheep dog that couldn’t find our lost sheep. Sure would be nice if those sheep dog tendencies would kick in when they need to instead of when I don’t want them to.

So, what to do?  Dot walked up the trail a ways looking for him.  I stayed in the meadow whistling because there are actually two trails that exit it, plus a whole perimeter of woods he could be in. I really had no idea which direction he went. One minute before we entered the meadow he had come back to me and I had given him a cookie for doing that. It’s my training reinforcement for him to come back to me.

Yeah, right.

So, I told Dot I guess we needed to go. We headed back to the car. When we reached Echo Lake I shouted and whistled for him for a bit, because it echos there. (Really. The lake is well-named.) And then we ran into Claire and Snufkins the Basset Hound and told her we had lost Columbus.  She walked off in the direction we had just come and I heard her calling for him as I, too, was calling for him.  The name “COLUMBUS” was reverberating through the woods.

We got back to the car. He wasn’t there. We saw a friend jogging down the trail. Before I even asked he said, “no, I didn’t see a Golden.” We saw a lady just getting out of her car to go hiking and I told her I had lost my dog. She said she knew hunters who, when their dogs get lost, leave a blanket on the ground and come back later to find the lost dog on the blanket, waiting for them. I took the blanket I use to protect my car seats from the dogs’ dirt, dampness, and drool and put it on the ground, with a note that told people not to move it, it was for my lost dog, his name is Columbus, and I left my name and number.

Then we left. We headed to the mountain’s administration building to report him lost, stopping at one spot near Echo Lake to call for him again. On the way back, I checked in at the blanket again. No Columbus. Then I went to the police station to tell them I had lost my dog. Then I dropped Dot off at home, intending to go home, check to see if anyone had called, grab my cell phone and a banana (for a quick breakfast), send off an email to work telling them I had to go back and try and find my dog. As I walked in the door my mother waved at me to come quickly. A lady on the mountain had found him. She was still on the mountain.

I called her and she told me where she was and where her car was. I told her I’d meet her on the trail. I left a note on her car in case we missed each other telling her that the blue car next to her was my car and to just put Columbus in it. I got all the way back up to the meadow and past it a bit before I met her.  Columbus had been with her and her two dogs on the back side of the mountain. He had been with them, then left them (she was relieved when he went off), then found her again and stuck with her. That’s when she realized he was really lost and called the Home Again number on his tags (he is microchipped).

She really was very gracious because Columbus spoiled her peaceful walk with her well-behaved (and small) dogs. While he was with them, she got yelled at by somebody telling her to leash her dog. She told me it was unfortunate that I didn’t have my cell phone with me earlier. A very gentle reprimand. She wasn’t going to leave him, a lost dog, on the mountain, and talked about how she figured she was going to have to get him into her car and home to her fenced-in yard for a bit.

Thank goodness for good people. I am very fortunate to have my puppy back home with me. He really did live up to his name this morning.

Maybe I should rename him “Shadow.”

In any case, he won’t be off-leash on the mountain any time soon.

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