I took the dogs out for an evening constitutional around 9 pm Tuesday. I just walk them about halfway down the driveway when it’s dark, but that was far enough that Zeke smelled/heard something on the far side of the yard and took off. When I stepped off the driveway onto the newly-laid wheat straw, I couldn’t keep my footing and hold on the leash at the same time, so Zeke got away. He disappeared into the darkness of the woods. I suspect that it was a fox, because the night before we had seen glowing eyes and peaked ears directed towards the house from the edge of the yard.
I dropped Sam’s leash at the same time he tried to follow Zeke, but when I accidentally stepped on his leash and he felt the tug, he stopped immediately. Good dog! Lucy was oblivious. I couldn’t follow Zeke with the two other dogs, so I had to wait until I got them back into the house. At that point, all I could do was get into the truck and cruise around. I went down both sides of the mountain and up to both ends of Lavender Trail. No sign of Zeke. I did the same drive two other times before we went to bed with no better luck.
Of course I went out a few times and called, but I never expected him to come back to a call. He doesn’t respond to calls when he’s rampaging.
This off-leash excursion was different from all the many past ones. In all of those cases, Zeke has never spent the night outside. Leah and I both feared the worst. I imagined that he had been hit by a car and his body was lying somewhere in the dark off the side of the road. Or maybe he ran deep into the woods and snagged his leash on something, hanging himself. From past experience, I knew he barked when he was caught by the leash in the woods, and there was no barking that night or the next morning. Or maybe he just followed the fox too far into the woods and was lost. It happens.
The next morning I walked Sam and Lucy to the end of the driveway. I halfway expected to see Zeke down on the road (hopefully looking suitably chastened), but no. I noticed an SUV turn down Wildlife Trail in front of our old house, but I didn’t think much about it. As we walked back up the driveway, I heard a woman’s voice asking if I was looking for a dog. Zeke was in the back of her SUV.
She said her daughter had been driving across the mountain at a little after 10 and found Zeke walking down Fouche Gap Road. She stopped and picked him up — Zeke never met a stranger and has willingly jumped into other people’s cars on other occasions. So Zeke spent the night at these people’s house. Fortunately, the woman and I had met before so she had at least an inkling of where we might live. It turned out she had driven up to me and dogs as we tried to figure out what to do with another dog that was wandering around the mountain. She vaguely remembered me and I vaguely remembered her.
So it was all good in the end, although I doubt that Zeke learned anything from this incident.
In other dog news, Lucy may be getting old. She has been balking at going for our morning walks. This is the way she crosses the kitchen on the way out to the garage.
She sets her feet and slides across the floor. Once she accepts that she’s not sleeping in, she starts walking and doesn’t seem to have any problems. Unfortunately, not wanting to walk is not the only possible sign of aging. She also seems to be incontinent, or at least very careless about where she relieves herself. She has soaked her own bedding, and on Wednesday apparently soaked a spot bigger than herself in a new bed we had just brought home for Sam. I’m hoping it isn’t a sign of something more serious than just aging, although that would be bad enough. If it happens again, a visit to the vet will be in order.