On Sunday, April 29th, our German Shepherd startled, broke her collar and bolted into the town neighborhood where our daughter and her family were doggie sitting for the weekend. We arrived at her house to find her in tears, her husband out walking the streets, half their neighbors also looking. We got there about 11 p.m., an hour and a half after she bolted and spent the next hour and a half driving through the neighborhood and adjacent neighborhoods calling to no avail. Over the next 10 days, we walked and drove, searched and talked to people. There were several sightings, some of them good sightings, but by the time our daughter or we got there, there was no sign. Shadow is a farm/country dog and has never allowed us to socialize her very well. She likes other dogs, cats, and children, but is wary of adults until she gets to know them, is terrified of bicycles, skateboards, people with walking sticks or canes, and the vacuum cleaner. Thunder doesn’t bother her, but other sudden noises do. She was lost in a very high density area and totally out of her element.
We had contacted the Animal Control and Care Center, the Humane Society, every local vet, and handed out at least 100 flyers with her photo, description, and our phone numbers. We posted it on Facebook, Reddit, and Craigslist. Sunday she appeared in a cul de sac where friends of our daughter live, they saw her just as two dogs chased her away, down a gully and off toward a more densely populated area of town homes. That was the last sighting until this morning. She showed up down in a muddy gully behind some houses with steep back yards and almost came to the woman who spotted her. She tracked down our phone number and called me after lunch and told us to go through her yard down to the gully. We immediately got in the car and drove the 25 minutes over there and did go down into the wet overgrown area, calling quietly as we walked in opposite directions from the yard. There were dog tracks and lots of deer tracks until I could go no further due to the undergrowth. Discouraged, I returned to the back of the yard where we started, still softly calling her and she came bounding out of the undergrowth, through the mud and right up to me, as relieved as were we. Generally she doesn’t like the chain collar put on but she stuck her head right in, jumping up on both of us, a very uncharacteristic behavior and coating us in muddy paw prints.
As we couldn’t get in to see the vet for a check for 2 1/2 hours, we brought her home, rinsed some of the mud off, pulled ticks, and tried to check her for other injury. She has a slight skunk odor, not like she was sprayed, just like she had walked through areas where they had been. She has a few minor abrasions and a small cut under one eye, a bit of a limp and lost almost 7 pounds (she only weighted 70 when she disappeared). The vet couldn’t find anything significantly wrong, said the cut looks like it is going to heal untreated, but gave us Rimadyl to help her inflammation and leg tenderness. We got her spring dose of Bravecto to rid her of any fleas and kill the ticks. She ate heartily, has an unquenchable thirst and is stretched out on the floor at home with her giant fur brother, totally sacked out.
Since she broke her collar in the escape, we stopped before the vet visit and got her some new bling, a new collar for her tags and a new matching leash. We will probably keep her on a leash when she goes out for a day or two until we are sure she knows she is home for good. She seemed to perk up as we drove down our long gravel road and driveway. She has mostly stopped trembling. Maybe in a few days we can give her a doggie shampoo and get rid of the rest of the mud and the scent.
Thank goodness for the folks who shared on social networks, looked for her, called us with sightings, and shared their care and concern. It helped when we were stressing over her being lost, hungry, and alone.