Bailey’s Big Adventure

March 13, 2009


Pioneer Woman blogged about a stray Great Dane visitor she had yesterday.  Today she let the world know she had found his people and they were happily reunited.  Reading her story reminded me of my own dog’s disappearing acts so I thought I would write it down for my kids to remember as they read it.  Perhaps you’ll enjoy the story as well.

Years ago I had 3 standard poodles and a golden retriever named Petey.  Jack, a black poodle who was BOS and Winner’s Dog at the Garden in 1990.  That was the last year they did not already need to be a champion to compete…and he received his last point necessary for his championship there.  Bailey, a cream poodle, had been placed with me because he had been acquired by someone hoping to use him for therapy work but thought he was too rambunctious…and yes, he was.  Then there was Zack, a silver, whose name was short for Better Than Prozac.  He, too, had been purchased as a therapy dog but as a young puppy it was learned he had some sight problems that would have made his intended career somewhat difficult so he was placed with me as well.  Petey was the most beeeeeyootiful golden you have ever seen.  I had him flown in from a kennel in Ca when he was a couple months old..a fat, golden fur ball.  He had been bred for show coat, had the sweetest, truest golden disposition and was a big doofy.  Jack, sadly, crossed the rainbow bridge about 5 years after his win at the Garden.  Petey crossed the Rainbow Bridge about 8 or 9 years  ago.  Bailey about 3 years ago.

Everybody was on a once a month grooming schedule because a scrufty poodle is not a pretty or comfortable poodle and I worked far too much to do poodle grooming on standard poodles on a regular basis.  One night, after coming home from the groomers, when the air was brisk and the moon was full, we opened the back door to let the dogs out before bed and the poodles bolted out the back, through the trees and off into the night.  We presume they smelled the deer and heard the call of the wild but who knows?  Perhaps it was the pull of the moon. 

For three days we hunted for our dogs.  We walked, we drove, we called.  We checked shelters, police departments, local vets and we hung posters on poles and in grocery stores.  There was no sign of our dogs.  We expanded the search to two miles and contacted an old friend who is a vet to see if he had spotted them…maybe we were going in the wrong direction in our search?  No, he had not seen them.  In desperation I called our vet on the fourth day and asked them to put up a poster.  I had not called them before because they are 5 miles away, north of our large animal vet friend,  and it seemed a long shot at best.  The dogs would never roam that far! 

Within a couple hours I had a call…one of the Vet Techs had come into work and recalled her friend telling her just the night before that some stray poodles, very beautiful and very friendlywere roaming the fields and woods across the road from her home.  She apologized…she said when her friend mentioned it to her it was because she was wondering if they had any poodle patients that it might be but she figured it was too far away to be my dogs.  She gave me the phone number and location.  My husband and I went up to their house…about 3 miles away.  We called and called.  Finally, in the field across the way Bailey bounded into view.  Soon Zack showed up.  We were able to call Zack over to us  but Bailey was not ready to come home yet.   He ran away, off into the woods.  T  hey explained they had tried to catch them with food and had put out water and food but they weren’t sure if they were eating it.  However Zack had tried to cross the road and almost got hit by the school bus so they had stopped trying to lure them across the road after that.

They hiked with us, up and down hill and vale, through brambles, across the logging camp, around the pond slimy with goose poop calling his name over and over and telling him I had cookies for him.  Finally I heard him yip to me and I called back.  I heard him yip back, closer, and I called him to come to me.  Soon another yip…closer.  He was moving toward me.  Finally I called him in to me.  It was apparent he had grown fearful.  I suspect he was hungry and pestered the men at the logging camp and been mistreated. 

Both dogs were skunked.  Full of stickers and brambles and ticks.  One had rolled in the goose poop at the pond.  The kind people who had helped us made us promise to bring them to visit…they had grown quite attached.  Home thedoggies went for a drink, a dinner and into crates on the patio for the night.   In the morning the deskunking, dethorning, deticking began in earnest.  All was well, they were happy to be at home.   Until….

Months later.  One fine fall day right after grooming we opened the door and out they bolted.  The front door this time and up into the woods.  Petey, my golden retreiver, got as far as the end of the sidewalk and decided they were running too fast for him and this was too much like work.  Back he came.  Zack and Bailey headed out in the same direction as their previous Big Adventure.  This time we were prepared. We called their “foster” parents of the previous adventure and we let them know they were probably enroute.  They said they’d watch for them.  A few hours later at dusk the phone rang.  It was our friend, the large animal vet, wondering were we missing a couple dogs?  Zack and Bailey were in his back yard and very busy…they had one of his cats treed.   Off we went to fetch them.  There they were.  Still holding the cat up in the tree.  We called, bribed them with cookies and poof, they made a beeline for the truck.  Home they came. Doggies safe, grooming safe.    They never roamed again…but they surely had an adventure when they did and we were very lucky they found people that were as caring and loving as Ree when she found the Dane on her porch.



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