Tracked or Just Lucky?
By Joy Good
The morning dawned crisp, and cold. As I walked out to collect the newspaper, my breath was visible as puffs of white smoke drifting in the cold breeze. Across the street, my neighbor, Bonnie, was plaintively calling her little 4 month old black toy poodle, Pepper. I shouted a greeting and walked closer to talk to her in a more normal tone of voice. She was on the verge of tears. The story unfolded as she told of the happenings of the night before.
She and her husband had taken a rare evening out on the town, leaving their small children and poodle puppy in the care of a sitter. Upon hearing their car approaching on their return, the sitter had gone to the door opening it a crack. The tiny poodle took advantage of the opening to dart out. The black streak caught in the head lights of the car and disappeared in front of the car. With a gut wrenching fear, they felt a slight thump as the car had almost stopped. An immediate search ensued, but the little puppy was no where to be found. They had searched well into the night without success. I felt so much compassion for this lovely lady. I knew the terror she was feeling not knowing if the pup was still alive.
A thought occurred to me that I might be able to help. My sable Colonel had been good about finding my boys when they were out of my sight playing. Could Colonel help find her poodle? I knew it was a long shot, but felt that it was worth a try. I told her my thoughts and she asked that I please try.
Colonel was excited to be going out for brisk morning walk. I asked my friend for something that would have the smell of Pepper. She returned with the blanket that he slept on. I held the blanket in front of Colonel. He sniffed it with great interest. I told Bonnie not to get her hopes up. I commanded Colonel to find Pepper. He had not been taught to track and looked up at me with confusion. I had always asked him, "where's Royce and Danny" when I wanted him to find the kids. I held the blanket back in front of him and encouraged him to smell it again. This time I said "Pepper, Where's Pepper". A light appeared in his eyes as if he understood and he began casting across the ground. After only a few moments, Colonel trotted toward the back yard with his nose to the ground. He continued in a straight line to a stack of firewood and stopped. I commanded him again to find Pepper, but he just stood his ground. I sadly apologized to Bonnie and turned to head back home, but Colonel resisted. This surprised me, as Colonel was obedience trained and very responsive to commands. I gave another tug on the leash and this time he turned and followed me, but paused to bark twice looking at the stack of firewood.
That's when we heard it, the faint whimper of a puppy coming from the wood pile. Bonnie and I started tossing pieces of wood off the stack. There, huddled in a hollow between logs, lay Pepper.
The wood must have been dislodged and fallen over the opening as he entered the gap between logs. With the greatest of care, I lifted Pepper. He was shaking and whimpering softly. I stayed with Bonnie's kids while she took him to the vet. I hugged Colonel and told him what a very special dog he was. He wagged his tail and licked my face washing away the tears of pride.
When Bonnie returned she had good news. A thorough examination showed that Pepper was only bruised and a little dehydrated. She presented Colonel with a big canister of Milk Bones and hugged me. We both cried as she exclaimed what a smart dog Colonel was, and if not for us, Pepper would surely have died. I went home, Colonel trotting happily at my side, filled with the wonder of our adventure. Colonel continued to surprise me over his 10 years of life with his intelligence. He was indeed a very special fellow!
(This is a true story of actual events. Only the names have been changed)
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"All creatures great and small, the Lord God created them all."
GoD and DoG
Every time I lose a dog he takes a piece of my heart. Every new dog gifts me with a piece of his.
Someday my heart will be total dog, and maybe then I will be just as
generous, loving and forgiving. - Unknown
Sylvania is located 70 miles NW of Savannah, Georgia.