While I have always been more of a cat person, despite having several dogs over the years, we somehow managed to wind up with 3 dogs in the house. First a stray was hanging around, and someone made the mistake of putting some food out for it. Boom! Dog #1 (Goldie/female.) Then my son decided to adopt a dog from the pound, and we decided what the heck. Boom! Dog #2. (Champ/male,) Champ was thought to be a lab/pit mix, but he grew into something that sure enough looks like lab, but no pit whatsoever. We have concluded with his body design and appearance he is more likely a labradane. Half lab, half Great Dane. Then one day a vehicle we did not recognize went down the lane out front and exited not long after, we didn’t think much of it, people often drive down there, see it’s a dead end, and exit. But then a little while later a dog we’ve never seen shows up. This time, no doubt, it’s a Pit Bull (Mauser/male.) Boom! Dog #3. Undoubtedly left to his own devices, criminally dropped off in the country, for what reason we will never likey know. We canvassed the neighborhood, put out FB reports of a found dog, (Not me actually I despise FB (or Meta), but my son has it,) and no one ever claimed him, so he is officially ours now.
That’s the setup, we have 3 dogs. Champ is the subject of the post. Champ has a personality that is decidedly kingly, very untrusting of strangers, yet very lovable. His charming super power is making everyone who knows him love his ways. And we do. Well, I let the dogs out for a morning walk, was it 3 days ago now? I can hardly remember at this point. Anyway, in the time it took me to slip on some shoes and a jacket, Mauser and Champ were gone. They, both have training collars, I quickly did the “beeps,” Mauser came right back. Champ disappeared. We assume there was a deer, and he lit out after it.
Well myself and one of the boys made a few trips into the woods trying to find him in the cold November rain, with no luck whatsover. So I’m soon worn out from the walking, in hilly terrain, with open fields scattered about, in deer season, and no hunter orange on. Just was so worried about the dog It didn’t occur to me I might get my ass shot off by some dumbass redneck with a high powered rifle. But then it did occur to me and I was seriously concerned about said dumbass redneck having a bad hunt morning, and deciding to shoot my dog. But alas no sighting of our dog, dead or alive. I got home and used the truck to roam the roads that encircle our location for the rest of the evening up till dark, stopping and talking to people, letting them know, showing them a picture, and putting the word out. No luck.
Day 2. No rain today, but steadily dropping temps and a cold wind. There is a patch of woods to the N of us we didn’t hunt the day before, that’s my target area for the day. But I went to town first and bought some hunter orange vests so everyone in the field had some protection against getting their ass shot off. I swear the last place I want to be, is in the middle of the woods, in deer season, with well armed redneck dumbasses about. But off we go. We separate in the woods, far enough apart we can glimpse and hear each othe calling out for the dog. We covered a good bit of ground heading W, then decided to turn N and continue. We broke out into another field and one of my sons who was with, yelled out “there he is!” I turned in time to see something, about the right color and size breaking into the woodline. Not a positive ID by any means, a one second glimpse doesn’t imprint in your brain too well from a moving object 80 yards off. Well we move that way, I’m looking for dog prints in the field, and my boy is scanning the woods. I decided on the chance it was our dog, that we should again separate, and push through the woods back to the S, hoping if it was Champ we could drive him in the direction of home. At this point I am unsure of his mental state, being a lost dog in the woods, having already spent one night alone, everything is your enemy, to the point you might not even recognize those who love and care for you. So we pushed through the woods, the briars, the holly trees, the tangle of vines, and scrub trees, damn good thing I did a lot of woods exploring as a kid, I can pick a path through rough stuff pretty quick and always have a walking stick.
We got back home, no dog. We never saw whatever we had seen again.
Back to square one. Grab some lunch, change shirts, you work up a bit of a sweat and the wet shirt on a cold day isn’t a good thing. The wife gets home, I tell her about the morning, we decide to go hit the area again, that one glimpse was the only card we had to play at this point. So we went back, wearing hunter orange, and spent a few hours looking to no avail. We retreat to home and start another roaming hunt by vehicle. No luck. We decide to go to town and get fast food for supper, we were none of us interested in cooking at this point. End of the day, no dog. Weather prediction 31 degrees this night. We are concerned.
That afternoon, my son has a job at Wal Mart, someone asks him, are you the one looking for a lost dog? Well my son informed him yes indeed we were. Well this guy says he was hunting that morning and was about to shoot a deer, when a dog broke from the brush and scared away the deer. The dog fit the description. My son sends me the guys phone number, and it turns out he one of our neighbors son! They live to our S, and Champ was definately sighted there, that morning, around 5:30 AM. So we had a verified sighting. It was already near dark, but we went and make a quick hunt before we lost all light and had to abandon. That’s when we went to town for take out. Typing this out as I recall it…
31 degrees. I toss and turn, trying to sleep, worn out, worried about the dog. We get up, day 3. After speaking to our neighbors son, I was aware he is taking his daughter on the hunt this morning, eager to get out looking I texted him wanting to know about what time they would be heading home. 10AM was the reply, and as he was our sole lead, I honored his hunt and waited till 9:30 that morning before gearing up and heading out. My wife geared up and told me she was going to hunt the woods close by, hoping to get lucky, I waited a bit and headed for the area where Champ was last seen.
One of the boys and I, encountered our father/daughter hunters as they were heading out, we were heading in. He showed us the general wherabouts the dog was last seen, and we headed that way. The trail breaks out into a long narrow clearing and we are flanking the clearing, calling out for the dog. My boy gets out ahead of me, and I lose sight of him, but I know he is fine in the woods, as am I, and he will get home. After a bit, I’m moving away from the sighting zone, and I decide to double back and recheck the area of the sighting, and fan out from there. I made my way to a creek, I could see a bean field on the other side, I decide to cross the creek, getting one of my darn feet wet in the process, I don’t care at this point, I didnt even stop to wring out my sock. I was making my way through the scrub when I heard something behind me, Mauser, the Pit Bull was with me, but I could see him, so I turned to see what was behind me, and there was Champ. He was as glad to see me as I was to see him.
I had a couple of Milk Bone treats in my pocket for the occaision, he gobbled them up quick. After a long moment of happy dog, happy guy greetings, I get them moving towards home. Called my other son along the way, told him to spread the news. I was on my way back, with a Champ in tow.
Got home. My son who was in the woods with me and had gone on ahead, had beaten me back. He informs me that his mom, my wife, is lost in the damn woods!
Son of a…
Well, she has her phone, I can talk to her. I call, she is the worlds worst at giving directions, at first I got the impression she headed N, so I’m going that way, then no… maybe it was W from home. So I cut back that way, actually right back through our backyard, I didn’t think she was very far off, she told me she would be close to home. Well as much as I harp on rednecks, I have enough redneck in me to own a few firearms, and I generally do not go unarmed in the woods. There are coyotes, and rednecks out there. I tell the wife I’m going to pop off a shot with the .45, see if you can hear it, and get a direction. Well she hears it but barely. She is further out that I thought. So I’m off traipsing through the woods again. I head W, then cross a couple of fields, through another treeline, and across another field. I’ll stop and yell out “Hey-Ooooo” every little bit and listen for a response. Nothing. I call her again, can’t make heads or tails out of where she might be, or what damn direction. I finally realized, we both have freaking maps on our phones. I tell her to open up the map app, and tell me what she is close to. Well she pinned her location and sent me a screenshot! Even better. I now had her location. She was S of me. So I head off that way, watching my location on the map in conjunction with her position. I’m making my way across creeks, through the woods and scrub, across a field, I can see I’m getting close. It looked like I was darn close, then I did the expand the map thing, and son of a… She was still a long way off, but not terribly far from a highway.
Change of plans. I tell her to head for the highway, I’m going back home to come get her at the highway with the car. I have enough gumption in the tank I can get home, or get to her, but not both, by foot. So by the time I get home, I am so freaking exhausted I can barely think straight. But I hop in the car and get as close to her last location I can get by car. Just so happens I stopped in here a couple days back and told the owner I had a lost dog. I asked him if I could park and head through the woods to find my lost wife. He consents (another EDIT: at this point we had been trespassing all over the damn countryside, generally it is considered ok by most land owners in a “hunting for your dog” situation, in this case I had to park a car so I sought permission.) So back through the brush, the briars, the scrub, a field, some more scrub, and a treeline, she’s at the bottom of the hill there. I packed in some Power Aid knowing she had nothing to drink, she got watered up and we headed home.
This saga is complete. Got the dog, got the wife, the aches and pains, the exhaustion, will subside. The wife had several scratches, those briars are nasty man, a few bruises, she had fallen a couple of times, but otherwise she’s in good shape.
Champ after cleaning up the abundance of ticks, and we still find a few, he has considerable issues with his paw pads, no deep lacerations but a lot of abraded areas, I doctored those up with some Neosporin, an antibiotic ointment, just to help kill any bacteria present, with out subjecting him to a high pain alternative. He is ravenous after being lost for 2.5 days. He is resting well, seems in good spirits, but does does limp a bit with sore paws at times. I will monitor his condition closely, he may have a vet trip trip sooner than later if he doesn’t show massive improvement in a day or so.
All of those things that a normally functioning household gets done, have been left undone for 3 damn days now. I told the wife last night, sit down, I’ll get this stuff done tomorrow. (Today) Well, I told her this morning as she headed off for work, “babe, those things I said I’d get tomorrow, some of that stuff might wait till tomorrow.” 🙂
Mauser is the white Pit Bull. Champ is the yellow labradane. Both probably around 100 lbs each now. Well Champ lost a few pounds, but he’ll get them back. This pic is deceiving, Champ can literally rest his chin on the dinner table standing up, without standing on his tip toes 😉 A good side view and the Dane is more apparent. Especially when he drools.
EDIT: I completely forgot after all that transpired, on day one, right after Champ went missing, my good friend and great bassist Jimmy, who was coming over so we could do some recording, he helped me on a woods trip, and we did some roaming vehicle looking… We didn’t have any luck at all, but I needed to put that in here. I know he reads the blog 😉 And I’m sure to hear it! I’m sorry Jimmy! I’ll buy you a drink.