Aftermath & Afterthought . . .
In the aftermath of her ordeal, now almost two weeks home, Edie is almost perfectly her old self again, feisty and happy, and is rapidly coming into good flesh again. Pestering Halle, our English cocker, as ever before. Looking for mischief to buy into. She saw a herd of deer in the yard yesterday, and almost tore the door down. Course, she's strictly on leash patrol right now. Every time we look at her, we give thanks again, that she is really home, and that we are enjoying all her little nuances, that at many times we thought we'd never have again.
It's surreal, like she never left, was never gone.
Strange as it may seem, it's closely like it was all indeed a nightmare, and never really happened. Except, that of course, it did. And the reality sets in hard all over again.
It was indeed a miracle of maybe Divine order, that we got her back, safely home. It could have easily gone the other way. Could she tell us, oh wouldn't we all love to hear her tale, every detail from the time she left, til the moment I drove up to the trap. As is, we must always wonder, can only imagine what she went through. Dogs live in the moment, deal with it as it comes, are not cursed with the affliction of humans that tortures us to anticipate. But she was alone and afraid, that is certain, and dealt with whatever like the tough and gritty little dog she is. Or she wouldn't be here. I'll never know how she managed to avoid or defeat the coyotes; we're infested with them here, intensified by those that are drawn to the nearby coyote pen, that they paradoxically and clandestinely still call a "fox" pen. Any fox that was in there died long ago.
Ironically, as an outdoor writer and dog man, I worked with Garmin on the prototype of their original Astro dog tracking system, the Astro 220 and DC30, I believe it was (the orig collar unit). Of course, that system in its current generation is the industry standard, and very good. The Astro 430 now. I have every generation, including the latest, and also the Track & Train adjunct, the Alpha 100. I used radio telemetry tracking equipment with my bird dogs for years before the Garmin GPS system evolved. I use Garmin now because I consider it the best. Point is, I had only about fifteen tracking collars in the house when Edie was lost. BUT, did not have one on her the afternoon she was gone, or for many afternoons before. I've cursed myself for it a thousand times in the past three weeks. But I didn't. It gets back to the 95/5 % control/freedom thing. Edie had lured me into a false sense of security with her consistent return for eight years, and then - it takes only the once, and happens faster than you can believe - the one time came, the 5% wild card, and something happened also, to render her unable to return as usual. I think now either a coyote after her or racing off after a feral cat and getting herself lost.
The moral is, if I had had the tracking collar on her, the disaster would have been averted in the first three minutes, and she and we would never have suffered the pain we did. Edie will be off the leash again; she must be allowed to fulfill her life too. I'll as always try to keep her in a relatively safe place, under constant watch and supervision, but we'll go squirrel hunting again, and she can dig out the moles again, and tear off through the woods again with me. But NEVER, EVER, EVER again, under any circumstances, without the tracking/training collar.
If you have a dog you really, really love, as no other, I beseech you to do the same. Learn the system, train them until they fully respond to basic commands on the check cord, then take them somewhere safe, let them live within limits the life they were bred for (especially for the sporting breeds), but NEVER without a tracking collar.
While mechanically and physically, Edie was returned home safely by live trapping, with special traps of ingenious trigger system, what really brought her home was the countless repetitions of caring and sharing, of the word of her loss, and the thousands of alms that as a result, were offered for her safe recovery, by the many hundreds of fine and gentle folks like yourself, who wanted to see her home almost as bad as we did. It's the universal language of love for dogs, that breaks down all barriers, and describes the priceless role they fill in our lives, a bond so singular it has no equal on Earth, an unconditional devotion that finds scarce limit, and a soul completing presence no one or else can parallel. The unrelenting caring and sharing created the broad and intense awareness and vigil that enabled the sightings, and the sightings enabled us to ultimately and successfully bring her safely home.
As I have said before, there is no possible way we can adequately thank you for all you have done. But we love you for it, and it has given us a whole new and soulful outlook on the greater Goodness in humankind.
From the absolute bottom of our hearts, we Thank You, Thank You, and Thank You.
Finally, perhaps, a renewal of spirit, and model of life for us all. HOPE is the small bit of flotsam that is swept along with the storm. We must grab hold of it, hold on with all our might, do what we have to do - no matter how tossed and torn it becomes - until, after all and whatever may come, the sun breaks through once more. HOPE is the protoplasm of the soul.
As a lasting gesture of appreciation, I do not plan to close this website, but occasionally post quotes and stories of dogs, that perhaps you would enjoy.
God bless you All.