We thought we had seen her for the last time. Our son’s aging golden retriever was missing. Her arthritic hip, poor hearing and bad eyesight certainly weren’t in her favor. Plus, with temperatures consistently at or above 105 degrees, we knew she was going to have to have water to survive.
It didn’t look good when we learned she and her much-younger playmate — a sleek, black, lab mix — had made their escape from our vacationing son’s backyard. How they got out remains a mystery. There was no sign of digging, no boards gapped wide enough they could get through, no short fences to jump over, and the latch on the side gate was closed. The only thing for certain was that they were gone.
The golden had been a part of our lives for 12 years. Our son got her as a pup, and I can still remember when he brought her home. She was a long-legged, active, slobbering but incredibly friendly puppy that loved to be right up against you and wagged her tail rapidly at any sign of attention.
Early on, she had a tick problem, resulting from the rural setting in which she was born. But repeated treatments and baths, which she actually never seemed to mind, did their job. Our granddaughter, little more than a toddler at that point, named her. The reddish-blond, golden retriever became “Blue.”
If you’ve ever had a golden, you know that they love people. Blue was no exception. And as she grew bigger, she became even more so. If you were on the floor, or anywhere she could get near you, you could count on her being there. And a dog that large puts off lots of heat. No problem in colder weather, but in the summer months, she could be quite warm.
She loved attention, loved to play. She loved to mother smaller dogs, letting them crawl over her as she laid on her side and using her big paws to playfully knock them around or cuddle them.
It wasn’t long after son and his family moved to their new house that they got the lab mix. This pup was more active than Blue, who was beginning to show signs of her age. The “newcomer” — Micco — also was very curious. It may have been that curiosity, years later, that led to the disappearance.
A friend who had been feeding and watering them, noticed that they were missing. Throughout the day and into the night, we searched unsuccessfully. We made signs describing the pair and giving our phone number, placing them with other such notices in the area. But we feared the heat would take its toll, particularly on the older Blue.
The next morning, the phone rang. It was a man named Bennie, who lived about a half-mile from our son’s home, who had seen one of our signs. He asked if one of the dogs was named Blue, which he had seen on her collar. He said he had found them about 36 hours earlier, wandering down the street.
After getting the pertinent information, I drove over and got the story from Bennie and his wife, Suzie, two wonderful people who love animals. They had cared for the dogs, cleaned them up, fed and watered them, while repeatedly calling the owner’s number. Bennie said that when he saw the sign, he knew it had to be the two dogs they had found.
When they opened their side gate and we called their names, the “escapees” came running. They were ready to go home and I think they realized this “adventure” was over.
We’re very thankful Bennie and Suzy found Blue and Micco. It was our good fortune to have people who care about animals find them. And, as I told them, it made some people very happy to know their pets were safe.
You sure can get attached to a pet, even if it isn’t yours.
Learn more about pets and how to take care of them at http://knowit.newsok.com/pets-Oklahoma