Monday, August 27, 2012

The Incredible Journey

There have been times, this last year, when I have thought of basically eliminating the Internet from my life.  Because it's been the source of hurt, and gossip, and untruths, and I've had to force myself at points to ignore things that are almost impossible to ignore.  Today, I changed my mind and decided that sometimes facebook DOES use it's power for good, not evil, and I won't ever delete my account, come what may.

Mom and Dad were dog sitting last night and they went for a ride up to my sister's house, taking our Captain Burdock with them.  He was outside playing with Myra and Jim's dog, Tilly, but when it came time to leave he couldn't be found.  They searched for him to no avail and finally had to head home, dogless.  He's never run away before, but then, he's never really been away from us before either.

Early this morning, when he still hadn't turned up, I called the Town Clerk, dog catcher, vet's office and I posted his picture on facebook and asked folks to share.  Immediately, Captain's photo was spread far and wide.

When the kids and I went hunting for him, most of the people I spoke to had already heard he was missing...perfect strangers were out looking alongside of people I went to high school with.  I was astounded when some random lady in a gas station was already on the lookout.  We found lots of clues, he'd been spotted down on RT 14, miles away, and headed toward Bethel.  He'd been seen at Lucky's Trailers, almost caught outside Eaton's Sugarhouse, was running down Russ Hill.  We asked everywhere, called everywhere, drove up and down every road in the area, calling.  It's not like Captain to just head out on his own, but when he's looking for his boys, there's no stopping him, he's jumped through high windows lately, knocking the screen out, just to get to them.

We got more and more worried as the day passed and Eli was a mess.  This was HIS dog.  The dog that sleeps with him every night and never leaves his side all day long.  Now Captain isn't the smartest dog on the planet.  When Jen is putting Ruby through her paces of sit, lie down, stay, fetch, roll over, speak, jump, etc, etc, Captain just yawns.  People would say "Oh, he'll find his way back to Myra's" but I certainly had my doubts.  Captain can't find his way out of a sheet when the kids throw one over his head.  For real.  No, he's not the keenest dog around, but there's one thing he's got going on above almost any dog I've ever seen.  Loyalty and doggielove.  He loves those kids so hard it's not even funny.  He is heartbroken when he can't be with his boys.  He literally puts his paws around them when they sleep and when Eli has been having one of his bad days, Captain is the one who comes running to press against him.  He hugs us all, like a person, and snuggles his head up on your shoulder.  He will never understand that he's just slightly too big to be a lap dog.  He's been depressed that the kids have been playing a lot lately in my Dad's sailboat, up on it's trailer and he can't get up, so he just lays down underneath waiting for them to come down.  Captain ranks number one in the love department.  He'd win any dog show if that was one of the categories.

So, needless to say, Eli, was a mess, especially after we'd shouted ourselves hoarse, driving 10 miles an hour all over Royalton and Bethel.

Coming home for lunch, I was disheartened to find no messages on the answering machine, though heartened to see, online, that word about Captain had spread even more.  But still no Captain.  Ira and Avry started to eat, but Eli couldn't.  He went out to the sailboat and cried.  Avry and Ira eventually went out too, and then the phone rang.

Back in Tunbridge, nearly 14 miles from where he was last seen, a friend of ours had noticed the facebook post about Captain and had just spotted a dog fitting his description running near her farm.  Getting pretty close to us, but on the wrong back road.  She caught him, called us, we rushed over and there he was!  With sore little paws, it was our Captain Burdock!

Home, after lots of food and water, Eli curled up with him on the sofa and let loose.  His first happy cry ever, I think.  It hasn't been a happy cry kinda year.  I bawled pretty hard when we saw it was actually our dog, safe and sound.  Now the kids want to hold and pet him nonstop, but poor Captain just wants to sleep.  How on earth could a small, (rather dumb) dog make it 14 miles in a couple of hours?  And from an unfamiliar place?  I'm so relieved.  Sunday is the kid's birthday and what a miserable one it would have been without their best friend.  I wish he could talk.  What was he thinking?  Where did he spend the night?  How did those swollen feet find their way nearly home again?

I owe facebook some credit for making sure little dogs and little boys don't lose each other.  And all the good people around here who understand that dogs are pretty special things.   I am grateful that way down in Bethel, some woman I'd never seen before asked me if I was "Captain's Mom" and had he been found yet?  Everyone in the surrounding communities was watching for him, it's such a wonderful place we live in, and Captain's Mom is very thankful for that.

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