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While on break from work late this afternoon, I let all the dogs out for play time while I tried to get a bit of mowing done. It was then feeding time and is when I realized I didn’t see Addie. I haven’t been letting her or Nash out with the rest of the gang because they get protective of any other dog going near the entrances to the puppy rooms and a battle will ensue. However, Addie has really been getting bored and wanting to do more than just take care of puppies day and night, so I let her out with the gang and all was fine. Until, that is, when it was time for everyone to cool down, get brushed, and fed, and Addie was nowhere to be found!
I didn’t panic immediately because I thought I may have let her back in the house when I ran in for a drink or restroom break and didn’t recall doing it… I do that a lot… So, I checked the house expecting to find her with her puppies or lounging on the bed. Nope, no Addie. I checked the nice, cool basement, the upstairs bedrooms, then the garage, the shed, the other kennels…no Addie. Hmmm….
I had shut off the electric fence to mow—she must have gotten out!? The worst part of that thought was not just that one of my dogs was missing, and it just so happens to be Addie with a litter of three-week old puppies, but the fact that I had removed Addie’s collar after whelping the pups! I always worry about a puppy getting stuck or getting a leg caught, etc., in a momma’s collar, so I remove them. Great, Addie was gone and without an ID collar to boot!! Even if someone kind finds her, she has no ID. Oh, this will not be good.
After getting the rest of the pack situated, off I went looking for Addie. For seven hours, I drove calling, searching, stopping, yelling, waiting to hear for a bark, then back to the house to see if she had returned. I fed her puppies their mash, posted a missing dog report on Craigslist, printed out lost dog posters (I have templates ready made and all I have to do is change a few details and print them), and set out to look more. Nothing was open so I could not inquire or post many posters. My earlier search efforts were concentrated to the immediate area surrounding the house, I hadn’t even thought to go as far as town. I broadened the search. The only good signs were that I didn’t find her along the road and the local veterinarian’s office was closed and dark, which to me meant that she hadn’t been hit and the local vet notified…besides, this vet knows my dogs and would have recognized Addie and called… On the other hand, I know Addie and she would not leave her puppies this long and I couldn’t believe she jumped the fence. She had to be trying to get back to her puppies. She had to be really hurt, dead, or, the best case scenario, being held somewhere by a nice person who had found her… but, all I could think of were the horrors of sitting along the highway with Jenna just over a year ago when she had jumped the fence, got hit by a car, and holding her in my arms while the life went from her…
With the gas tank on E, I had to call off my driving search at 1:00 AM and coasted back in to the driveway on fumes praying to see her waiting at her puppy room door.
My heart sank further.
Maybe I’ll take the ATV and continue looking… it has gas and headlights, I think!
I decided to let Nash and the other current “house” dogs out and have them help me conduct one last search of the property to see if Addie might have been hurt and trying to get back in, not noticing I left the gate open for her, digging under the fence, or laying outside the fence, etc. We walked the fence line, with me calling out for Addie while trying to listen for a whimper, bark, cry—something—anything, which was actually very hard because being outside in the middle of the night calling Addie, had all the dogs riled up and barking. If I had neighbors, they would be calling the police about now… or shooting at me with a shotgun…
But then, somehow, in between the other dogs barking, I swore I heard Addie yip! I know my dogs’ barks. I kept calling and trying to listen… It was strange and muffled-sounding, but I could definitely hear her! It finally led me to the barn and I was able to quiet the other dogs while calling and I heard her… behind a sealed-off door in the back of Boone’s kennel and behind his dog box. On the other side of that door is a small, tall “room” with an entrance to the silo. After moving the dog box, getting tools, and getting the door open, I finally found Addie down in the silo! The silo is empty and unused and we blocked it off securely, or so we thought, when installing the kennels. She had knocked one of the panels loose and jumped—or fell—down into the bottom. She looked fine, running around down there with seemingly no injuries, but how was I going to get her out? It’s about 8 feet or so to the bottom where she was. I couldn’t reach her and if I jumped down in there, how would I get either of us out?
Up to the garage to get a ladder… and, it’s a very long ladder… not easy to deal with in the least… I drag it clanging and banging down to the barn (thankful again that I don’t have neighbors close by)… Remove a few more of the silo panels (I’m sure there is a term for those sliding insert things with cool old handles on the sides, but I don’t know what it is! I am just a wanna-be farmer, not a real one.) to somehow fit this giant ladder in between the metal bars that hold the insert panels. I finally finagle the ladder in there, get myself through and onto the ladder, crawl down, get Addie and try to climb back up a ladder holding a dog… at least if I fell, I was in there with a ladder, right? I was able to get her up high enough and lift her just enough that she got out, then I climbed out.
Oh my gosh! Crazy. And, even though pigeons are supposed to be sleeping in the middle of the night and I didn’t even notice any pigeons, one managed to crap on my head… I get what I deserve I guess. Ugh.
Oh and can I just say Thank you dear God for dogs that bark, headlamps and ladders, hot-hot water and lots of shampoo? Thank you God for letting Addie be okay and for her any other-time annoying, yipping bark and for headlamps and ladders, hot water and shampoo. Thank you.
Addie is just fine. She was at the puppy room door barking her head off before I was even out of the silo. I looked her over while she was taking care of her pups. She nursed them and then ate and ate and ate and drank a gallon of water and is resting contently with her pups.
How did she get in that sealed-off room and into the silo? Well, I suspect there must be a loose board on the bottom of the outer access door which I will be inspecting thoroughly first thing in the morning. The barn pigeons use this and I’m sure it’s what drove Addie in there. I believe it’s time to trap the barn pigeons and get them into a loft where I can control the troublemakers.
I am so grateful Addie is okay and never left the grounds but feel awful that I didn’t figure out where she was much sooner. It was a nerve-wracking evening, but ended well.
I feel like the worst dog mom ever…
Hug your Llew!!