This is Deborah's first post to the blog. She is more involved with the activities behind the scenes, but hopes there is something for everyone to learn from our story.
One of the worst feelings I have ever experienced was when our pup, Cooper, went missing for 30 hours. He’s only a pup, despite the fact he’s a hunting dog. I had so many mixed emotions at the time, but the one that stood out the most was fear. Especially due to the frigid temperatures below zero and wind gusts to 35 mph. Cooper has always demonstrated joy with all human interactions; he’s really a social butterfly. But, the oil-delivery man frightened him off. The oil-delivery man has been known to scare us a bit, too, with the bills he leaves behind. We concluded that the loud noise from the truck in addition to the long awkward hose and approaching man spooked Cooper. Coop had been on the porch at the time taking it all in and then in an instant he bolted through the invisible fence and took off
into the deep woods. We diligently went to work by walking in the woods, contacting all of our neighbors, driving around hourly in town and the surrounding towns and neighborhoods, and canvassing the area with lost dog posters. Not to mention all the calls made to local vets, dog pounds, and town halls. After 29 hours, there was still no sight of him. I couldn’t eat, or sleep due to the knot in my stomach over thinking he could have frozen to death, or been eaten by the coyotes that roam our woods from time to time. This outburst of emotion came from someone who has never been a pet-owner, other than a talkative cockatiel, to a relationship I never could have imagined having with a dog. It is truly unexplainable unless you actually experience it for yourself. And I asked myself, “How could I have been led to Cooper for seven wonderful months, and now it’s time to say good-bye?” I wasn’t ready, nor was I giving up just yet. I continued to search by driving the back roads and added recent photos of him to websites for missing pets. We did receive numerous calls from concerned neighbors and local dog wardens, but it wasn’t until the 30th hour that we received the call. The woman, our neighbor, so confidently said, “We have Cooper. He’s in my yard.” There was always uncertainty of course, but we knew we had to have hope. My husband and I rushed to the adjoining neighborhood two miles away. To our relief it was Cooper. He came running toward us so full of life and energy running circles around us both. He did not have a scratch on him. And our joy was reciprocated. Words could not express how I felt knowing that I was given another opportunity for my relationship with Cooper to hopefully continue on for many years before it’s time for us to say good bye to one another. We will never know where Coop spent the night; maybe in a barn, someone’s garage, or even outside, but we do realize how very fortunate we were to have found him and thankful for honest neighbors. The experience, more like an ordeal, has taught me so much—from learning that dogs can survive for days in the cold to allowing myself to depend on others in times of need. I guess in this case, as the saying goes, all’s well that ends well.