When I returned home and found River roaming freely in the house, I immediately panicked. I checked everything to make sure she didn’t get into anything or eat anything she shouldn’t have. Thankfully, it looked like all she did was sleep.
I let her and Bear out for a short run in the backyard while I prepared their dinners. River has been working on learning not to jump at the door to come back in. I’ve been teaching her to sit instead to indicate she wants to come in. It has been working great and I had started to leave her out unsupervised to see how well she has learned her lesson. Still needs work, but gets better every day.
Our evening progressed as usual. Towards bedtime, around 10 pm, I let the dogs out one last time. I left them unsupervised for only a minute or two before opening the door and calling for them. Bear came running, eager for bed. Then all I heard was silence.
“No,” I said to myself, scared to accept the reality of the situation.
I scrambled for my coat, shoes and a flashlight.
I whistled as soon as I got outside, not wanting to shout River’s name, since it was pretty late. I scanned the flashlight across the yard to confirm my suspicion.
She was gone.
“No, no, no, no, no” I said to myself. Fear gripped me. If it was the day, I had a chance – but finding a dog at night? Forget it.
I went back inside and headed for the front yard. Maybe, just maybe, she was just out front.
I scanned the flashlight over the yard – nothing.
“This can’t be happening,” I thought.
I heard barking in the distance. Well, where there is barking, there are dogs. I decided to head in the direction of the barking. Whistling for River to return.
I walked to the end of the driveway and made my way to the corner.
I saw something flicker. I shined the light on River running right to me.
“Oh thank God,” I exclaimed, as she ran right past me at full speed into the yard.
I followed, keeping my distance. I didn’t want her to think this was a game. I watched as she sniffed the ground. I knelt down and whistled. She looked at me, then continued sniffing.
I sat down.
She came over to say hi.
I grabbed her collar, grateful it was that easy.
When I got her back inside, I collapsed. She could easily have just kept running, but she came back. This time.
Total freedom time: approximately 10 minutes.