“I shouldn’t be alive”

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000149 EndHTML:0000003642 StartFragment:0000000199 EndFragment:0000003608 StartSelection:0000000199 EndSelection:0000003608 These are Martin’s words after returning from a recent dog retrieval down by the river.

It’s an overly dramatic statement, in my opinion. Then again, I wasn’t out at night, clawing my way through waist-deep snow drifts.

On the other hand, I would have at least worn gloves and snowpants.

One might think that the number of blog entries are representative of Maisie’s escape rate. But they are a poor measure. The fact is, the dog runs away all the time.

All. The. Time.

It’s like having a third kid. Worse, actually. At least the kids stay put when we tell them to.

Since Maisie’s last disappearance, we haven’t purchased a GPS dog tracking system, since they are super-expensive, and product reviews question their effectiveness. And the ground is too snow-covered and frozen to sink an underground fence.

So Martin and I either tie her up or keep an eye on her — methods that fail daily because that dog is like a ghost. One minute she’s next to you, snapping her teeth at a horse’s heels or snuffling up cat food. And a breath later, she’s long gone, out of sight and ear-shot.

But for nearly 10 days Maisie’s been grounded, thanks to the barrier of snow blocking her escape. Even she can’t run 28 mph through 3 feet of snow. Instead, she sprints up the plowed drive and runs home again. And we’ve a bit

But Monday I made a horrific discovery: the dog was ghost mode again. Thawing and freezing created a nice crusty top layer on the snow, sufficient enough to hold a 29-pound dog, even at top speed. Unfortunately, anyone heavier still plunged right through knee-, hip- and waist-deep snow. It was a laborious trek just to the back field on foot and undriveable by gator.

Martin said that any effort at Maisie retreival was not only impossible, but “sheer lunancy.” She’d come home when she was hungry.

But by nightfall, he realized that forging through snow drifts would be less painful than listening to me worry. “I won’t be able to sleep if that dog’s out all night,” I warned him. So Martin sighed and clomped out.

After 40 minutes he called.
“I’m barely past the back field. It’s impossible to walk in this snow.”
“So you haven’t found her yet?”
“No, I want you to understand that I can barely move!”
“But you’re not coming home without her, are you?”
pause
“No.” click

Martin called again to say that he found her, he was snow-soaked and exhausated, and he was going to kill the dog. “I was nearly buried alive. I could have been trapped and you would have been able to get me out.”

“I would have called 911,” I told him. “After you got the dog.”

A half-hour later, a surly husband returned led by a cheerful dog — gleeful that once again, the big guy had found her.

I’d like to say that we’ll keep a better eye on her or that she won’t bolt again. But I know it’s only a matter of time.

I just hope it’s after the snow melts.