“I shouldn’t be alive”

These are Martin’s words after a recent dog retrieval mission.

A little dramatic in my opinion. Then again, I wasn’t clawing my way through waist-deep snow drifts in the dark. (But if I had been, I would have worn gloves and snowpants….)

Judging from blog entries, it appears as though Maisie rarely embarks on a great adventure. But in fact, that dog runs away all the time.

All. The. Time.

Minding Maisie is like having a third kid. Worse, actually. At least the kids stay put when we tell them to.

Despite her frequent disappearing acts, we haven’t purchased a GPS dog tracking system. They’re super expensive and effectiveness is questionable. And an underground fence is out of the question until springtime.

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

Recently however, Maisie’s been grounded — thanks to the snow barrier blocking her escape. Even she can’t run long distance through 3 feet of snow, so instead she sprints up the plowed drive and runs home again. It’s been a relief.

But Monday I made a horrific discovery: the dog was in ghost mode again. Thawing and freezing created a nice crusty top layer, substantial enough to hold a 29-pound dog. Whereas we still plunged into knee- or hip-high snow.

Martin announced that Maisie retrieval down by the river was not only impossible, but “sheer lunacy.” The gator was undriveable and we’d never make it on foot. Maisie would eventually come home when she was hungry.

But you can never underestimate the power of worrying. By nightfall Martin realized that forging through snow drifts was less daunting than my constant fretting. At 7 he clomped out into the darkness.

Thirty minutes later he phoned in a report: “I’m barely past the back field. This is impossible.”

“So you haven’t found her yet?”

“No, I want you to understand that I can barely move!”

“Is that your way of saying that you’re giving up? You’re not coming home without her, are you?”

pause

“No.”

Fifteen minutes later Martin reported that he found the dog…and now he was going to kill her. “I was nearly buried alive,” he announced. “I could have been trapped and you wouldn’t have been able to get me out.”

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

Eventually one surly husband appeared with a cheerful Border Collie — gleeful that once again, the big guy had found her. Another successful jaunt.

I’d like to say that we won’t let Maisie escape or that she won’t bolt again. But it’s only a matter of time.

I just hope it’s after the snow melts.