We’ve learnt of how Heidi got lost when she was spooked when on a walk. For ten days, her mummy looked for her as other hoomans and pooches joined in the search.Heidi’s going missing went global and hoomans from Florida, San Diego and even in Oz-land prayed for her safety and her safe return. While the locals searched and strategised, everyone else held their breath and waited to see if Heidi could be lured into coming home. But she was too frightened. Heidi was rescued as a breeding dog and her experiences in life had not been a good one. And when news of her return was shared, over three thousand of our readers rejoiced. (Find Heidi)
Mummy went to bed that night with a happy heart and she gave me and George an extra hug – just grateful that we are altogether and safe. Whenever she imagined what Heidi might have been going through during those cold nights, scrambling around to find a place to sleep and scavenging for food – tears would well up and roll down her face. Just as we rejoiced Heidi’s return home, at the same time, we couldn’t help but think of all those who are still missing.
But you don’t have to be a rescue dog to be easily spooked. Izzy, a much-loved dog, when spooked, she bolted out of her home. Two years later, everyone is still looking. Thousands of people all over the world shared the pain of her family. Many of us have not stopped sharing her story and we are constantly in the lookout for a champagne coloured cockapoo with a pink nose. Find Izzy.
Fight or flight. Something happens to us when we are frightened and we run, and we run senselessly – no matter how much we love our hoomans. No matter how they come after us and calling our names.
This was what happened to Hebe. She slipped her lead and as she ran across a usually quiet residential street to her mummy, just then a car was coming down the road. She bounced off the car and in shock, she dashed off down the road. And she ran and she ran. It was hours later before they received a phone call from a woman who spent an hour trying to get a hold of her in a park that was at least a mile from where she lives. She had crossed wide lanes of London traffic. How she got to Bishops Park was a miracle.
Thankfully, I have never been spooked and pray I never will, but sometimes when I run too far away and I lose sight of Mummy, I search for her – frantically. I would dart back and forth, scanning the spaces around me, looking for that familiar figure. Panicking. When Mummy knows that I can’t hear her calling me, she blows the whistle – again and again. I would hear that whistle and know it’s Mummy trying to tell me where she is. I would listen and get a sense of the direction where she is. And when I get it wrong, she blows the whistle again and again and again till I am running towards her.
But when I finally catch sight of her, I run towards her and usually run right past her as if nothing had happened. I’m embarrassed that I “got lost” …
May’s comment: Many of us have never had such an extensive experience of losing our dogs whether it be hours, days or years, and I hope we never have to experience that agony.
Darcy and I lost each other briefly when we were on a walk in Central Park – the panic that surged through my body, the pounding heart and the frantic running back and forth, not knowing which way to run, asking passers-by if they had seen an apricot cockapoo. Thankfully someone did and pointed me in the right direction. And then I spotted her in the distance – darting back and forth looking for me. I fixed my eyes on her and started to run towards her, calling her, but my voice was shrill, my legs felt like lead and my heart was in my throat. She was near an exit of the park and if she didn’t see me, in panic, she might have decided to run out and make her way “home.” This was New York City. Just outside the green area, a road runs through the park with bikes whizzing by and cars in the early morning rush. I could see three men trying to get her to stop running but she was panicking. All I wanted to do was to let her know I was there. She didn’t know who these people were and she wasn’t going to let them catch her. Thankfully, she heard my whistle and she spotted me. The men who were trying to catch her told me they had seen her searching and wanted to get hold of her but she wouldn’t let them. That is a good thing on one hand – if someone was trying to take her away, she would resist. On the other hand, if someone was trying to help in catching her, that isn’t so good.
If it was George, he would be long taken. 🙁
Losing a dog even for those few minutes sent me into such panic that I cannot imagine how it must be when the real panic sets as dusk falls and the dreaded night comes and you haven’t found your fur baby. And in instances when it becomes days, weeks, months and years, and not knowing where your dog is I can only imagine the devastation, the emptiness, the yearning to hold them and to long for normality to resume. I will never fully know that depth of loss, the large hole they leave in our worlds. And even though you want them home, you hope that even if someone had taken them, that they are at least cared for and safe. It’s a love that hurts because they have loved us so unconditionally, and completely trusted us to take care of them. The worries, the hurts that continues to hurt till we have them in our arms. The feeling of letting them down.
And as dog owners, our hearts are pained imagining our loved ones being taken away. We think of their confusion, their fears, their helplessness in a strange place. So desperately we want them to know that we did not abandon them. We want them to know we are still thinking of them. And we want them to come home. And really, we just want to strangle whoever it was that took our fur babies away from us.For a short while, I used dog trackers. But they looked so cumbersome.
Darcy wearing her Dog Tracker Nano
After being reminded that dogs can be spooked and the flight mode kicks in, that’s when trackers can help. And I am not embarrassed to put my dogs in brightly coloured dog suits, especially for George, so I can spot them. One can’t do enough to make sure they are safe. George is wearing his bright orange Equafleece and his Pod.
I used to think just in case they are stolen, at least I get the idea in which direction they might have been taken but I now realise that if they should go missing, these trackers can come in useful.