Well, it has been over 4 years since I met Lady Dahlia and started fostering her. Many have read her stories, and why I ended up adopting her.
Short recap: Dahlia slipped out of her collar on a walk, and was missing for 3-1/2 hours, only for me to find her waiting outside my apartment to be let back in! I realized this sweet senior dog would spend her life looking for me, and I could not let her go.
Four years later, she is still a blessing in my life, enjoying the benefits of living out west.
It is not uncommon here for dogs to be off leash. I live in a dog-friendly town and a very dog-friendly community, which has its pros and cons (which I will save for another blog). So today was no different than many other days, Flipflop and Dahlia were off leash walking with me.
We were taking our usual route. Less than 5 minutes down the road from where I live is an abandoned dirt road, only used now and then by construction trucks. The north side of the road is a large open field, on the south side are more mountains and lots of great hiking trails. Some days, we take the trails but most days, when Dahlia is with us, we stick to the road.
Today I decided to mix it up slightly and we went to the field. Flipflop ran and played while Dahlia decided to lay down and rest. Not uncommon for her, so I continued to keep an eye on Flipflop. He started making his way quickly across the field, which leads to the Trans Canada Highway, so I called him back. He came and then proceeded to run again, I called him back and leashed him. Since he was listening to me, I decided I would still let him go see what he was interested in, leashed, so I could make sure he was safe.
Not so surprisingly, he wanted to go to some deceased animal bones and some form of wildlife feces. I turned him back and unleashed him to go back to his sister. When we returned to the long grassy area where I left Dahlia waiting, she was nowhere to be found.
Flipflop did not seem to know where she was either.
I quickly got out my phone and called my neighbour, whose two-year-old Doodle named Oreo can make Dahlia jump through hoops at the sight of him. While explaining to Dawn that I needed her to bring Oreo out as Dahlia was somewhere in this field, I could not see her and sadly, as she is deaf, she can no longer hear me calling out to her.
Just as Dawn said she would be right out, I saw this lone dog, walking a kilometre down the road! She was doing our long morning walk on her own, looking for Flipflop and I! She had gotten confused when I left her in the field, and she thought we were on the road so went searching for us! My heart broke, my poor sweet girl. I screwed up and left her alone and she wanted us near her.
I quickly told Flipflop to go get his sister, a command he has come to know and usually goes to her. But today he decided it was more fun to run beside me as I made my way up the hill, struggling with the limits of my cardio! I kept calling Dahlia’s name, knowing she could not hear me, but hoping for a miracle. I knew she was safe, but I was worried a truck would come unexpectedly and she would not hear it. The construction workers are great, they are always going slow and watching for dogs, but Dahlia always needs me to guide her off the road when a truck is coming.
In what was likely five minutes, but felt like two hours, we caught up with Dahlia, as soon as Flipflop ran to her, she turned around and saw me. Just like the first time she went missing, as soon as she saw me, she came running to me. I gave her lots of treats and an apology for her thinking I would ever leave her and not come back!
This was not the first time I have left Dahlia to rest for a few minutes while I took Flipflop on a short adventure, but it will 100%, definitely be the last!