I’m continuing to only post happy events this week. So, I thought I would tell you a personal happy ending story — which was sure to be a tragedy — about my dog, Dex.
But first …
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DEXTER, THE ESCAPE ARTIST
I have an Australian Kelpie. His name is Dexter because when I was in Australia, I worked with a guy named Dexter. Every time the other crew members would call his name, it sounded like “Deec-Sta”. I loved that! And, when they called him his nickname, Dex, is sounded like, “De-eeks”. Since I had such a great time in Australia, when I found myself adopting an Australian Kelpie from the shelter, the name just had to be Dexter.
Having had Dex for 11 years now, I can honestly say that he is a true Australian Kelpie. Not only does he look just like a Kelpie (dingoish), but he has the Australian outpost jailbird scalawag darling mentality to boot. He is Crocodile Dundee in fur. There is no wall too high, mountain too far or ocean too deep for this dog to attempt an outing. Well, the water part is not quite true. He does hate water. But, you get my drift… This dog can climb a 6′ chain link fence. He can be gone for days and come back as if nothing is out of the ordinary with that, “What are you looking at?” face when he finally does reappear.
Come to think of it, I should create a “Dexter’s Island” with a very deep moat surrounding it. That would probably be the only thing to keep him in. However, my luck, he’d be like the Professor and build a raft from the surrounding foliage. Dexter has an IQ larger than most humans and he uses it. The best part is, you don’t know what he is masterminding until it is too late. For example. Dex will sit for many hours on top of his favorite pillow by the dog waterer. He owns the water and lords over all animal-kind from his perch on the porch.
Le de dah. Hours and days pass where Dex just sits there, lapping water, humming and snapping at flies. Then one day out of the blue, he’s gone. There’s a note and an acetylene torch path cut through the iron gate. “Be back lay-ta (say that with an Aussie accent)”. He’s gone.
Now, I know this about Dex. We’ve tried everything from duct tape to the Invisible Fence. The only way to always keep him in is to put him in a large kennel with a roof. The last time I did that, he went on a hunger strike and did not give it up. He wouldn’t eat or drink. The most successful containment device now is a cable between two trees. He likes that. So, at the moment, until he becomes so arthritic that he cannot do his fantastical feats, Dexter has told me that he prefers to be on his cable run near the water trough on his favorite pillow unless he barks once. If he barks once, he wants to be let inside to sit on his favorite pillow by the window. Oh, and he demands to be with me when I am feeding the horses. For some reason, this time is exempt from any escape attempts but I don’t know why… During these two periods in the day, Dexter stays put. He wanders around the property but always ends up at the barn for his meal. Whatever. So be it. He wins. As long as he stays around here, he can have it his way.
HIS MULTIPLE COLLARS
So, Dexter wears a black collar with a strong ring for his cable line. Then, he wears a bright orange collar with his phone number stitched on. I guess it isn’t really his phone number, but if you call that number, he gets a ride.
IN HIS MIND, HE IS NEVER LOST…
I find this idea hysterical. I mean, what does the dog think? He wanders off the property and when he’s tired, he walks up to a human or a glass door of some type and waits for the human or the humans behind the glass door to see his orange collar and make the call. Then, Dex just sits there with the bowl of fresh water the humans always give him and he waits. He waits for me to show up. What does he think is happening?
Does he think that I have ESP and just know where he is when he is ready to be picked up? Does he think all humans know each other? As far as he is concerned, he is never lost because I always show up. No matter where he has gone and no matter what time of day or night, if he walks up to a human, a few hours later, Mom shows up. Simple. Easy. Wow.
THAT FATEFUL DAY
But one Thanksgiving Day, amid all the confusion, Dex was let out. All my High Security Defcon 11, airlock , double door hydraulic and monitoring systems had failed. He was out without supervision… and so he left. Of course.
But, this time he didn’t have his phone number. Uh Oh. I took off his bright orange embroidered collar to wash it for his holiday appearance. So, Dex left the house with only his black collar. He was, essentially, naked. And, no matter how many humans he greeted, none of them would help him. On this day, all of the systems had failed.
I WAS PANICKED
I was so upset I couldn’t think. I adore Dex even though he frustrates me to no end… I was so upset that he had been let out during a time other than our agreed upon exempt times. I was upset at the bad luck I had by removing his collar just that morning to wash it. Oy. I was devastated that I would never see my boy again. I was crushed thinking that Dex would go up to some human and expect me to show up soon — to no avail. I was terrified someone would just keep him…
AFTER ONE NIGHT
After one night of no sleep, I gave up on my bed and went into the office to create a flyer. I made a zillion of these things and I was ready with my staple gun to fire them into every neighboring post. By sunrise, I had them in a stack. First, I waited to call and notify all the local shelters. After that, I left to canvas the neighborhood.
THE FIRST POLE
The first pole I hit was the closest one which is by the newspaper boxes. Everyone puts notes there. I had mine in a plastic sleeve so it wouldn’t get damaged too easily. Holding my breath and saying a prayer, I wielded my staple gun into action and BLAMMO! It was up.
There. I had done something proactive.
As I started to turn around, I heard a car approach. It stopped abruptly behind me. The driver got out with a stack of flyers. He said he was driving to work but had wanted to put his flyer up early. “I found this dog…”
“WHAT DID YOU SAY? YOU FOUND A DOG? WHAT KIND OF DOG?”, I blurted frantically.
“I don’t know. He’s black and white and looks like a mutt.”
“DOES HE LOOK LIKE THIS,” I said, holding up my flyer…
In one move, he held up his flyer… It did look like him. Exactly.
And, sitting in the back of Flyerman’s car was my dog, looking at me through the side window, wagging his tail. Dex looked at the guy who had been his chauffeur and shot him a grin as if to say, “See, I told you she would show up; she always does…”
And, Dex was right. I do always show up… “No worries, mate, no worries.”
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The August Bucket Fund will benefit the charity BHFER. To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate $5, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)