So finally, after four days I can sit down at my computer and answer emails, tell my story, and dare I say…relax!
Let’s start at the moment where I was belting out Christmas carols while driving home. My family and I decided to celebrate on Christmas Eve due to ice and snow expected on Christmas day. Snow I don’t mind so much. Ice…not really a fan, especially in my little car. As a result, we stuffed ourselves silly Friday evening, chatted and caught up on things, and then I headed home around 12:15 – 12:30am, plus or minus.
I was singing and “car dancing” when I pulled up to my house. In a split second I managed to see something large and light colored at the end of my property, standing at the edge of the road. “Was that a dog?” I asked out loud. I stopped the car for about 2 seconds before I decided to back out of the drive and shine my car lights at the object in question. It was indeed a dog. In fact, it was Victoria.
In a panic I sped down to her and called her name. Had she dug out? I’d have to search for the hole first thing. Getting up to her my heart started to slow down a bit since I knew I had her. She smiled at me and sauntered on over, obviously enjoying herself. “Come here, sweetie!” I said cheerily. “Let’s go home!” Then not so cheerily I mumbled “%&$@!!” as I realized my little Scion was full of dog food, dog items and anything else dog up to the ceiling, and I literally had no corner to shove her in to get back to the driveway. I’d loaded up the day before but hadn’t had time to unload it…didn’t think much of it. Dumb move. Thankfully she was just at the edge of the yard (albeit a very large front yard). The only thing I could do was drive slowly…meaning first gear…on the wrong side of the road and in the wrong direction as she moseyed on down into the yard. This probably took 3-5 minutes. As I poked down the road, Victoria beside me humming a lazy tune and soaking up the cool air, I looked through the trees on the side of the house and thought “Is that gate open?? Wait…oh, no it’s not. Good!”
As I pulled the car into the drive to park, I looked up and noticed there were no dogs barking at me. My heart started racing and my breathing felt as if it stopped cold turkey…I knew something was terribly wrong. I ran to the other side of the yard only to find that I was both accurate and mistaken…the gate was, indeed, wide open. All I could say was “No..oh God, NO!” I grabbed Victoria, opened the front door and shoved her through several Pyrenees to get her inside. Instantly, all of the other dogs began yelling at the top of their lungs, adding to my anxiety. I quickly grabbed some flashlights while talking to myself and trying to remain calm, also making sure I had all that I needed. Swimming back through the sea of dogs to the front door, I went back outside, slammed the door behind me, somehow accurately inserted the key to lock it, ran into the front yard and began yelling out names randomly.
“BURTON!!! PRESTON!!! KALA!!! KEELY!!” I was desperately trying to remember the names of the dogs who remained outside when I left. “AMELIA!!!” Suddenly, Kala came dashing out of the woods and ran straight up to the door, guilty look on her face and cowering down a little bit…she knew she’d been naughty. SHOVE! She was inside. I dialed my mother, frantic and on the verge of tears, still yelling names as the phone rang. When she answered I just began screaming “The dogs got out!!! They’re gone!!! I’ve only got two and I don’t know how many others…who they are… I’ve got to find them!!!” Or something along those lines…those were the thoughts going through my head, but my mother is the only one who could probably remember the exact verbiage. Without hesitation she said “I’m throwing on some clothes and heading that way – I’m coming! I’ll get there as fast as I can!”
“Please hurry, Mom!! Please!! I don’t know how to find them!! Oh my God – what am I going to do??!!!”
Two dogs down and how many to go???? I frantically tried to remember names as I yelled more and ran to the car. Then I remembered my car was full. I ran to the van thinking it’d be loud because of the muffler needing repair, but I didn’t care. It wouldn’t start. It’d been sitting for some time and the battery needed to be recharged. “$&*(@#!!!” I ran back to my car, trying to think clearly, knowing time was valuable. I decided that I had no choice. I opened the back door and began pulling things out and throwing them on the ground. I couldn’t move fast enough…I pushed myself and tried to go faster…faster…50lb bags of dog food, dog bed, a bag of donated items, a bowl, more food…I couldn’t do it quickly enough. Finally, however, they were all on the ground, car empty. I jumped in, started the car, backed up, ran over a bag of food, and peeled out.
I started down the road in the direction that both Victoria and Kala came from, praying it was the right way to go. There was so much land to cover out here…woods upon woods, and where there wasn’t woods it was acres of farm land. I just started driving. It was just after 1am, and I was screaming dog names at the top of my lungs. I drove slowly, trying to pay close attention yet remain moving. I knew how fast these guys could cover land and how determined they were to do so being Pyrenees. I had the flashlight in my hand, the windows down, and the heat blasting. I was shaking, I felt like my lungs were caving in on me, and I was nauseous.
I’d yell then pray. Yell then pray. What roads did I need to take? Was I heading in the right direction? Would they even come to me if they heard their names? It was all incredibly overwhelming and I felt so tiny in such an enormous world. It was almost impossible not to feel hopeless, but I kept driving and praying.
Eventually I turned down a well traveled road with a huge farm on one side and 2 very loud German Shepherds on the other. I thought perhaps with the animals they might head in that direction. I continued to call their names. About a fourth of a mile down the road I stopped, trying to think of where to go, asking the Lord to guide me. I got out of the car and started yelling, shining the flashlight all around. I turned to look back down the road and saw two big hairy beasts heading toward me…my heart soared!! My Burton and Preston were coming toward me!! I began talking to them and grabbed them both. I quickly hugged them and scruffed their necks as to not lose them. We walked a few feet back to the car and both boys thankfully jumped right in. This was about two miles from my house, and their heavy breathing indicated that they’d been going full speed. This was very fortunate, as Burton was the one I most worried about coming to me…I think Preston was the lucky rabbit’s foot on that one.
Four dogs found. After carefully calculating, I now had to find Hampton, Brigadier, Amelia, Sawyer and Keely. I turned the car back around, thinking they might be behind these two leaders, and began yelling names yet again, praying constantly.
I drove up and down that road pleading that the others wouldn’t be too far away. Mom called and was getting close, looking for dogs en route. When she reached me we drove for about another 15 minutes, back and forth, up one way and down the next, calling names (and praying). We finally met up at the stop sign and started making a plan. I decided to head back down to the house, drop these two off, check and make sure no others had shown up, then return to the roads. There was an odd white car w/tinted windows watching us … it had circled back and parked, obviously watching us. Not sure if it was an undercover cop, someone who lived close by or what, but I drove and Mom felt the need to drive behind me.
I called her and mentioned the car – she, too, wondered what it was doing, as it was now behind her. I then looked over to my right and saw a dog…a big, white fluffy one. I slammed on the brakes, pulled over and began to jump out of the car. “THERE’S A DOG!!! I THINK IT’S BRIGADIER!! BRIGADIER!! BRIGS!! COME HERE, SWEETIE!” Apparently I dropped the phone or set it down without realizing it, as I heard faintly Mom’s voice on the phone yelling “WHERE?!??!!” I simply yelled back “RIGHT THERE!!”
“Who is it??” She asked. “I think it’s Brigs! No wait…Hampton!?? Brigs?!?! Brigadier? Hamp…Brigadier?!?!” It was dark. They’re both white. They’re both big. They both have fluff. It wasn’t easy to distinguish. However, I realized it was indeed my Brigadier…my scared, terrified of the world dog who’d been too afraid to leave the yard until that night, Brigadier. I ran toward him, calling his name. He only responded with hesitation and fear, running away from me. ??? This was my “mama’s boy” who ran to me for every little sound and if someone said “Hi!” to him. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, but assumed he thought I was upset with him.
Mom was out of the car at this point, and we began to corral him. We were afraid we were going to lose him…he was jerking back and forth in all directions, very afraid. Fortunately, I managed to make my way up to him and saw him relax. I grabbed him and hugged him as tight as I could, talking to him in an effort to help him feel better. I then managed to get him back to the car. But, oh dear…I had to get him in without the other two getting out. I certainly didn’t want any drama with this procedure. So, Mom held Brigadier and I held back the two, hundred plus pound Pyrs that, of course, started to bolt out of the car. Brigs jumped right in, slid and missed getting his back end in, we picked it up and boosted him in, and then quickly slammed the door. Five dogs down.
I drove up to the house to see Keely on the side, investigating things. I zoomed into the yard and cheerily called her name. She bolted. Thankfully, however, she ran into the back yard. Mind you, I had closed the gate when I initially found it open, so apparently she jumped on it, re-opened it and wanted to go back into the yard…right after she sniffed around the front of the house, I suppose. Regardless, I closed the gate yet again (not easily, unfortunately, taking up even more valuable time), and went to get her so I could put her inside. She refused to come to me. She was tucking her tail under, looking at me as if I were a stranger and terrified. I have no idea why, but it took me at least five more minutes to get her inside. I had to leave the door open so she’d run in…when she did I ran in behind her and gave her a huge hug, as well. I wanted them to know I wasn’t angry, just glad to have them safe. She must have understood because she instantly relaxed and wagged her tail, giving me a “nose butt” (kiss with her nose).
Once she and the three boys were back inside, I jumped in the car for yet another drive. After a decent amount of time, I got a phone call from Mom saying she had Amelia. She’d gone back by the house to see if anyone had returned and found Amelia trying to break into a bag of dog food. I started to tell her to put her in the house when I realized that I had the extra set of keys in my pocket. I’d grabbed them and planned on giving them to Mother in case she found a dog and needed to put it in the house. However, as grand as the idea may be, it doesn’t work to well when they are on my hip. So, she just threw Amelia into the car and the two lovely ladies cruised the area looking for more Pyrenees.
Now we were down to finding Sawyer and Hampton. We met back at the house and put Ameila inside, took a quick bathroom break and regrouped. Mom headed back out and I looked for some batteries for another flashlight. When I went back out to the car, I stopped to just look for a few moments and call their names. I felt the need to take a couple of seconds, for some reason, so I stood there in the night air and studied the woods. It was then that Hampton came around the corner of my house, trotting along as if he was having a grand evening.
“HAMPTON!!” I yelled joyfully. “What are you doing, you silly boy?!”
“HEY, MOM!!!! Great to see you! I’ve had the BEST time tonight! It was awesome!”
Glad one of us did, bud.
He trotted up with a huge, goofy grin in place, drool hanging appropriately. I grabbed his fluffy neck and hugged him, relieved he was there. I looked up over his fur to see if Sawyer was behind him. No luck. So I put Hampton in my car and called Mom.
I felt certain Sawyer would be back in the woods since that’s the direction Hampton, Keely, Kala, and most likely Amelia came from. They were best buddies, so I felt good about looking there. Mom came back, I grabbed Hampton from the car to join us, we took our flashlights and began walking through the woods. It was now 4:30 or 5:00am Christmas morning.
About 6:30am Mom headed back home. We’d been looking for over 6 hours and she was getting really tired. I decided to keep on looking. Shortly after, a friend of mine called telling me she and her husband were on their way to help. They packed up their Labrador and headed about an hour my way, getting here around 7:45am. We continued to look on side roads, the woods, and in every nook and cranny. No luck.
They headed back home, and I made “Lost” signs. He was nowhere to be found, so it was the best option I had at that point. I printed them, went outside and rigged the fence so the door couldn’t be opened again, left a few barkers outside in case he might hear them and return, and headed out to put up the fliers.
I eventually was so tired I had to some back home…my eyes were literally closing on me. I’d been up over 24hrs and it was beginning to take it’s toll. I fell asleep around 4pm (Saturday) and woke up at midnight. After my doggy duties I fell instantly back asleep and woke up the next morning planning to return to the streets. When I looked outdoors I saw the snow. Discouraged and upset, I made the vow that even if I had to go on foot, I would.
While waiting for the roads to melt a bit I received an email about someone that could help – an animal communicator named Charles Peden. The individual had good results with him, as had people she knew, so I went with it. I had to find Sawyer and there was just too much land and too much forest to cover.
I won’t go into all of the details, but I will say he located things that I didn’t even know where around here. He also pinpointed things that were frighteningly accurate without any information about the topic from me. He even described my mother correctly…and he lives in California. Apparently she’s one of Sawyers favorite people (he does adore her!). 🙂 After two phone conversations and still no Sawyer, he told me to focus on one area…“Walker Road.” Mom and I looked hard and long through the night (Sunday) in that area, and Monday my friend and I put up signs all over the same spots, handed out cards and fliers to people and scrutinized it closely. Afterward, we came back and worked on the gates. Another brief conversation with Charles told me that Sawyer was safe. I continued to drive around, my friends drove for a little while before heading back home, and we put up additional fliers.
I had to get medications and another e-collar for Lancelot, so about 4pm I decided to head that way but make a stop by the dump and let them know about Sawyer in case they saw him. I was leaving the site when I got a phone call.
“Are you the woman with the reward for your dog??”
“Yes, I am….”
“Well, we have him. We’re sitting in what we believe is your driveway.” (I guess it’s pretty obvious what neighbor would have the Pyrenees if you lived in the area).
“I’m just up at the dump – I’ll be there in three seconds!!!!”
I was ECSTATIC!!!! My heart raced again, only this time for pure joy. I zipped into my driveway where I saw a red truck and a gentleman waving at me. I jumped out of the car to hear him ask, “Is this the dog you’re looking for? I think it is.”
I walked around the truck, looked into the window and sure enough I saw a big, white head with a perfect mask looking back at me. My heart danced! We got him out, he danced and wiggled while I put a leash around his neck, and the man said “I saw him walking down the road with two boys holding fishing poles. I knew he was the one you told me about earlier when you were handing out stuff.”
Note: While Sawyer was found on another side road, this family lived just off Walker Road.
What do you think about that?
Had I not been encouraged to post fliers and talk to people in that area, I wouldn’t have focused on it. It was too far off of the beaten path. Yet I did because of what Charles told me and how he encouraged that the Walker Road area was significant. I personally talked to the gentleman who found him and handed him the flier in case he saw him…which, of course, he did.
After writing them a hefty reward check, I took Sawyer inside. He was a little anxious and I suppose stressed, but at the same time he seemed glad to be back…or maybe relieved, I don’t know. He ate a big bowl of dog food and rested. After, he had a good potty break and was ready to relax, I let him curl up in his favorite kennel/crate and I hit Home Depot for more materials to secure the gates. I was in SUCH a good mood! I’d done nothing but worry, cry and feel horrible for the entire weekend, and in an instant all of that was lifted and vanished. Thank you, Lord!
I’ve hugged and hugged and hugged some more. I’ve told him repeatedly how grateful I am that he’s back home and safe, as well as how much I love him. I just can’t seem to do any of those things enough. He ate a second dinner and has been inside with me and some of the gang, sleeping pretty hard. He did give me several kisses and some hugs, too, which felt good…I’d worried he didn’t want to come home or wasn’t happy. The hugs and smoochies felt as if he truly understood my love and in return, loved me…or at least he wasn’t upset with me. 😉
This is one of my worst nightmares…the thought of not finding any of those dogs, and then Sawyer being gone so long, is a heavy burden to carry. Everything tragic goes through your head. You think the absolute worst because it’s impossible not to. I pray that I never have to experience that again. I’m just so incredibly grateful that they are safe and Sawyer is finally home. It blows my mind that I was able to find all nine dogs. It’s definitely of the Lord’s making, and I think he included Charles’ gift in his work. He’s kind and compassionate, using his ability for the greater good and to help people in need.
We’re all cuddled in now and everyone is home. The dogs are warm with full bellies, and Sawyer finally had a good rest after three nights of being alone in the wilderness. Being a Pyr he could definitely handle the snow more than most dogs. However, it still worried me sick to think he might be cold and hungry, or worse. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling. I didn’t eat the entire weekend because I was a basket of nerves (I’m a pig. I always eat. Me not eating means something is definitely amiss.). I am so thankful that the family picked him up and brought him to me. I think the reward helped a bit. 😉
I also can’t thank enough the people who prayed for Sawyer and the other dogs, too, and for those that constantly checked on me. My friends who came to help were amazing, I had several other friends that offered to help, and Charles was wonderful, as well. Everyone was so kind and supportive…I leaned on that support and God’s grace to help keep me going. I have no doubt that the joint prayers brought the animals home to me.
Thank you, everyone! God bless you all!
All is fun in love and Pyrs. Next year, however, I’ll just take an extra glass of Egg Nog for my Christmas adventure.