The Force is strong with this one.
Tess is our wild child dog. At 16 months and about 130lbs, she is big, beautiful, and very agile. She leaps up onto our trampoline, zooms across and soars off it like a canine superhero. In the instances she has gotten out of a door/gate left open by one of the kids, she shows off her incredible speed and grace. She is a gazelle. A sometimes goofy gazelle, but a gazelle none-the-less.
We go to great lengths to contain her because of this. 6ft fence all the way around, except one small space that is about four and a half feet tall. She has never attempted to jump it, because of it’s chain link pokiness at the top, but that all changed on Monday. I can only imagine she’d had enough of the squirrel taunting her high atop the sound wall. She pushed through the fencing, beagle Arlo followed suit and they were off.
We got a call from a neighbor who said the dogs were out. I went out to find them, and ran towards the main road. My neighbor called out, “They went the other way!” This is not normally their M.O., so I turned course and headed up the hill. It’s pretty much a dead end, but I was still rushing to get up there. The neighborhood has gone through many changes in the 5 years we have been here. A new gated community at the end of our once dead end street, and a new state fence and sound barrier wall directly behind our house. There was a way through the fence at the top of the hill at one point, which opens up to a ravine that leads to a 4 lane major highway. I raced up the hill, and spotted Tess. SHE WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE- in between the fence and the sound wall (which eventually ends and leads to the highway!). She headed in exactly the wrong direction. I started shouting her name and running after her. She was having a great time. Me, not so much.
I start following the fence line, through tall grass and stickery weeds. I was hoping it opened up at the end, but it dead-ended. I guess the state had finally fixed it. So now I had to go ALL the way back out to the main road, to get in between the chain link fence and the sound wall, and walk ALL the way back up.
This little untraveled trail is for expert hikers only. It starts off with a patch of high grass and weeds that looks like a place snakes would love to call home. I powered through it. It flattens out for a bit, but then starts the incline, and then start drainage rocks. So I’m tiptoeing up these shaky rocks, which span the back of two properties, and now VERY uphill. I made it through and powered to the top through more horrible weeds. Huffing and puffing and worried sick, I made it to the end of the sound wall. (Click pics for larger image.)
The view was pretty incredible. I scanned the area for a the yellow streak of blur that is Tess running. The ravine was dicey. I started cliff surfing downward when I spotted Arlo, our beagle. He ran to me. He was whimpering and crying. He wasn’t hurt, but he sure seemed like he was trying to tell me something that was NOT GOOD. I made it down to the retaining wall which had a 4ft chain link fence on top. (You can see this if you click one of the pictures below.) It’s about 26ft up, overlooking the highway. So I’m walking along that, because the ground was so unstable with rocks and whatnot. Of course, the fence is not exactly finished, as people aren’t supposed to be near it. It caught my pants and shirt several times, leaving a gaping hole on the side of my sweat pants.
At this point I’m on pure adrenaline. I’m calling for Tess, but no one, can hear my screams, including myself, with the traffic whizzing by. It was LOUD. I couldn’t bring myself to go all the way over to the highway opening. Based on Arlo’s initial greeting, I knew she had jumped onto the road. 1) I was afraid of what I might find, and 2) I still had Arlo with me, and it looked dicey at best. It was very overgrown and you couldn’t see the ground. Plus I just wanted to just get Arlo (and me!) home safe at the very least. I already half expected the police to stop to see what this crazy woman was doing on the side of the highway! I held Tess’ leash in the air to indicate I was on a dog mission.
I turned around to see what I had to climb to get back out of there with Arlo. Basically a 110 degree angle of pretty rough terrain. Luckily I grew up scaling such a hill in my back yard, so I took a deep breath and got going. Arlo followed closely. I was praying like crazy. For Tess, and for Arlo and me!
We reached the top and started the downward trek towards the rocks. It reminded me of “Going on a Bear Hunt” on the way back. “Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, gotta go through it…” back up the ravine, back down the hill, back through the weeds, back through the rocks and finally the tall snake grass. We backtracked on the road toward the house. The kids were all crying and hugging Arlo, “but where is Tess??” My neighbor had been sitting with them all this time and said, “You want to go look for her in your car?” I did.
So I got in the truck and started off through the neighborhood. I stopped where some roofers where working to see if they spotted her from their vantage point. In the process, I BACKED INTO ONE OF THEIR CARS. Well I lost it. Crying and apologizing, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I’m looking for my dog. I think she might have made it to the highway, I’m freaking out.” The man was SO NICE. We looked at the car, he said, “It’s just a tail light.” I gave him my information and he wished me luck.
- I met a sweet couple on the street who hadn’t seen her (but she actual called me days later to see if a dog she saw online was mine! So nice! Thanks, Tina!).
- I stopped a police officer who took down my info. Another police officer came by our house to see if we found her.
It was all hands on deck!
I finally got on the highway and went up a couple of exits to come down to see if what I feared happened was true. I mentally prepared for the worst. I saw the area she could have jumped down from, but there was nothing there, no sign of her. Thank goodness! I was so relieved, but still scared because she was still out there. What if she just kept running down the highway? I decided to go home. There was nothing more I could do. She could be anywhere by now.
I got home, sat down on the front stoop and pulled out my phone. I meant to post something quickly on our local lost and found pets Facebook page, but since I had already been in an accident, I just waited until I got home.
I went to the page, and low and behold… THERE SHE WAS. Posted just 4 minutes before. But here’s where it takes the official WEIRDO turn of events that many of the happenings in my life take. I looked at the name of the original poster. I looked again. And again. It was Nicole, who my husband has worked with in some capacity for the last 8 years or so. Nicole, out of all the people in the world just driving past our exit to get home is the person who spotted and rescued our dog off a major highway and took her to Dunkin Donuts down the street from us. She had no idea she was ours, just helped a pup in need. AMAZING. My mind is still spinning from the entire event.
I called my husband who was on the way home. “Call Nicole. You aren’t going to believe this, but she found Tess on 695.” Nicole sent us this picture after the rescue. I laughed and cried all at once.
I messaged her immediately. She met a kind woman at Dunkin Donuts who offered to let Tess stay in her nearby yard. My husband picked her up and Tess is home, safe and sound.
I went upstairs, took a long, hot shower, and finished off the night with a strong Moscow Mule.
Just another manic Monday.