Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pascual flees the Czech Circus- a story in progress

The Czech Circus is a term I use for events having to do with my Czech friend who is a very talented graphic design artist and a filmmaker, www.buffalogirlsproductions.com.
We call it the circus because there is always an atmosphere of creative chaos,a juggling of people, animals and situations, an element of absurdity, where one can almost hear the circus music playing in the background or one starts singing the circus music to drive home the point that things are getting out of hand.

So my husband and I were going to take an all day sailing lesson on Hayden Lake which is about 2 hours north of here. I didn't want the dogs hanging out in a hot car for 10 hours, so I arranged for my 10 year old dog to stay at my Czech friend's house in the country, and the new dog Cash was going to stay at a very nice boarding facility run by a very calm and lovely Swedish woman, where the rooms are filled with covered sofas, and there is a doggie door for the dogs to go into the fenced area which has giant water bowls and bowls filled with dog food.http://www.elisabetsdogboarding.com/and long walks in the fields with Elisabet.

So I suppose I am one of the few people who decides to have people over for dinner the night before going away for the weekend. I was running around like a mad woman, watering all the plants, landscaping, setting up my low tech greenhouse self watering system which basically entails plants in containers sitting in bowls or pools of water, packing for the people, packing for the dogs and then cooking and cleaning. My two girlfriends came over, and because one is the Czech friend she was going to cook some of the food at my house and we would make the side dishes and provide drinks. Why we didn't just go to her house is one of the many circus mysteries. We had a global buffet of sorts with Indonesian spiced pork, tortillas, rice and homemade salsa from my homegrown peppers and tomatoes. We also had wine and Planters Punch drinks a favorite in the summer. When my Czech friend left that night, she took my old dog Pascual with her and was going to keep him for a few days and then we would pick him up on our way back. We were a little sad that night with only the new dog. We've only had to keep Pascual, my Blue Heeler, away from us once, since we got him. That particular time he stayed with a neighbor who lives a half mile away. The dog is not one to chase things and never wanders off from my house but when the neighbor took him outside with his two dogs, my dog looked around and was like" I don't live here and I'm rather spoiled living in the house and not interested in sleeping in the garage with two lab mixes so I'm outta here" so my Blue Heeler, just proceeded to walk down the neighbors driveway, walk down the road a quarter mile and then down my 1/4 mile driveway with the neighbor close behind shouting"Pascual come, come back here"( I wish I could have seen that!) Luckily I had a contingency plan if things didn't work out I told the neighbor to put the dog in my camper which I had set up with screened windows open, and food and water bowls and dog blankets. So the neighbor just exercised all the dogs at my place and my dog was content to stay on our place in our camper which was familiar and comforting to him.
Now my Czech friend lives 10 miles away and my blue heeler has been there many times and was quite familiar with my friend, the Great Dane grand dog, and her property, so I thought he would be more comfortable there, than in the back of my car all day. Unfortunately you can't explain things to dogs like you can people, and perhaps he thought I was dumping him off there permanently. I called her at six in the morning just checking on him and seeing if he was adjusting well. She said he was fine in the car and didn't want to go in the house that night, but she put a leash on him and he was fine in her mudroom overnight, with the Great Dane and his dog blanket which I had brought from home.
She looked around in the morning and couldn't find him. I told her to look near the car thinking that the dog might figure that he had arrived there in the car, and perhaps could go back home if he could only get back in the car. I also told her to look near her animals as she has sheep and chickens, and maybe he would be interested in looking at them. I called back twenty minutes later, but she still couldn't find him. We were all packed for the weekend, including all the stuff for Cash the new Aussie who was going to the boarding facility. Although my friend's house is out of the way, we figured that we could loop back around and continue on our journey once we found Pascual. I told my husband to drive the shortcut as the dog has traveled that way with me and it is a mile less than the ten miles it takes going to my house via the highway. I also told my husband that the car's gas tank was basically empty but I just got a " don't worry about it " gruff comment. Mind you, in rural areas a gas station can be some 10 miles away or more if you actually need one, otherwise it is a course of humbly begging for a gallon of farm gas if one gets desperate. So off we went, nervous and panicked wondering where the old dog had gotten off to. Of course my husband took the highway, not the cutoff.

We got to my friend's house and she was frantic because she couldn't find him. The Great Dane was running huge circles around the property and my old cattle dog was nowhere to be found. I thought surely if he heard our car and our voices he would have come running if he could, which led me to believe that he was either injured in the woods and couldn't come or on his way home somehow. It's not like him to be interested enough to run off, as he likes his creature comforts of warm house and food bowl, heck he didn't venture out much when he was young let alone old. My husband decided to drive around the neighborhood in our car with no gas in it and I asked my friend if I could borrow her car. She looked at me and thought maybe I was too nervous and it would be better if she drove, for my sake and her car's sake! Now my Czech friend was raised by Artists in Prague, and she has some wacky kind of odd intuition at times. Instead of taking the cut off road she went to the road directly across the highway from her road. We stopped at houses along the way asking if anyone had seen the dog. I also checked my answering machine in case someone had found him and called the number on the i.d. tag. I also alerted the animal shelter that he was missing in case someone called in with a found stray dog. There was a weird dirt driveway paralleling the highway between the road we were on and the shortcut road. A house was being built there and there were lots of workmen and guys on 4 wheelers(all terrain vehicles) My friend's spooky intuition led her to take this dirt driveway and we came upon a bunch of guys who said that the dog was around there earlier. They asked " does he look like a dingo?" ""yep" that's him and with that, Pascual, my Blue Heeler came trotting over and I was ecstatic, as I had been relatively calm but had horrible what if scenarios running through my mind, so I let go of all the worry and grabbed him and he was so happy to see me. I realized that he had walked 3 miles from my friend's house and was on his way home, the rest of the journey being another 7 miles. Knowing men and dogs, the workmen were probably feeding him treats and pieces of their breakfast so he hung around. So we drive back to my friend's house, and luckily my husband shows up and we were reunited, but exhausted after looking for the dog for 2 hours. By that time I was in no mood to put both dogs anywhere but with me, as I couldn't stand any more worry so I just told my husband to cancel the other kennel. We pondered whether we should have put both dog"s there but the new dog was nervous and when we went the day before to check out the boarding facility, I think Cash thought we were going to dump him at yet another noisy animal rescue, as he was jittery and kept looking for me. We decided that if it was too hot and we couldn't get back to shore from the boat I would stay with the dogs and forgo the lesson. As it turned out it was a rather cool day and there were a lot of tall trees surrounding the parking lot and the guy teaching the lesson said I could come back to shore and check on the dogs from time to time, so it worked out after all. What a way to spend my birthday weekend! Thank goodness our little family was reunited. We didn't even run out of gas! The new dog Cash(the Australian Shepherd-longer haired dog), is finally settling in, there were a few trials and tribulations, like fear peeing. He jumped out of the window in the hotel parking lot, I screamed in a deep tone"noooo" he came to me and peed on my ankle right on the bare skin and ankle bracelet below my capri pants, it was such a perfect shot I just laughed, and realized I had to be careful with my reprimand tone with him. There was about a weeks worth of daily dog tussles, and Cash chewed up one of my favorite wooden knitting needles-he's a sheep dog after all,maybe he's trying to tell me I need some sheep! but the testosterone has subsided 6 weeks after his neutering and we're all getting along just fine. So getting a new dog is always filled with adjustment periods and having an old dog is never dull. Happy dog walking to all.
Thanks to my Czech friend for finding the dog, and for all the design and tech help over the years, oh yeah and for the great friendship too!