My little dog
at my feet ~Edith Wharton
Let me set the stage. I've been developing and organizing the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt all month, getting ready to launch our first Thrill of the Hunt scavenger hunt event in Shadyside. So if you can image, there's a lot of details and last minute items that need addressed. All week I was unable to take the dogs, Scooby and Seven, for their daily three mile hike. That's my normal lunch break now-a-days. Plus, keep in mind, Kyle was at his Bricks 4 Kidz Lego Camp at Saint Vincent College. My lunches were consumed with Kyle, going to pick him up, getting him lunch and taking him back for his afternoon sessions. Then, the rest of my day and evenings, I was consumed with plugging away at the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt. Busy, busy, busy week.
Then, Friday morning rolled around. Naturally, I was up early with my head in my work, trying to wrap some items up before having to drop Kyle off at his Lego Camp. I knew I had to make a trip to Shadyside and meet with the participating business owners before the work day ended, and I had to send brochures to the printers, pick them up and assemble all the Thrill of the Hunt bags for the participants before the day came to a close. Needless to say, there was a lot on my mind and I was completely pre-occupied. I'm not making excuses, just outlining the events of the day.
Roughly around 7:00 am, mom emailed me telling me to change Seven's tracker, the battery was really low. We use Tagg, which is a great service for tracking our freedom seeking dogs. Only keeping a tracker on Seven, we've found that the buddies travel together so no need to weigh Scooby down. My response to mom's email? "I don't have time and I'm not planning on taking the dogs for a walk today, I have too much to do!" Mistake number one! Then around 7:30 am, Kyle was playing with my cat, Storm, on the porch and he had the front door wide open, without putting up the baby gate. I was also going back and forth to my car loading it up with needed Thrill of the Hunt paraphernalia.
Then by 8:00 am, we both noticed we were two dogs short! Around that time, I had to hurry up and update the Piper Reunion postcard and send it to press, since that was sneaking up on us; my friend Holly wanted to run hills and was calling; and mom called to ask me to bring her a large bowl to work. Yikes! Too much to do! Not to mention I had to get Kyle over to his last day of Lego camp by 8:30 am and now the boys are missing.
Right around this very hectic time, mom emailed me giving me the update on the already known missing dogs. She saw his last check-in was in Ridilliatown, not far from our house, but his tracker died so we really had no idea where their actual whereabouts were. My response? They'll come back. Did I mention this was when I was in route, between Saint Vincent, to Latrobe and mom's work?
You see the dogs have a track record of taking off, running through the woods for a few hours and then making their way back home after they are good and tired and completely muddy (Dog Gone). So who would have thought they would have deviated off of the norm? Certainly none of us did! In fact, we thought they would show up on the porch before dark, ready to sit out there punishment under the kitchen table. That's were they go when they're in trouble. The thinner, crappy doggie beds reside under there, making them really suffer their punishments out. (sarcasm)
Well, needless to say nightfall came and left and no signs of the dogs! I woke up Saturday morning around 5:00 am to get ready for the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt to find the house still a little empty. I hate to say it, but when I talked to mom, who incidentally slept on the couch so she could hear are late night arrivals, I said, "I bet someone shot them!" Mom agreed. I know what a horrible thought! I didn't say I wanted that to happen, I was just trying to be realistic and prepare myself for the worst. That's what happened to my cousin's dog when we were little, it was terrible! Jack the dog, came back with half of his jaw shot off!
Speaking of shooting dogs. That might sound like an over active imagination and not a present day reality, guess again! When we were going around to the local neighbors where the dogs were once spotted, a lady told us that someone in Youngstown, near Latrobe Pennsylvania is known to shoot stray dogs. She said they shot one before and wounded another! Can you believe it? I understand dog owners have to be in control of their dog at all times, but come on, things happen. There is no reason to shoot a dog! Maybe if it was bringing direct harm to another animal or person, sure for self defense, but just because they are loose and running around? Even if they were on your property, shoo them away! Don't just shoot them! What is wrong with some people? Apparently, they have no heart and we need to say prayers for them.
Wishing I could have stayed to help with the rescue mission Saturday morning, Kyle and I headed into Pittsburgh for the Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt. Before I left I had time to make a missing poster and I distributed it to my social sites far and wide. While we were in Shadyside, the irony of the situation hit me! I was running a scavenger hunt for dogs, when ours ran away and were lost, called Dog Gone! Scavenger Hunt. Not funny at the time, but has brought new humor.
The scavenger hunt went really smoothly and was well received by all the participants and business owners. During the hunt, besides reaching out to our participants via social sites along with my sister, we were also helping to spread the word, on our very own missing four legged pals. I was taking calls, and checking Facebook, keeping in touch with my friend Tree who was following up on leads and touching base with my family. Talk about a lot going on!
As soon as I got back to the area, I joined the search and rescue team. Getting in the car with mom, we rechecked the the last areas the dogs were spotted, and a few areas we thought they might have gone through. What made this so difficult was the location of our runaways. They were running through mostly woods, even worse, mostly unfamiliar woods to me, making their appearance every now-and-again near someones house or a main road. Even though it was extremely frustrating, each report brought a bit of hope. At the start of this all, the last place we knew the dogs were located in Ridilliatown, early Friday morning. Keep in mind it is now Saturday afternoon.
The sightings included: Someone saw them together off of route 30 near Sleepy Hallow at 6:00 pm on Friday. Someone saw them near Kingston on Friday around 5:30 pm. Someone almost hit them with their car off of route 30 near Ligonier around 6:30 pm on Friday. What? How did they make it that far coming from Youngstown?
Well, later on Sunday when I hiked the woods in that area, I found out it didn't take me long to cross the ridges through the woods, only traveling about four miles. Piece of cake for a couple of four legged travelers.
Then God gave us another bit of hope, Dave Planinsek saw them off his property Saturday morning around 6:15 am. Great! They made the night. He did say it looked like the black one, Seven was foaming at the mouth. That would explain why the others who spotted our pups said the one looked like he had porcupine quills in his mouth. My poor Seven!
Saturday night was fast approaching and nothing, no sign, no word. I even walked back in unfamiliar woods of Sugarbush, calling the entire mile in and mile out. Once darkness completely took away my sense of sight, I reluctantly left the woods. I will admit, it was pitch black and I had about three quarters of a mile to go just to get out of the woods and meet up with dad, who was on the quad.
We arrived at my parents house Saturday night, feeling completely defeated! Especially knowing the dogs were going to have to spend another night in the woods and knowing that Seven was hurt and possibly../
Read how the search & rescue mission turned out Dog Gone Irony!
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