A good friend called to tell us her dog, a Newfoundland, had wandered off in a heavily wooded area and was missing for two days. This is a horrible thing for dog lovers to endure – not knowing – and I offered to take Red and Fate out to the woods to do what we call a “sheep sweep.” Border collies by instinct will sweep an area for stray or wandering sheep, Red’s huge outruns are designed, in part, to capture all the sheep in a pasture, however large.
I began doing this with Rose, who found lost cows or goats and several dogs in that way. Border collies are sensitive to sound and smell and movement, if anything is moving near them, they will hear it or sense it. This morning, our friend messaged us to say her dog had been found in a culvert, where it had somehow gotten itself trapped. The dog was fine, Red and Fate and I went back to our work.
My heart went out to my friend, a passionate and dedicated dog lover. Living in the country, I’ve never worried about any dog running off like that – maybe Frieda, but I do know people whose dogs have vanished in that way and never returned. It is hard to find closure for that. One farmer told me his lab ran off and came back two years later. Dogs are animals, and things can happen to any animal, but I’m glad the dog was found. If it was in a culvert near the farmhouse, Red would have found her, I’m pretty sure of that.