Over a week ago I saw a little dog at the edge of the garden near the field. She was so cute and so tiny (compared to the boys) that I was instantly smitten. The instant I opened the door to call her, however, she fled. I thought she must belong to someone who lived nearby and forgot about it.
Yesterday morning a man came to the door to tell me he’d seen a little dog run across our front lawn and into our woods. He asked if the dog was one of ours but it wasn’t. The man, whose name is Dan, told me he’d heard of a missing dog that was described in a way that made it all but certain the dog in our woods was the missing pup.
I called the local veterinary clinic and the receptionist checked their bulletin board. Sure enough, the dog I’d seen was the one Dan had heard about. Her name was given as Anna and she’s a part pug, part beagle mix. The receptionist gave me her owner’s phone number and I called but had to leave a message.
Soon afterward Susan, Anna’s owner, called. She explained that Anna was obtained from a rescue and was extremely afraid of humans. She’d been kept by an animal hoarder, along with a large number of other dogs, in his basement with almost no human contact. That solved the mystery of her near Houdini-like disappearance when I opened the door.
Anna ran away over a month ago. She crossed a major road and traveled about 3 miles to get here. Her owner had only had her just over a week when she escaped. As a lifelong dog lover I was instantly both worried sick about this tiny thing and determined to catch her and get her home.
I put fresh, cold water in the boys’ outside bowl and used a spare food bowl to put out a bit of food for Anna. As soon as I went back in the house she came running from the woods. It was then I made a huge mistake. I opened the door and spoke very gently to her. “Anna banana…come here, Sweetie.” She was gone in a flash, hopping across the grass to the safety of the field. I was afraid I’d scared her off for good.
My plan, after the failed first attempt, was to put the food bowl in the garden late in evening. Since the garden is fully fenced in I could have either my husband or son rush out and close the gate once Anna was safely trapped inside. I could then call her owner who could come get her.
Unfortunately, just after scaring Anna away, I tripped over the extension legs to my wheelchair, tipped over my tall kitchen stool trying to catch myself, and fell, face planting into the counter. Due to the fragility of my spine micro-fractures are a common and painful occurrence. My dog-trapping had come to an end for the day.
Today, although still moving very slowly and with a stunning lack of grace I tried again. I put fresh water out and planned to put the food in the garden. The hours dragged by without a sign of Anna. Then my husband suddenly announced she was just emerging from the tall grass of the field into the yard. Sadly, he’d seen her because he was on his way outside. She heard the door slide open and fled once again.
Hoping she’d return if she smelled food I heated a little canned dog food and put the bowl in the garden. I knew that the scent of warm food would carry farther than cold. But, almost immediately after I came in, the wind began to blow strongly and then it started to rain. My husband brought the bowl back inside where the boys promptly devoured everything in it.
My husband and I keep peeking out, hoping tiny Anna will come out of hiding but also hoping she’s got a dry place to get out of the rain. If it stops long enough I’ll try the food trick once more before dark and, if we capture this elusive little girl she’s going to spend the night in a nice, warm dog crate with an overstuffed dog bed in our bedroom. There’s no way she’ll get out of my sight again!
But even if we catch her, I’m worried. Her owner didn’t work today but didn’t come by to try to call her dog to her. And Anna escaped because, although her owner was aware she was terrified of people, she put her outside in an area only enclosed by an 18″ lattice “fence” without a leash or any other way to hold on to her. Anna is extremely lucky she wasn’t run over on the road, hasn’t been eaten by a coyote, or hasn’t simply starved to death. She’s painfully thin. I wonder how she’ll fare back in the care of someone who already made so many mistakes.