Working with dogs I have become accustomed to expecting the un-expected, but sometimes I am still caught with my pants down. Sunday was one of those times. I didn’t work until 3pm so I decided I would take Jack out to Nathan’s parents house, collect their dogs and take them all on a big walk in the nearby forest. It was nice and sunny, Jack needed the exercise, and I thought it was going to be super relaxing. Jack, apparently, had other intentions.
Nathan’s parents have permission from the farmers near their house to have the dogs off leash in their yards, and all of the dogs are great at recall. So I headed off through the field on my normal rout, and let them all of their leashes. Jack, and his partner in crime Nikki, ran to the left hand side through the tree line and in to the neighbouring field as per usual. Shiloh and I kept going towards the path straight ahead expecting them to meet up with us like they normally do.
We got to the path, and down the first dip and there was no sign of them so I yelled for them and waited. Normally they will come back within a few minutes of being yelled for, five sometimes ten if they have gotten a particularly fun scent. So I waited five minutes but I didn’t hear or see anything. Shiloh and I kept going up the hill both of us looking in every direction, and five minutes later I called again. Nothing. Kept going five minutes later, called again, still nothing. Not a bark or wine or jingle of tags.
Shiloh is starting to get annoyed. She can sometimes be a grumpy Mama dog, and she is never impressed when the younger two make her wait or listen to the humans yell for t00 long. So she starts pacing, ears up, tail raised, ready to run in any direction to get a chance to yell at them before I can stop her.
At this point I’m worried. This is extremely abnormal for both dogs so I veer off my path and in to the neighbours field in the direction that they headed. I hear frantic barking that sounds relatively similar to Nikki so I start jogging in that direction thinking the absolute worse only to find that it was the neighbours dog barking at the toy in their hand.
They told me that they saw something run across their tree line in the direction of Nathan’s parents house so I head back in the direction I came and I start hearing the bark of a small dog. Allie, the little dog who had been left behind for being a shit disturbing barking frantically in the front yard. It dawns on me, they had to of just simply gone home. Decided they’d had enough exercise and wanted to laze around in their own back yard. And they left Shiloh and I in the forest, presuming that eventually we would just go home. Couple of jerks. So Shiloh and I start heading back towards the house and as we get closer I hear: “Shiloooooooooooh, Shilooohh” then “Kait”. It was Greg, Nate’s step Dad coming to find me.
Apparently he was doing yard work with Allie in the front yard and she started barking and he turned around to see Jack bounding at full speed like a jack rabbit on crack across the field, then Nikki coming directly behind him. Both soaking wet having more than likely gone for a swim in the neighbours pond.
I would have never believed Jack had decided to swim at all, he hates to swim and even on the hottest days it takes a lot of coaxing for us to get him in to any water unless their is a chance he might catch something. But once Greg had both dogs he put them in the backyard and Jack went straight for their goldfish pond! Up to his neck, swimming around like this was the best moment of his life. Weirdo.
It was definitely weird all around. A good reminder to me that no matter how confident I am in my handling abilities, or my dogs training the unexpected can always happen because they are, after all, sentient being capable of independent thought. I was, however, quite impressed with how calm I stayed during the whole situation. If that had of happened the first six months we had Jack I would have been freaking out!