Friday, November 20, 2009

Lost Dog

I don't know what I have to do to be able to relax. Every time I try to just chill for a while, some emergency gets in my face, forcing my heart to skip a beat and release the floodgates of adrenaline. Before I know it, I'm jumping into action to resolve another problem, whether it be for my company or my family.

Tonight I was lying in bed trying to work out a plan to reduce my stress since telling the people who cause me stress about how I feel hasn't had any effect. I heard my husband yell from another room, "Is Midgey in there? The dog is missing! I can't find her anywhere!"

I said, "She's probably in the closet."

He said, "No, I just let her outside a few minutes ago and she didn't come back in. I've been calling her and she won't come."

My heart jumped out of my chest. Our Corgi always comes when my husband calls. She ignores me, but always respects my husband's commands. I knew something had to be wrong.

My husband ran around the house looking in closets and under beds, in case she happened to slip past him when he opened the door and he didn't see her. When she's scared of something like thunder, she tries to hide in dark corners. After not finding her indoors, he ran outside with a flashlight calling for Midge. Nothing.

I wondered if someone could have stolen her out of our back yard, but then saw that the 70 MPH winds from today had piled tumbleweeds up against the only gate that a person could have walked through. It was unlikely that someone stole her.

My husband shined the flashlight along the bottom of the fence. Perhaps a cat after our despised resident moles had dug a big enough hole under the chain-link that Midge could have escaped. We didn't see escape routes, though.

I looked around for something she could have been trapped in outside, but it was so dark. I asked my husband to shine the flashlight over into a dark corner of the yard, but he ignored me and continued running around frantically calling for the dog.

A few months ago a large owl had swooped down upon Midge and tried to carry her off. I wondered if it finally succeeded. Yet I can barely lift her myself, so I couldn't imagine a bird being able to lift her.

There's always the worry that a coyote would jump over the fence, snatch her up in its mouth, and take off. That has happened to many cats in the neighborhood. I started thinking that was the only plausible explanation. Yet our older and bigger dog Monty was outside with Midge. He's deaf and senile, but one would think he'd notice a coyote kidnapping his buddy. I mean, Monty barks at everything that moves including his own shadow. We can't get the dog to shut up. It made no sense that Midge could be snatched for dinner that fast without Monty reacting.

Then my husband emerged from the horse paddock with Midge beside him. We couldn't figure out how she could have made it into the horse paddock when the spa room doors were closed. Then my husband finally shined the light into that dark corner of the yard. The big winds had blown an old wooden gate open that we had sealed shut with 2 x 4s and nails years ago. Our old Labrador used to throw himself against that wooden gate until he busted it open in order to get to females in heat around the neighborhood. (Yes, we did neuter him, but he still wanted to mate with everything in sight up until he was about six years old.) We decided to leave the gate sealed shut so that no one could accidentally leave it open and let the dogs into the horse paddock, where they could get trampled under hooves. However, these winds were violent enough to rip that gate right out of the nails' grip. Go figure.

The winds also blew down our neighbor's fence. I'm sure they are not happy about that. They had just repaired that fence after a drunk driver mowed it down last spring. In fact, they accused us of breaking their fence the first time since it was busted at the end of our driveway. We explained that we have been driving in and out of our driveway for 15 years and are all very practiced and very aware of where their fence is located. It is more likely that some stranger tried to turn around in our driveway and backed into their fence. I was half expecting them to knock on our door tonight to question us about their latest damage. Don't you love it when people assume you are guilty until proven innocent?

Anyway, we've got our dog back and have yet another broken thing to repair on what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend. My coat zipper also broke tonight -- on the coldest night of the year, of course -- so I get to spend part of my weekend shopping for a new coat. That may sound appealing to some, but I hate shopping. I'd rather ride a horse or curl up in bed with a good book.

Normally, with Eastern Sierra storms, the winds die down before it snows, however with this storm the snow came before the winds eased up, so I had to race outside to get the haystack covered. I had just ordered a new tarp, because our old tarp got shredded in the last snowstorm. However, the winds blew the new tarp off the stack. I was out there in 70 MPH winds trying to wrestle that 16 x 20' behemoth down. At once point a string attached to the tarp got caught on my foot. A big gust came up and lifted me right up off the ground, twisting my ankle and knocking me down.

I was no match for a tarp in that wind, so I just started heaving huge rocks onto the tarp as fast as I could to keep it in one place. Then I worked one corner at a time over the haystack and secured it with more rocks. Unfortunately some snow got on the hay before I could get it covered. Some of the hay has already molded from when snow seeped through holes in the old tarp during the last early and unexpected snowstorm. Hay is just too expensive and too hard to find to tolerate problems with mold. I'm sure I looked like a lunatic out there with the fury of my efforts to get that haystack covered, but I was literally trying to save myself hundreds of dollars and assure that my horses would have something to eat through winter.

The high winds claimed several lives today. Many vehicles were blown off the roads while others were involved in multi-car pile-ups due to zero visibility from sand blowing across highways. What I want to know is who ticked off Mother Nature?


Paint Girl said...

I am so happy to hear you found your dog!! My heart dropped when I read your title!
What a terrible wind storm you are having! We have had terrible wind storms too, but in the 50 mph range. Every other day is a new storm, always with rain!! I think we have had a record month of rain here. My poor horses, buried in mud.

Breathe said...

I might have been me. I made an off color remark about the rain...

Glad you - and the hay - survived that big wind!

Maery Rose said...

I'm so glad you found Midge! What a relief that must have been. Those winds sound terrible. I hope you can still enjoy your weekend.

fernvalley01 said...

so glad you found your dog! I hate wind as well and I hear you about holding a tarp in the wind .I was on top pf a stack of round blaes holding a huge tarp once , the wind grabbed it so I sat down , and fast! DID NOT WANT TO BE THE TAIL OF A KITE!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

How scary to have almost lost Midge. I'm glad you and your hubby found her. I think you've gotten our winds this year. We are back to 40-60 degree temps, sunshine and no wind at all.

We usually start with our gusty winds in the 50 mph range starting in October and they don't ease up until April or May.
That's frustrating that your hay has gotten some mold from the leaks. I bet you were wishing for a hay barn after that crazy tarp wrestling match! gah!


Katharine Swan said...

I'm with Paint Girl! I was almost afraid to keep reading, for fear it would be a sad ending! So glad you found her!

Savanna said...

good thing u found ur dog!

Leah Fry said...

Glad you found Midge. That would have to be some huge owl to be able to carry off a Corgi!

I don't envy your weather AT ALL. I hate shopping for coats only because it's so rarely cold enough to wear one that I balk at spending the money.

Cheryl Ann said...

I know the feeling when you can't find your dog. Ripley got out once and we only live 1 block away from a very busy street!!! Fortunately, she was right outside our front gate, which SOMEBODY forgot to properly latch! But, my heart jumped up into my throat when I realized she wasn't in the yard.

Lulu said...

Wow! This is one of those moments where I have to pause and be thankful that I've got enough space for indoor hay storage!!!

I'm glad you found your dog. I lost my rat terrier at a horse show last year, and it took a whole week to find her. I spent hundreds in gas driving back to where the show was.

Once Upon an Equine said...

So glad you found Midge and she didn't get carried off by wind, coyote, or raptor.