Seriously, I think I lost a couple years off my life from the stress. I lost Hope. Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. But that was about the worse hour or two that I’ve had in a long time. And it was too reminiscent of a year ago when I lost my bird. Unfortunately, that story didn’t have a happy ending. Syd is still missing and we never found out what happened to her. Although I suspect she was killed by a local pair of hawks that live on the mountain behind us. But I regress, back to Hope.
I was enjoying my Sunday afternoon and had finally found the time to work in the garden. Rosie’s puppies were tearing up the kitchen, Finn, Baby Girl (the black Poodle, yes, I still call her that) and Gypsy (I finally named the big white Poodle puppy) were playing in the backyard, Lucy’s pups were in an exercise pen in the garden and Reba, Hope and Cayenne (the little red and white Poodle) were hanging out with me and Lucy’s pups in the garden.
I was having so much fun going through my seeds, placing the packets near the rows I would plant them on and then I started to plant some. Ben had been barking on and off and it was scaring Cayenne a bit so I decided to put her over the fence into the backyard with her “siblings”. And then I looked around; there’s Reba, but where’s Hope? At first, I wasn’t too worried, because she finds the strangest places, and curls up for a nap sometimes. She’s not a real vocal dog (most of the time) and doesn’t really draw attention to herself.
I searched the garden and the yard quickly and saw nothing, calling as I went. Then I checked the house thinking maybe I had gone in and forgotten and she had followed me. I checked all her favorite napping places, but nothing.
I went back out and started walking down the driveway, calling my brother-in-law up the hill in case she went visiting because I could hear their little dog outside barking. Hope usually goes only out front on a leash or is carried to the car if we’re going somewhere. But she was being so good out in the garden that I let my guard down. Hard lesson learned.
Hope is a special dog, not just because we are attached to her, but sometimes I think she might be a bit intellectually challenged and doesn’t process things like other dogs, which made me extra worried about her being out on her own and getting lost somewhere.
I texted my husband who was down the road working at a friend’s house (but he never got the text), then jumped into my truck and headed down the driveway. Maybe she had followed the road downhill since she had gone that way in the car with us many times. I turned north on the road and drove a mile or so then turned around and headed back as I saw my husband coming from the other direction (thinking he was out looking, but not knowing he hadn’t gotten the text). He turned into our driveway ahead of me and drove up a bit and stopped. I was wanting to get home and keep looking around the house and couldn’t figure out why he had stopped. He casually walked up to my window asking me what I was doing. I choked out that “Hope is lost!” I don’t think I’ve ever seen him jump back in his car and drive up our hill so fast!
We both got home and started checking the yard and garden again. I stopped to go in the house and change from shorts and flip-flops into my jeans and hiking boots so I could go out into the woods.
I decided to go through the fence that goes around our yard (barb-less wire for the horses) and then walk the fenceline behind the backyard/dog yards thinking she may have gone that way to visit the other dogs. The brush is very thick and green right now, but there is a trail along the fence from Ben. At the end of our property, there’s another trail that goes down below the house along a rock ledge into the forest.
I gotta tell you as I walked along that trail I was praying (and also a bit discouraged) as my last hunt down this way had not yielded me with what I was searching for (my bird). I got to the end of the next trail on the rock ledge and turned to look down on the forest floor (before it heads up to the next rock ledge) and there was the sweetest sight for my eyes to behold; my little Hopie was standing amongst the brush on the forest floor looking at me with expectant eyes; “Were you calling me, mom?”
I couldn’t get down the ledge fast enough (I actually slide down it, not on purpose, but it worked!) and scooped that little chunk up in my arms, bawling and thanking God for helping me find her.
She is now back on her favorite part of the couch peacefully snoring. She’s not going outside again unless she’s on a leash, in a fenced yard or has someone watching her at all times! ❤️