Our new year got of to an interesting start. Ross, Nugget and I went to my aunt and uncle’s house to celebrate last night. We had a great time, too much wine, and played cranium. This morning, we got up and decided to go for a big walk after breakfast. The walk turned out to be a whole lot bigger than any of us (save Nugget) were planning.
The walking route that my uncle took us on is just on the edge of a new sub-development near Merrickville. It was extremely icy, wet and muddy, and rocky in places, which made for tough walking all around. About halfway through our planned walk, I turned to Ross and asked him if he thought it would be okay for Nugget to go off-leash. He sortof muttered his acquiescence, and I let Nugget off. For the first few minutes, Nugget sniffed around us, ran around a bit, and came running when we called. Then he ran further ahead of us, stopped, looked back, and kept running. He did that again, even further. Up ahead, there was a bend in the road. He ran again, and didn’t stop. By the time we got to the bend in the road, he was nowhere to be seen.
I was a bit worried, but called him a few times calmly. Uncle Randy suggested that he go ahead to the left of the fork in the road, and I stay where I was calling. So I did. I called, and called, and called. No Nugget. Not a sign. Randy didn’t see any of his tracks to the left, so we went to the right. There were a few tracks, but they stopped abruptly, likely heading into the woods. We walked a bit further, and I started to get really worried. I was feeling nauseaus, and then the train sounded, making my heart skip a beat (or ten). Could Nugget have gone so far that he was in danger of being hit by a train? What about the snowmobiles? There were many dogs barking off into the woods – what were they barking at? The area was surrounded by marshes. What if Nugget fell into one of those and couldn’t get out?
After a few minutes of walking, I suggested that we head back to the car. I liked to think that Nugget would eventually realize that he was lost and try to find us, which is why I kept calling him in case he heard my voice and could find his way back. At this point in time, about thirty minutes had passed since we last saw Nugget (or three hours, depending on who you ask).
Ross had already gone up ahead towards the car, and Randy took the fork to the left which would eventually lead back to the car as well. I caught up to Ross, who went a different way towards the barking dogs in the hopes that perhaps Nugget had headed over there. I was absolutely a wreck at this point. On the verge of tears, hoping that someone would find him and call us, and not keep him (he’s very cute). Ross saw how close to the edge I was and said that Nugget was fine, just having a big explore, which helped me calm down a bit.
At this point, about forty-five minutes had passed. I headed back towards the car while Ross went towards the swamp and barking dogs. At the point just before the trail I was on joined up to the main trail, I heard a bark, and then another one. It was a dog much closer than the dogs barking in the distance, and I swear to god the bark sounded just like “mom”. Then I saw him – at first I thought it might be Molly, my uncle’s dog, who was out with us, but I hadn’t heard my uncle in some time….and then I saw the little face, and he was barrelling towards me. He ran right up, big red tongue hanging out the side of his mouth, panting. He was clearly as glad to see me as I was to see him. I shouted in absolute joy to Ross that I found him, but could barely make myself heard as my voice was cracking with relief. While happy to see me, Nugget seemed genuinely contrite, and not keen to be too far away from me. Ross came running around the corner and had a lovely reunion with Nugget, who seemed to think that Ross might give him a good old talking to….but no one was interested in that – we were just so happy to see our young man again. Nugget and Ross had a nice reunion, and we met up with Randy who was also extremely glad to see Nugget. Randy had already started making plans to get my aunt and some provisions and come back out to keep looking for Nugget well into the evening. Let me just say that I sure am glad that wasn’t necessary.
So after all that, we got one very dirty, very tired, very thirsty little dog into the car and headed home.
That was a shock the ‘ol ticker didn’t need. That is also why god invented leashes, and obedience classes. Once home, we gave Nugget a bath, and tried to relax. I think it’s time to crack a bottle of wine and be thankful for being together as a family.