Friday morning I was driving down Highway 105 south of Sedalia with Romeo in his crate. The speed limit is 50 mph, but many people drive 55, 60 or faster. As I came over a slight hill, I spotted a white Borzoi standing on the edge of the road. (For those unfamiliar with the breed, Borzois are Sighthounds, taller than greyhounds with longer hair. If you're curious, do an internet search for images.)
I pulled over to the side of the road in hopes I could find out where he belonged. In rural areas like this, it's hard to tell if someone just allows their dogs to run loose, if the dog slipped out of a fence, or if he's lost and far from home. Regardless, I did not want to see this dog hit by a car, so I coaxed him to me. Although cautious, he did come to me. He did have on a collar but there were no ID tags.
Do I start walking to the nearest house to see if they know where he belongs? Being a rural area, walking to the nearest house and down the driveway could easily be a quarter or half mile walk. I thought about putting him in my vehicle, but with Romeo in his crate and all of my training gear, there really was not room for a very large dog. Even then, there's no guarantee he would get into my vehicle willingly.
My next thought was to call Ed back at home – probably mile or two away – to come and help me. I tried dialing my cell, but it kept losing the connection. Another issue with rural areas – spotty, if any, cell coverage. That idea was out. Just then, another woman pulled over who had spotted me standing by the side of the road, holding the collar of this dog. She informed me that he did, in fact, belong to the home about 100 yards down the road on the opposite side of the street.
Great, I will walk with him to the house and hopefully someone will be around so I can safely return him. He walked with me until we got to the driveway, and then refused to move any farther up the driveway. He clearly had no interest in going home. And the house was quite a long way back off the road. Now what?
The barn (which looks nicer from the outside than our house, by the way) was near the road, and I spotted someone on a 4-wheeler working outside the barn. It took me a few minutes to wave him down, and finally I was able to ask if he knew this dog. Yes, he did, in fact, belong there. The guy came over and took the dog from me and thanked me for bringing him back.
I was glad to see the big gentle guy back where he belonged and safely off the road. Fortunately, he was willing to come to me and be lead back home. Often-times when we find dogs running loose and try to help, they will not allow themselves to be caught. Many are cautious of strangers, afraid of what will happen to them when caught (often the case when people punish their dogs for running away but are, in fact, punishing them for getting caught), or are just having too much fun with their new-found freedom. I always worry about the ones who we are not able to help. I've heard from too many people whose dogs have been hit by cars or disappeared never to be seen again.
I know if one of our dogs was running loose, I would want someone to help him/her get home safely. It's the least I can do to try to help others who might also be worried sick about their own dogs.