My youngest dachshund, aptly named Dora the Explorer, is a sleek example of the utmost in canine fitness. When we leave the garage, on foot, on horse, or on bike, she’s right there following. Dexter, one year older, will go as far as the barn, or will follow if we’re on foot, but he heads back to the house when we pick up the pace.
So, it’s a usual sight to see a little black and tan weiner-dog trailing behind me and Johnny when we ride. She keeps right up as we walk down the roads, and she usually finds a rabbit or two to chase along the way. Yesterday, though, as Johnny and I started our six mile ride at a brisk pace, she fell behind at the end of the road. I turned and looked as we trotted down the road, and she had decided not to follow on at the intersection. I figured she’d turn and head back to the house (about 1/4 mile away). I rode on, and when I finished my ride, I never realized she wasn’t at the house. I continued on, bathing and grooming Johnny, and it was only when I went to the house and saw Dexter that I realized Dora wasn’t around. A quck check from Dad confirmed that she’d never come back, so I hopped in my car and drove down past where I’d last seen her. No sign of Dora. I thought I might have better luck on the atv, so I jumped on and made the six mile loop again, scanning everywhere for the little dachshund. Dora is deathly afraid of other dogs, so I worried she was trapped somewhere, unable to get away. The other fear in my mind was that someone had picked up a friendly dachshund who was all too willing to jump in anyone’s car. I returned home with no luck. Finally, I decided I needed to get serious. By this time, I was starting to panic a little! I opened the car door and told Dexter to get in. He looked at me as if to say, “You really mean it? Can I really get in the car?” He jumped in, and we took off in search for Dora. I drove around at 15 mph yelling for Dora every few seconds. I went further down the main road, thinking she might have gone straight instead of turning to make the loop, and then I headed back the way I came. By this time, the sun was going down, and I was sure someone had picked her up. I had already decided which picture of her I was going to put on the 100 flyers I’d have printed. I made a mental list of things to do: contact the local veterinarians, notify the neighbors, put flyers in all the mailboxes in a 10 mile radius…and I contemplated how long I could put off telling Ryan that I’d lost our dog. I turned back onto our road, and as I topped the hill, there she was. I stopped the car, threw open the door, and screamed, “DORA!!” I’m not sure who was happier to see who, but I’ve never seen her wag her whole body so hard in my life. When Dora wags her tail, she wags her whole back end. Yesterday, she wagged her whole body. The expression on her face said, “oh boy am I glad to see you. I was afraid you weren’t coming back.” I’m seriously considering buying a homing beacon for that dog. She definitely lives up to her name!