So, four weeks ago, my 3-year-old Berner, Thor, went in to have his teeth cleaned and a mole removed. It was a procedure requiring anesthesia, so he had to stay the day.
There's always risk when a dog (or person) goes under anesthesia, so when I dropped him off in the morning, I was a little nervous. It turns out that I was nervous for the wrong reason. He came out of anesthesia just fine. But, when the vet tech took him outside to do his business, she somehow dropped his leash.
Thor is a shy boy who likes people but is suspicious of their motives. He's a big-time snuggler with us, but he'd rather not let most people near him. So, when the vet tech dropped the leash, he moved away. And when she chased him, he ran.
He ran across a major county route, across a major state route, across a U.S. route, under an expressway, across railroad tracks. We had people out looking for him -- most of the vet's office, the Capuder family, the Clark family, my sister's family. We were always 10 minutes behind him. (We knew, because we were getting consistent reports from people on the street.)
Ultimately, it was because I had a call in with the police that we got him back. A dog owner saw him dodging in and out of traffic, so she followed him in her car and was able to chase him and corner him in someone's backyard, where she called the police, who called me ASAP.
Four hours and five miles later (that's five miles going the direct route, not the crazy dog route), we had Thor back. Covered in mud, exhausted and excited to see us.
We loaded him in the car and brought him back to the vet's office -- right back where he started -- for an exam and a bath. Then it was home, where he jumped on the sofa for a nice snuggle with the neighbor girls.
He was tail wags the whole weekend. He stiffened up, though, and by Sunday he barely wanted to move. Chalk it up to sore muscles. As my trainer at the gym said, it's like he ran a marathon that he hadn't trained for.
And, for a boy who is so shy and suspicious of people, he's had more Good Samaritans step up to the plate to help him than any one being should ever need. First, there was BARC, which rescued him from the dog auction -- saving him from a life in a cage at a puppy mill -- and gave him care and fostered him until we adopted him. Then there was the first time Thor ran away, and all the people who took time to go look for him. That time, he got hit by a car, so there was the Good Samaritan who loaded him in her car and took him to the vet for emergency care, and the surgeon who put his hip back together. And now this.
I've always thought that perhaps Thor was a little bit part cat (which explains his attitude toward most people), and now I'm starting to worry that he's taken a big dent out of those nine lives. We have a big vacation coming up this summer, and fortunately both dog/house sitters know his history, but I can't help but worry.
If you want to read about how Thor joined our family and how his first misadventure turned out, I've backposted entries for 2004. The entries are posted in chronological order, so scroll to the bottom to read them in order.