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I lost my dog today

And I learned a very valuable lesson.

Let me start at the beginning or even a little before that.

I currently have four dogs. All were strays that I found.

Louis and Charlie are the biggest, laziest, non-dog-like dogs that I have every had. They hate going outside. I have to force them out and then they pee and ditch into the bushes to poop and race back to the porch.

(Charlie is the one with his eyes shut on the couch. Louis is standing.)

Tricks is a true Belgian Malnois. She’s loyal, smart and high strung. She’s also old. They guestimated her age when I found her in 2011 as about 7 which makes her about 16 and that’s old for a dog like her. She’s doing great except for arthritis.

And Sassy –She’s my hound. I found her when she was about 2 and she’s about 13 now. She’s hound to her core. She searches for scent and runs. Because of this, she can’t be loose or she’s gone.

I live on five acres in a very rural neighborhood. The smallest plot is five acres. My yard is completely fenced in – kind of – there are openings and holes in many places.

Now that I’ve given you the background here’s the story.

I took Tricks outside and Sassy. Sassy was on a leash. I walked around my yard a bit, letting Sassy sniff and do her business and letting Tricks run as much as she could. Then I put Sassy on the chain hooked to my porch and brought out Louis. I walked while he darted into the bushes to do his thing.

A lap or two around the yard and he was on the porch. Sassy was also up there. Both of them wanted in the house but I decided they could stay out while I walked. I took Sassy off the chain, let Charlie out. Made him go off the porch and then closed the porch gate/door.

Charlie, like his brother, took off into the bushes to do his business. I walked.

When I walk, I plot my stories so time kind of disappears. I’m not sure how long I walked but each time I passed the porch I glanced at the stairs to see if Charlie was on them waiting to get onto the porch. He wasn’t.

That was weird. The dogs never pushed the gate.

As a matter of fact, I often yell at them to push it open because I’m usually helping Tricks up the stairs and they’re all creating a dog-jam because they refuse to push that gate with their noses.

I do another lap. Still no Charlie. I call him. He never runs off. Never.

I hear dog feet on the porch and this time I look closer. The gate is pushed open just a bit.

Oh shit.

I hurry up the stairs. Louis and Charlie are there wagging their tails but Sassy is gone.

I put Louis and Charlie in the house and start calling Sassy.

I look to Tricks, hoping she’ll be like my little beagle mix, Reese, who used to tattle on the other dogs when they’d run off. She always did her best to take me right to them or at least she led me in the direction that they went.

(This is the little tattletale.)

Tricks just stared at me.

So, I have five acres to search and I’m praying Sassy didn’t get out of the fence.

These pictures will give you an idea of what I was going to have to search.

(I didn’t see any deer today but I like this picture.)

I start on the one side, yelling and looking for white (she’s speckled but that white stands out in the pine forest).


Tricks is following me and getting tired.

I need to search the part of my property that my father used to call “the back forty”. It’s nowhere near 40 acres; it’s about 2 or 3, but I do nothing with that part of my yard. I leave it for the wildlife.

I don’t want Tricks following me over there.

There could be wild boar, bear and I know a few months ago there was a gator in the pond that’s over there. It’s not a big pond and it often dries up, so I don’t think gators live there but I do think they visit while passing through.

Tricks has to go in the house or on the porch.

I call her.

She doesn’t want to do either. She wants to stay outside.

I call her again.

The stubborn ass runs (the best she can) in the other direction. I quickly catch her (she’s sixteen, remember?) and put her on the leash and take her to the house, but I know that every minute I waste doing this is yards that Sassy could be traveling.

After Tricks is secured on the porch, I head to the “back forty”. I tromp through the high grasses, hoping any snake will slither out of my way. I walk face first into spider webs but I don’t have time to worry about a spider on me. I have to find my dog.

The two main roads in my neighborhood are now paved, including the one in front of my house. People drive about seventy down this road. Sassy could get hit or if she decides to chase someone’s chickens she could get shot (it’s happened before out here). And let’s not forget about the gators.

I have to find her but there is no white on the “back forty”.

I trudge back toward my house.

Do I take the time to post her picture on the Nextdoor app in case someone sees her? That’ll take at least fifteen minutes. Do I drive my car around the neighborhood, calling for her? I’ve done this before to find her and other of my escape artist companions.

I decide to take one more look near the house. I go into the back part of my yard. There’s a section that’s fenced in just for my dogs. I don’t use it for them anymore because Sassy digs out and the other three don’t want to be out there. I now leave the gate open to make it easier on the deer – why make them jump if they don’t have to?

I go back there and I see it—White!!!!

It’s Sassy. She’s over in the area where I first looked (obviously not very well -lol).

I holler for her and hurry around the house.

Luckily, she doesn’t run from me. She just kind of slinks around, knowing she was bad.

I want to scream at her and hug her and shake her because she scared the bejesus out of me, but instead I put the leash on her.

Then, I bend and give her a great big hug. She’s safe. My heart can stop trying to escape from my chest by way of my throat. Life is once again good except…

Then I smell it.

She rolled in something. I back away but the stench follows me because it’s on my shirt, in my hair and on my face.

So the lesson for the day is if you find your dog after he/she runs off, don’t hug them unless you like to have the smell of dead things mixed with poop all over you.


  1. Jacqueline Wright says:

    OMG! Glad she was safe-ish! I lost a cat with doors open and movers in and out. After 2 hours looking, I had to let the cable man in. He found him lying under a dresser, calmly wondering why I was calling his name . . . He’d never left.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      LOL. That is typical cat. They drive me nuts when they do that because they know their names and just choose not to come. Oh well, gotta love them.

  2. Annie says:

    LOL!! I remember those days . How many days hunting may dog and then having to give them a bath.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Hi Annie,

      I kind of thought those days were behind me, at least for a bit. My wanderer dogs have all passed except for Sassy and I’m usually very careful with her. Trust me, I’m going to be more careful now.

  3. Joyce Grubb says:

    I clad that you found Sassy. I love your story about your experience. I am a Cat Lady
    I have 24 right now. But when They are lost it is a horrid feeling. We drive around calling
    them and if we are lucky we will see them laying on something, They can not ear you yelling for them. I am sure glad you found Sassy.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Thanks. Twenty-four is a lot of cats. I currently have 7 and that’s a lot. And yeah, they definitely don’t come when they are called. The only things mine respond to are either cat nip or the sound of a can of wet cat food being opened. Then they come running but that doesn’t work outside. lol.

  4. Licia Pannucci says:

    Ohhhh… Shit…. I could of killed you for the ending! I am so glad your babies are okay. Happy 13th!!!

    1. Linda Odea says:

      LOL. Like to keep the story interesting. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks, me too. I was really worried about Sassy until I saw her.

  5. Janette Reynolds says:

    I have 8 dogs and love them dearly. Some are rescues. Glad you found her. i had one that found a Skunk lol. Rather deal with poop and dead. Yours are beautiful and thanks for rescuing.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Hi Janette,

      Thank you too for rescuing and I agree 100% over that smell vs skunk. Skunk is way harder to get out.

      have a great weekend.

  6. Monica says:

    Wow, what an excursion. I bet you were exhausted after all that and had to take a shower too. We have a poodle and not nearly as much land as you do, just a big back yard. Every time he (Leevi) comes home from the groomer he has to go out and roll in the grass. Actually, his favorite thing to do is roll in the grass and chasing either of my 2 cats. Also, I can be standing beside him and reach over to pet him and he jumps away. I mean we’ve had him all his life, you’d think he’d want to be petted. Do you have that problem with your dogs.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Hi Monica,

      Yes, it was a scary day and I definitely had to shower. lol. Leevi rolling is very typical. I’ve often wondered if they like to smell like the earth and those scents because of instinct. A predator who smells like shampoo, although pleasing to us, would be scented a mile away by prey.

      As for your dog flinching, no none of mine do that but I wouldn’t let it bother you. He probably just knows he’s well loved and doesn’t need to be petted so much.
      take care

  7. Sandra k. gates says:

    i loved your story.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Thank you. 🙂

  8. Yvonne Kanocz says:

    My daughter had a dog that would get in the neighbors yard to roll in chicken Poop. She never bothered the chickens, just wanted to roll around. I was so thankful my daughter was old enough to give her a bath.. I am happy that you found your dog safe even if she smelled.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Hi Yvonne,

      Thanks and I can imagine the smell on your dog. I had that rooster for a bit and chicken poop stinks (as does most poop – or all that I’ve ever smelled – lol).

  9. RobinBeth Faulkner says:

    I’m so glad you found her, when I read you ‘lost’ you dog, I was already to give my condolences. I ‘Lost’ mine in July and was devastated. I’ve recently adopted a rescue and named him Asta, he’s around 3 and a cuddle pup.
    So hold the m close for as long as you can.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Hi Robin,
      Sorry to hear about your dog but happy you’ve rescued Asta. 🙂

      And I’m definitely happy about finding Sassy too. She’s a pain but I’d miss her and feel so guilty if I’d lost her.


  10. Roxanne says:

    I had a horse run away from home once when I was a teenager. I was so afraid we were going to find him hit by a car (it was late and very dark), but he was happily munching in a neighbor’s garden. Mom wouldn’t let me ride it home, so I sat in the back of the truck leading the horse as we slowly drove home. Over the years, I lost dogs and cats and you get no less frantic with each one–they are our 4-legged kids. 🙂 So glad your experience ended with everyone safe.

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Hi Roxanne,

      Thank you and I’m so glad you found your horse safe. It is so terrifying when they get lost (not that they think they are lost -lol).

      Yes, it is hard. I’ve lost so many – though old age and illness – but I’m happy to have them in my life for as long as I can.
      Take care

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