Monday, September 23, 2013

Last night I was late heading out on my evening walk in the woods.  A friend going back several decades had called out of the blue and we talked until twilight.  I grabbed a flashlight to take with me since it was already starting to get quite dark out and followed the creek up into the woods about one mile and then turned around and headed home.  Twilight had turned to pitch black dark without even a little moonlight to help light the way.   And deep in the woods with a heavy leaf cover, there was not even any starlight to brighten the way.  But I had my flashlight and could sufficiently navigate the trail even in the dark.  Although, I noticed that when I turned off my flashlight, I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face.  I got back to the gate at the top of the hill at the back of my property and waited for my fourteen year old dog, Teddie, to catch up.  I usually hear him chugging and puffing as he approaches and scales the hill.  My eight year old pit/rott mix had already arrived and gotten her treat at the gate and we both sat waiting for Teddie.  I sat on my "thinking rock" and let my mind drift.  

But the minutes grew longer and longer and I realized I didn't hear Teddie and he should have been there by now.  Last I had seen him was when I turned around by the creek and headed home.  He was right behind me.  But now he had vanished.  I called and listened and called again.  I headed down the hill and followed the creek all the way back in the pitch black night, calling and stopping to listen for him.  I got all the way back to the place where three large trees had fallen over a couple of weeks ago, where I had last seen Teddie.  But no sign of him.  Concern grew to panic and fear.  Thoughts raced through my mind about what had happened.  Maybe he had a heart attack and was dead somewhere in the woods.  Maybe coyotes got him even though I hadn't heard anything to indicate that.  Still, the thoughts tumbled out, trying to figure out where the old boy could be.  

On my way back, retracing the trail, my pit/rott was sitting in the middle of the trail about halfway back.  And I asked her, "Where's Teddie?  Help me find Teddie" and she immediately became extremely animated and ran up the trail a short ways and stopped and looked toward the creek, down the embankment.  So I dropped off the trail, down the embankment, towards the creek.  A little scary to leave the trail because even with a flashlight it would be very easy to get hopelessly twisted and tangled and lost in the woods.  But I had to find my boy!  I could not leave him out in the woods, alone, all night!  Much to my relief, with his sister's help, I found him down there in the creek, hopelessly lost in the dark.  I think the poor old boy, with his aging eyesight, must have had trouble finding his way in the dark and got lost from the trail. I clipped on his leash and got him back on the trail and back home.  I was so relieved to have everyone safely back home.  It was close to 10 p.m. before we got back inside and I fed them their dinner. 
Teddie, asleep and safe at home. 

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