The first walk today was Angus, Sarah, Willy and Vito. They were supposed to be my serenity walk. Not too fast and everyone stays together. The perfect group for walking when I’m barely awake. The route was a 12 foot track through the desert, up some relatively easy slopes, leaving little need for very much thinking.
Willy was about 100 feet in front of us when he crested the ridge. When we reached the top, Willy was nowhere in sight. So I called him, for more than 40 minutes. First in a normal voice, then in an angry one, then in desperation. My sight distance was pretty far, and Willy was nowhere to be seen. Even when he finds a bone and ignores me, Willy always returns by the 3rd call in the Angry Voice.
Sarah, Angus and Vito (Gimpy, Stumpy and Little Guy With Legs Screwed on Backward) could not bush whack through the desert with me to search for Willy. Neither could they walk very long distances. That ridge was our turnaround point. It was the maximum distance I could take them where they wouldn’t get over tired. I couldn’t go any farther without endangering them.
I made the decision to take them home and return for Willy. All the way back to the Waggin’ Wagon, I called and kept looking for him, in case he had doubled back. He was nowhere to be seen.
We had been gone an inordinate amount of time, so Crabby called to see if we were OK. My response: Get the Search Dogs ready, Willy is missing.
Thing about Willy, he has no dog sense. It never occurs to him to put nose to the ground to search for us by scent. If he hears me calling, unless he sees me, he just runs in a random direction, hoping I’ll be there. To go back to the spot he last saw us never occurs to him. In short, if a tree or other screening obstacle gets between Willy and the group, Willy is essentially lost. Stopping to think about his predicament is the farthest thought from his mind as Willy then runs in random directions, wondering where we are. The trick is, keep Willy in sight at all times, or stay higher than him in the landscape. If a bush gets in the way, and Willy gets ‘lost’, I just need to break into the Come Back Willy Dance, which involves gyrating excessively, to give him a visual to hone in on.
What this translated into today was: Willy could have been 100 feet or 10 miles away by the time I returned to the Waggin’ Wagon.
Anyone else, they would have loaded up Angus, Vito and Sarah, then drove the track, calling for Willy. But if Willy was far off trail, it would have been a waste of time, ergo the Search Dogs.
Thing about Morty, Marcy and Emmi – but especially Morty – they can cover some serious ground. Where a mere human can only move so fast and far across the desert, the Search Dogs move on turbo thrusters.
I took Sarah, Vito and Angus home, picked up the other 3 and Crabby, and returned to area Willy was lost in.
The plan: I would get out with the kids earlier on the track and work my way North. Crabby would drive the Waggin’ Wagon ahead. The track went many miles, much easier to search by motor vehicle.
Once released, the Search Dogs ran down a ridge into a familiar field.
Then things changed drastically.
Morty, Emmi and Marcy were at the bottom of the ridge, in the wash, when Crabby pulled away. I was still walking down after them.
The desperate scream came immediately after.
I looked down toward the kids and saw Morty in full alert, still shrieking, looking at the Waggin’ Wagon pulling away.
He immediately went into turbo speed, not retracing his steps to get up to the track, but diagonally across the wash, and through the desert, in hot pursuit. At one point, he blasted through a tangle of trees.
A split second later, he emerged on the other side, and up to the track, at a blinding speed chasing the Waggin’ Wagon. My calls fell on deaf ears. Morty was gone. The Waggin’ Wagon was gone…
Oh, I forgot to mention – back when Morty blasted through the tangle of trees, only to reappear on the other side a split second later – well, in hot pursuit of Morty was Willy.
One would think at that point I would be filled with relief. That wasn’t the case. It was a split second! One dog ran in, 2 ran out. I was more in a state of “What just happened?”
Crabby had moved out of cell phone service mere inches from where he dropped me off, so I couldn’t reach him by phone. A short time later, he saw Morty, in front of him on the track. As he slowed to stop, he noticed, in the side view mirror, Willy, running after him.
According to Crabby, Mortimer knew the goal of the trip was to find Willy. To that end, Morty did his job with great swiftness. Using his Morty Senses, he noticed Crabby did not have cell phone service and my attempts to tell him Willy was found would not get through. Crabby could be driving for hours without knowing the search was over! Mortimer did what any brave and intelligent dog would do, he pursued and overtook the Waggin’ Wagon and began signaling (crossing back and forth on the track) to Crabby to stop. Understanding Morty’s signal, Crabby then began scanning the area, and found Willy in the side view mirror. Moral of the story: Morty is a hero.
What actually, happened, however, is Morty saw Crabby driving off without him and it put him in a panic. Leaving his Mom and sisters to who knows what dangers may have been lurking, Morty shrieked “Paaaaaa!! Don’t leave meeeeeee!” and ran after the Waggin’ Wagon. By sheer dumb luck, he happened to run through the tree snag where Willy had taken refuge and was clicking his heels together repeating “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Morty didn’t even notice Willy as he blasted by. His single-minded goal was to catch the Waggin’ Wagon, and that Willy was struggling to keep up, Morty was oblivious. Moral of the story: Morty is a woosy Daddy’s Boy.
I do agree with Crabby that Morty’s positioning himself in front of the moving Waggin’ Wagon did take strategic thought, but it was actually a case of Morty wanting Crabby to stop and let him in rather than to tell Crabby Willy had been found.
All’s well that ends well, and everyone made it home safely.
Crabby believes Morty deserves a medal for his ‘deed’. Me, I don’t think so.