Monday, August 27, 2007

Zack, the Blue Quail,

The prior post details my eventful trip towards Cloudcroft. I say towards, because MLH and I made a corporate decision to not go there Friday night.

Once we finally met up in Artesia Friday night around midnight, our weekend finally started. We were supposed to meet in Artesia, drop MLH’s truck off at our local office, and trek on to Carlsbad, where we had rented a cabin for the weekend.

MLH was exhausted. A major storm had crossed his lease, leaving him near stranded in mud. It took him about 3 hours to work his way out to the highway. I was tired from all the excitement driving up, as well, so we decided to stay in Artesia. Found out later we missed a snowstorm Friday night in Cloudcroft, so maybe it was just as well.

We left at 6am to head to the dog trials at Mayhill, N.M. We had a great time, and Zack did well (though I didn’t shine). We did capture some points, though! It was over 90 degrees, scorching hot, no cloud cover. Around 3 p.m., we were more than ready to go on to Cloudcroft and find our little weekend home. We arrived in town just in time for a downpour, and then, a hailstorm.

Once at the house, we quickly settled in and just vegged out for the evening. Zack had a blast running in the woods, and quickly came when we called him. “Come around, Zack!” would get him in every time. He was extremely good all weekend when off-leash.

We left the cabin around lunchtime to head back home. The plan was to get to Artesia, then split up, with MLH staying the night in Artesia, and I was going to head back to Midland. Once in Artesia, we decided that MLH’s truck needed a little TLC – so we went to the carwash.

Once finished, Zack and I head home. Between Hobbs and Eunice, Zack starts whining. Zack never whines, so I think, “Hmmmm. He must need to take a bathroom break.” (Like I’m the freaking dog whisperer or something.) I pull into a lease road, and let him out of his kennel.


Bad, bad, bad mistake. About three trees away, he flushes a blue quail, and the Zackster is off. And by off, I mean, the boy flat raced after that bird. Zack would have given a well-fed greyhound a run for his money. He probably ran a mile, then dropped down into a valley.

The whole time, I’m screaming, “Zack! Come around, Zack! Here! Here!”

To. Absolutely. No. Avail.

After about five minutes, I take off driving through the pasture. I cannot see Zack, anywhere, so I return to the lease road, hoping against hope that he will come back to where he started this most excellent adventure. I’m praying. My phone rings – it’s Andy, Zack’s trainer.

Andy: “What are you doing?”
Janie: “Dude, if I told you, you’d kill me. I have to call you back.”
End call.

About that time, a contract pumper drives up. I introduce myself, and tell him my dilemma. He takes my card, and says he’s going to drive a couple of his leases, and if he sees Zack, he will call me.

Make no mistake, in all my calm, I am freaking out. I’m thinking things like, “Oh, Lord, I’ve not had Zack microchipped. I’ve heard stories where people never got their dogs back. Oh, Lord, what will I tell MLH? Andy? I’m sooooooo dead. I cannot believe I was so stupid!”

My phone rings…it’s the contract pumper. He has seen Zack, and Zack is heading back towards me. I call Zack, when I see him. Zack ignores me. I can tell he’s very winded, and he probably cannot hear anything but the sound of his own breathing and the wind. He comes right back to where I was parked, and sits down, looking up at me. I check him for snake bites, but find none.

I grab a gallon of water, and pour it over him, trying to cool him down. I know he’s way overheated, so I cool down his ears (a dog’s air conditioner) and wet down under the joints of his legs and his belly. He drinks forever. I was torn between wanting to beat him and wanting to fall all over him and hug him. I did neither. Dogs are forward thinking, and he was only doing what he’s trained to do…

Once I got him cooled down (it took 2 gallons of water), he loaded into his kennel and we took off. I called the pumper and profusely thanked him, then called MLH and Andy to confess. Both were very sympathetic, thank God.

No more taking Zack chances for this girl.

Yup, we’ve got a new trick to learn. (I know, he should already know this.) My dog’s going to learn how to poop while on a leash.

How exciting.


scotte said...

you and that dog get into more ----! I'm glad you got reunited! and by the way YOU always shine even on a bad day!

Turtle (cat momma) said...

I am so glad Zack came back. You had me going there for a while. That is a fear of mine. The cats will get out when Foo goes out the door to work. Bek tried that once. I think I need to add "microchip kids" to my To-Do list. Glad to hear the story had a happy ending.

Geo said...

That's a real dilemma when you've waited as long as you can and the dog doesn't show up.

He probably has a tag with your phone number on it. And the word "reward" on the tag might be helpful, too.

Janie said...

Scott - me, too...

Turtle - Girl, I had you going? You should have seen me going! I was a crazy woman! Yup, as soon as I get back from Tulsa today and Houston tomorrow, I'm taking Zack in THIS WEEK to get chipped. Thanks for dropping by.

Hey, George - he does have tags, with both MLH and my cell numbers on them. But the word "reward" is a great idea. I think I'll get that done. Thanks so much!

Gwynne said...

Glad it turned out so well! Even if he were microchipped, tattooed, and tagged so that he could be returned, the heat and snakes sound like bigger threats to his survival.

Janie said...

Hey, Gwynne! Great to hear from you! Thanks for your thoughts, girl.

Panhandle Poet said...

Ah, but don't ya love blue quail? Of course they'll run a dog from here to the sunset!

Sandy Kessler said...

I have some paintings of quail . It's a little thing i collect always fascinated by them..may I link to your blog ?I love reading it and find your comments fun as well. or thanks and have a great and blessed one !!

Janie said...

Poet - I do love blue quail. They are the wild, or on a plate!;)

Sandy - of course you may link to my blog!