Yesterday was every dog owner’s nightmare: one of our dogs, now owned by a family in Marlborough, MA, opened the gate in his fenced yard and slipped away on Sunday. Brownie aka Topsfield Sanchu Spumoni of Spectrum escaped at 10:30am, crossed and ran along very busy streets, and was last seen at around 12:00 noon heading into the woods in an undeveloped section of the Marlborough. Bjorn and I joined the hunt in the early afternoon.
Brownie, doing what he likes best – running
Bjorn hiked the woods for miles with Pippin in the hope of attracting Brownie to a buddy. I drove a couple of our other dogs (Brownie’s littermate Stanley and another buddy Hoppy) and my friend Nancy Richmond all over the area, looking for the dog and talking to anyone we saw. I was pleasantly surprised by the helpfulness and compassion of nearly everyone we spoke to. We had to give up the search at 5:30pm in order to return some volunteers home, hydrate and develop a new strategy for our search. The owners also alerted Home Again (Brownie is microchipped) and stayed in constant contact with the local police and animal control officers. But there was no sign of the dog since noon.
While at home I posted on Facebook (something that happens maybe once a year), sent out emails, and basically contacted everyone I know to keep a lookout for him. The Home Again alert went out and my Facebook post was shared widely. Posters went up throughout the area he was lost.
At 6:30pm Bjorn was antsy and couldn’t sit home any more. We decided to grab a “used” dog bed cover – in hopes he would smell his buddies and come looking – and some treats and drove to Brownie’s last know location. Bjorn went into the woods for the third time and I stayed at the road calling Brownie, telling him I had biscuits and cookies. All was silent. At 7:30pm his family showed up, having come to the same idea that the best place to close the day was at the last place he was seen. We were discussing the next day’s search plan when what should appear: a very happy Brownie, trotting out of the woods, tail wagging and happy. He led us on a short, slow chase (he wasn’t quite ready to come home) but gladly let Bjorn put a slip lead over his head when finally caught. He jumped right into his family’s car and waited patiently while we celebrated his return.
Naughty, slippery, sneaky Brownie
Many times these stories have tragic endings – the dog never found, hit by a car, stolen – but it is a fantastic feeling when there is happy ending.
BTW, the family swears he’ll never have a leash off again! I doubt that is true but the situation reminds us of three things: 1) bassets are not slow – they can run quite fast and can certainly outrun a human; 2) bassets are slippery – being low to the ground they are hard to catch; and 3) bassets are resilient – Brownie was alone in dense woods for 8+ hours without being any worse for wear. In fact, he enjoyed himself tremendously. He just happens to be a bit naughtier and sneakier than most bassets.
We are glad you are home, Brownie!