I started off this morning with some fervent praying, though it wasn’t the sort of praying I particularly enjoy.  Shooter chewed through his leash (a very thick, traditional leash as opposed to a retractable one) and ran off this morning.  And we didn’t notice it for a while, because Shooter enjoys spending extended periods of time outside.

Mom didn’t notice until about ten minutes before we were supposed to leave for church.  I told her not to worry and called Alan to let him know that Shooter was gone but we were going to search for him.  Since Shooter had done the same thing last week, Alan told me which route he had taken, and so I started the Jeep and set off after him, praying that I would find Shooter (alive).  In retrospect, had Alan not had the same experience last week, I would not have called him to let him know that Shooter was gone.  I would have called him after Shooter had been found, because there’s no sense in worrying someone who is too far away to do anything.  Fortunately, Alan’s advice helped.

Less than 300 yards from the house, I spotted him sniffing at the ice about 60 yards from the road.  When I called his name, he perked up and froze.  He usually does this when he’s about to bolt.  Fortunately, he must have been ready to go home, because he ran toward me and we hopped back in the Jeep.  He immediately laid down and enjoyed the heat while I turned around and drove home, thanking God the entire time that Shooter was safe.  I didn’t scold him, in part because I was so happy that I wasn’t scraping him off of the road, and also because my aunt told me to never scold dogs upon their return, or else they won’t want to return the next time.

When I called Alan to let him know that Shooter had been found, he said that Shooter had also come the moment he called him (which is odd, because usually Shooter only comes if we ignore him, and runs away when we call him).  Shooter has also escaped a few times by bolting out the door when Maddie is let outside.  Alan managed to catch him with little effort simply by petting Maddie and giving her all of his attention, which immediately brought a very jealous Shooter sprinting back to the house.  While that has worked for us, I have the feeling we’ll need to add some more tricks to our repertoire.  I think he also simply needs some exercise, which may be his reason for seeking freedom at every available opportunity.  Usually when he escapes, he runs around for a bit, tires and decides he’s done (but usually, he waits to be picked up instead of walking toward whomever is chasing him).

Has your dog ever run off?  How did you lure him back home?