Here's the thing. About two weeks ago some folks nearby sold their sheep. That wasn't the problem. The problem is that they took the sheep to their new home and left the guard dog, figuring they'd come back later for it, even though the sheep are the only family that dog has known. Rightly so, the dog was upset. The bigger problem with the situation was that the dog was social with the sheep, but not it's caretakers, so it wouldn't come up to them no matter what.
Where do you think the dog went after it's family went missing? You got it. Our place. We first spotted the dog going in the barn, running out with Moe and Alice hot on her heels a good week ago. Alice is sitting on her nest of soon to be goslings, so they weren't about to stand for an unfamiliar dog converging on their barn. This happened repeatedly.
Because the dog immediately ran off as soon as it saw us, I called the Ross County Dog Warden's office for help. Matt, from the Dog Warden's office, came over and put out the biggest have-a-heart-type trap I've ever seen and baited it with some dog food in hopes the dog would get trapped and they could figure out if it had a home or not. At the beginning, we didn't know if it was a stray or not, by the way.
After a few days of feeding raccoons, opossums, and stray cats, not to mention something subsequently being lured to the area and burrowing into Eldest's pigeon coop for a midnight bird snack, the dog still eluded the trap. At least the Dog Warden's office was able to find the dog's owners. That's how we found out why the dog was out galavanting around, by the way.
Yesterday I called the Dog Warden again, letting them know that the dog was still roaming. I had met the dog's owners when they came over earlier this week with Matt and company, and they had said at that time they had a dart they could use to shoot it, so it would fall asleep, they could catch it, and take it to it's new home. I thought that was going to be the solution. Obviously, the wiley dog outsmarted them.
This morning when I went out to check on the sheep, I saw Matt's truck in the driveway and him down at the corner of the pasture. He said he was able to dart the dog, but it ran over that way on the other side of the fence, and he was going to go in and find it. He also said the dog would only be out for 15 - 20 minutes, so time was ticking. If I hadn't been in my shorts and boots I'd have jumped in with him to look, but I did, and he was in not only up to my neck in weeds and stuff, but a bounty of poison ivy. Makes me itch just thinking about it.
When Matt came back and couldn't find the dog, I told him I'd go change into more appropriate clothes to battle poison ivy, ticks, chiggers, and *shudder* snakes in behind the pasture to try and be some help. As he went down the road to come in from the other direction, I went back to the fence, climbed up on the top, held my nose, and jumped in. Then I started swimming through the creepy crawlies, poison ivy, and couldn't help but think about *shudder* snakes. Thank goodness I didn't see one, but it was so wildly grown up, I'm sure they were in there.
After about 1 1/2 hrs I ironically had to start baking the dog biscuits for tomorrow's Farmer's Market, so it was up to Matt. He had the dart gun anyway, and I was only armed with my cell phone and a leash. I had no idea where he was in the thick of it anymore, and could only hope he wasn't being held down by snakes while mondo sized grasshoppers beat him with poison ivy.
Then it happened. A miracle. One of the other men from the Dog Warden's office came knocking and said they finally got the dog, that it was on it's way to the owner's home, and they would present them with not only their dog, but more than likely a fine to go with it. I am so happy the Ross County Dog Warden's office was able to catch the dog and get it back to it's owners!
You know, what it comes down to is being a responsible pet owner. It's not the dog's fault it's completely unsocialized when it comes to anything but sheep. It's like the dog was plunked down with the flock when it was a puppy, and was taken care of from a distance with food and water left for it, but no human interaction. I don't pretend to be a perfect pet owner, especially since our dogs go completely nuts when anyone comes over or knocks on the door, but I do make sure to keep them in check. I also know that if they went missing I'd do anything I could to find them, and if I knew where they were, and couldn't get them myself, I'd ask the Dog Warden's office for help. Not leave them to roam for weeks, while leaving food and water in hopes of eventually catching them. Dog Warden's of the world are here to help us, folks, even if it's to get our own pets that have gone off.