[Devoted Blog Fans, I apologize for my radio silence – I’ll try to get back in gear; in the meantime, here’s my Brother the Animal Control Officer with a guest post.]
Okay, I will make this brief, otherwise it will go on forever.
First off, it turns out there is a cop killer on the loose, and therefore every local animal control agency locked their ACOs [Animal Control Officers] indoors since ACOs are not armed, and no one was out today to take care of animal problems. Except my agency. We didn’t get the memo. So when I got to work this morning and got a call about a huge brown dog trapped in a canyon, that had been there for at least 3 days, I went to the canyon. And I saw a huge brown Akita roaming around down in the canyon. I called to it, and he looked at me and ran away, into the underbrush.
So I hike into the canyon and track it for an hour, seeing it several times, getting close several times, and seeing it ignore my offered treats and disappearing into the brush, along the length of a heavily overgrown riparian canyon, complete with several abandoned homeless encampments and lots of growth where this dog was hiding from me.
At one point I cornered it in an area next to a fence and an empty building, but what was on my mind was, last week another lost Akita tried to kill me in its own front yard, and now, I am deep into an empty canyon in an area where no one would hear me scream, if I was the kind of person to scream, while being eaten by an Akita. So over the phone I check our lost dog list; yup, a family had reported a huge brown Akita missing 5 days ago, miles away from where I was but based on description, it’s their dog.
The dog has been in this canyon for days; it isn’t going anywhere else. I call the family. They drive down, I meet them in a parking lot, and Dad hikes and scrambles through the canyon with me. And we see the dog, and he sees us, and he continues to run away and hide. Dad tells me, yeah, “xxxxx” is 13, senile, mostly deaf and somewhat blind. Combine that with usual dog behavior when they are lost in the wild and often go a little feral due to fear, I’m not surprised the dog is hiding from us.
I leave Dad there to try to catch him himself and do some other stuff, but he can’t find the dog anymore and goes back to work. Then I meet up with my partner, who has magic and scared-dog wrangling skills that simply can’t be taught. We go to a lookout point and see the dog down in the canyon. She calls to him, and he looks up at us and runs away and hides. We hike into the canyon (this is my 4th time so I know where the hidden drainage holes and the rest of the ankle breakers are) and track the dog and corner him next to a fence and an empty building.
My partner sweet talks him into a leash, hikes out one way, I hike out the other way to the truck and the dog jumps into the front seat of my truck and drinks a couple of bowls of water and scarfs a handful of beef jerky treats (they are delicious.)
I call the dog’s Mom, meet her at her house and she gets the dog back. The neighbors are all out in the street and ecstatic, they have all been searching for this dog for days, the family has 4 small kids who have been in turmoil since their dog went missing, one of them is special needs with an extraordinary bond with this dog, everyone is crying. I was crying (just a little, and no one else noticed, so it’s cool) as I wrote Mom a fixit ticket to license the dog. The dog was pretty stoked to be back with his children.