Miko helped to keep things interesting yesterday by slipping through the front door and taking off. I went after her and was joined by a neighbor down the street, but didn't get far before I realized there was no way we would be able to catch up with her.
I was headed back home to get the car when my father, who had just gotten home (my parents live across the street) and saw what was going on, pulled back out of the driveway. I hopped in, and as we were driving down our street, we saw Miko sprinting back from a small side street. But instead of turning right, which would lead her back home, she turned left, dashed across the street and up a trail on a hill.
I got out of the car, running in my socks, slippers in hand (I never had time to put my shoes on--luckily I always wear socks) and tried to follow her. The trail on the hill splits into 2 pathways. The one on the right is the one I always take the dogs on and leads to a large grassy park. We have taken Miko to that park so I figured she would take the path that was more familiar to her. But I was wrong. There was no sign of her.
This entire time, I was thinking, there's no way I'll catch her. Even if I see her, she's still too afraid of me to let me approach.
She was still wearing her harness with a leash attached, something we keep on her 24 hours. The only way we'd get her, I thought, would be if her leash got caught in something and she couldn't run away, which is something that somebody told me happened to another fearful dog. OR, she would come back home. I'd heard other stories about dogs bolting and coming back home on their own.
I headed back to the house with the plan to pack Boomer & Phoebe in the car (Miko likes both of them) and to drive around the area, maybe letting them off-leash (they are great off-leash) up on the trail to see if Miko would come to us that way. On the way back, another neighbor down the street asked me if I was looking for a black dog. He said he saw one running down the side street when he left to pick up his son. He had just returned with his son, so I knew that was "old" news since I had subsequently seen her running back up from that street. But I thought, thank god she was wearing a harness and leash because that would make people notice her a lot more.
When I got home,I called Tyler at work so he could call Animal Control to report a missing dog in case Miko was brought in. Then I called a friend at Paw Printz Pitbull Rescue who lives locally to ask her to come over and help. Apparently, she knows a lot of people because minutes later, she had rounded almost half a dozen other people to join the search.
But then my dad called me. Apparently, after I ran out of his car to take the trail on foot, he drove around to the end of the other pathway. And saw her just as she was coming down. He got out of his car and walked towards her, not with the expectation of catching her, but hoping that it would scare her into turning around and going back in the direction she came from. It worked because when he called me, he told me that Miko had turned around and was heading back home.
I wasn't sure if he meant that she was actually heading home or just in the direction of home. I knew I couldn't just leave the front door open for her because of Reese and Popeye. I could imagine Popeye barking in his excitement and just overwhelming her more. And Reese, though not a bolter is also not trained on recall, so if he slipped through the door, I'd have to focus my attention on him. So I took Boomer & Phoebe out to the garage, opened the garage door and let them out in front of the house off-leash, where they proceeded to sniff around like they often do. I hoped that their presence there would give Miko a sense of familiarity and security.
A minute later, I saw Miko come charging up the street towards us and I hoped that she would stop at our house and not just keep running. There was a white car that was keeping beside her, and when she swerved into our front yard, the car halted to a stop. They asked if that was our dog and I yelled yes. I wish I had time to thank them, but I was still focused on trying to get Miko into the house. She kept going to the front door when I was trying to get her to go into the garage. I didn't want to approach her to grab her leash in case it could cause her to take off again, so I kept calling Boomer & Phoebe to me, hoping she would follow.
I also knew I didn't want to close the garage door if I didn't have her leash because the sound of it might have freaked her out and caused her to bolt out again. So I opened the side door in the garage, which leads to the back yard, then stepped away from the door. Boomer & Phoebe immediately went through there and finally Miko, still very terrified, rushed through as well. I then closed the garage door, went out to the back yard, opened the back door, and Miko immediately went into the house.
She was safe. Panting like crazy, still worked up, limping a little on her left front leg (probably strained from the hard exertion), but safe. She went into her crate in the front room and stayed there for most the day. Even though she was gone for less than half an hour, I'm sure the adrenaline she felt in her fear was like she had run a 30-mile marathon.
I think my father saved the day, and maybe the people in the white car helped. I think they live around here and hope I see them soon so that I can thank them properly for not just caring about a runaway dog but also for getting involved.