I let Mars and Max roam free in my unfenced backyard to play with their friend Bowser from the house next door. They played merrily for about 45 minutes before they decided to venture into the woods behind my house. I went after them, but they were quickly out of sight.
I stayed in the yard, whistled, called their names (as if they respond to them...), and waited. Bowser has roamed free through the neighborhood for the last 3 years. Several times before he has followed the kids and I onto the trails, left us after a couple of mile, and then wandered back home sometime later. He always explores, and he hasn't gone missing. So I wasn't too concerned initially because I knew Bowser could lead my boys home.
So I waited about 15 minutes, although it seemed like hours. I had all 4 kids of my kids plus 1 extra with me at home; I couldn't just leave them to go chase dogs. But I cou;dn't just let my almost 6 month old puppies disappear either. So I herded the kids inside, threatened to withold dinner for anyone that left the house before I returned, and started hiking the trails to find the dogs. I made a quick 1 mile loop with no sightings. I looked down over the sports fields. Nothing.
I returned home dejected. I didn't know what to do, and I didn't want to just sit and hope they might find their way home. I loaded the kids into the truck and we went searching. We drove around for about 15 minutes, but no luck. I was beginning to think I'd never see my boys again...
We returned home, resigned to a dogless fate. I felt awful. I just adopted these dogs from the shelter 3 weeks ago. I have been given the responsibility to love and shelter and feed and care for them, and I lose them in less than a month.
We got back home and the kids went to the backyard to play and - THERE THEY WERE!!! Right where they had left from more than an hour prior. Except they were soaking wet, as was Bowser, and Max had lost his leash (both dogs were still leashed when they left). I'm guessing they must have ventured to the Cahaba River, about a mile away through the woods, to go for a swim.
Well, I guess all is well that ends well.... Those boys...