Mountains, Lost Dog, and a Happy Ending

Mark and I jumped into the minivan on Saturday and headed for the mountains.  We usually throw in the sleeping bags–just in case we wander too far. 

Our intention was to take a day trip to scout out a nice private future camp spot for ourselves and the “kids”.    Sometimes I need to escape from the city.  Don’t get me wrong, the city is great.  We have access to beautiful parks, museums, live music, book readings, festivals, and so much more.  More importantly, living near a large city means survival for our construction business.

Mark seems to enjoy city life.  Crowds and traffic don’t rattle him at all.  I, on the other hand, prefer the country–specifically, the mountains.  While growing up, I’ve lived in large cities and extremely rural areas.  I’ve often wondered if people, who have never left the city, have any idea how bright the stars look at night in the middle of the Rocky Mountains? 

At the age of fifteen, I lived in Kremmling, Colorado.  We had no telephone, no television or radio reception, and the closest neighbor was twenty minutes down the washboard dirt road.  Kremmling is where my love for the mountains really blossomed.    I remember walking Gore Canyon and the only sound I could hear was the sound of my boots crunching in the snow and the wind whistling through the pines.  Herds of elk were commonly sighted outside the kitchen window while eating breakfast. 

There is just something mystical about the mountains.   I can clear my mind when I’m far from the city and far from people.  I’m more aware. 

Mark and I ended up driving more than two hours looking for a place to eat lunch.  We veered off the main road and took a winding dirt road which we followed for another forty minutes.

I’m somewhat picky–must have mountain view, sun, no people close by, and a river.

We were getting pretty hungry, so we put John Denver on pause and pulled into this spot…

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No plans means no good home cooked food.  We had stopped at a market in a small rural town to pick something up from the deli for lunch.  Big mistake.  Store cooked fried chicken only tastes good when you’re starving.  The broccoli salad I bought made up for what the chicken lacked in flavor.

This spot reminds me of a scene from The WaltonsThe Waltons is one of my favorite old television programs.  Corny?  Whatever.  I always wanted to marry John Boy Walton.  I still do.

Sadly, the creek that runs by this spot is quite a steep hike down, so after gobbling up our Kit Kat bar (hey, if we’re eating store bought fried chicken, we might as well go all the way!), we moved on. 

Finally, I spotted the perfect camp site.

“STOP!” I shouted, “This is it!”

Mark obediently spun the van around , and I jumped out the door before he had come to a complete stop.  I couldn’t climb down the river bank fast enough–not an easy feat in a sundress and a pair of Jibs.  Mark was unloading the camp chairs, as I stared out over the river…
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We sat here and stared for quite a while.  Few words were exchanged.  At times, Mark can be quite verbose.  Thank God and Buddha, Mark had toned it down some.

 Read and See More Here….

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We decided to drink in the scene and be in the moment.

I did a little meditation and then I heard a commotion behind me on the dirt road.  I saw a car driving by, then noticed the car was slowing down to a stop.  I saw the passenger open her door and then I realized she was staring at me and then at something on the side of the road.  I stood up, and the car drove off.  Then, I saw the dog.  It appeared to be a Yellow Labrador.

I knew there were no other people around, so I whistled and called out.  The dog ran toward me, and she appeared exhausted.  She was wet on one side of her body and she was making an odd coughing or wheezing noise.  She looked weak and scared.  There was no tail wagging.  Something felt wrong.

After a few minutes of exchanging our “What do you think we should dos?”, we loaded her up into van and started driving.  We were looking for people who appeared to be looking for a lost dog.  We spotted a few Jeeps driving slowly down the side of the road, the men in the Jeeps were looking back and forth from one side of the road to the other.

I shouted out, “Hey, did you guys lose something?”

“Why, what did you find?”, came the smiling response.

“A dog.”

The guys kind of laughed and shouted out to the Jeep in front, “Hey, did one of you lose a dog?”

I wasn’t about to let this go on, so we drove off.  I knew the Yellow Lab we found was well trained, and a dishonest person might claim her for their own.  She was wearing tags with a veterinarian phone number, and she was currently licensed.  Somebody would be missing her terribly.  We decided to drive the two hours back to our home, and contact the vet as soon as possible.

The vet was closed, so I left a message.  I found the vet’s office online and sent an email as well.  I never received a response that night, so after feeding the dog, we plugged in a heater to warm the cottage, and gave her a queen sized comfortor to sprawl out on.  She was exhausted.  The cough was still there, and I was starting to become more concerned.  I wondered if she was ill and needed medication, and I wondered if her owner/owners were in trouble somewhere in the woods.  My intution told me she was simply lost, but when I went to bed that evening, the dog started to howl.  It was a sad and lonely howl.

Sunday morning, Mark and I were cooking pancakes, when we received a call from the vet!  Aw, her name is Roxy (What is it with me and animals named Roxy?) , and she’s four years old!   The vet gave me the details– owner’s name, address, and phone numbers.  The vet had tried to reach the owner to no avail.  I tried as well.  No answer.  I left a message and waited.   Roxy waited too…

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Mark played ball with Roxy.  Sean and Olivia came over and met and played with her too.

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As the day wore on, I started to second guess myself.  What if the dog belonged an injured hiker?  Should I call the police?  I even threw a few tarot cards.  Everything looked to moving along well.  It seemed clear we’d have contact by that evening. 

Around 7 PM Sunday evening, Roxy’s owner called.  He is a single man, father of two, and a very relieved owner of one missing female Yellow Labrador 🙂  He drove two hours to pick her up in the city.  The reunion was emotional.

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Happy Reunion

Her owner looked so relieved.  He was very grateful–an all around nice guy.  We visited for a bit before they left.   He took full responsibility for what had happened.  He was camping with a group of forty-five people, and thought somebody was watching Roxy when he drove off, but unbeknownst to him, she gave chase, and eventually lost him.   He and his fellow campers searched and posted signs to try and find her.  He hadn’t thought of checking messages when he went to town to post signs, but Sunday evening, he checked, and heard my message.  YAY!

He asked if he could do anything for us–he was overwhelmed and teared up, at which point I asked if I could give him a hug.   We asked that he just keep taking care of Roxy.  I have no doubt that she is very loved.  The two of them are obviously a team.  Roxy jumped up in her king cab pickup truck and made herself comfy.  Mark and I gave her a few pats and hugs to say goodye.

I love a happy ending.

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11 thoughts on “Mountains, Lost Dog, and a Happy Ending

  1. Sarah: Me too! Oh, and side note: When I told the owner she howled. He looked shocked and said she had never done that before. Thank goodness she had the vet tags and was licensed or this could have been a miserable ending.

  2. Gosh, I want to comment on the beautiful pictures of your trip and the great time it sounds like you had, but I can’t get over the great story of Roxy!

    The picture of Roxy and her owner is so great. You can see the joy in both their eyes! I’m SO glad this turned out to be a happy ending. I bet next time he goes camping he won’t let her out of his sight. 🙂

  3. Your campsite looks marvelous! all the things I love about nature is there. The trees, the peace, the majesty.. the beautiful river.
    I bet you can pick your trout out. Do you look for the fish in the streams? I never knew you could see them.. find them… just by looking… Til my husband showed me. Now I always look for them.

    glad you were able to help Roxy back to her home. She’s a lucky dog. playing ball.. nice blanket to lay on.. food..

  4. Okay, first of all this was an EXCELLENT blog. You should send it somewhere to get published. By the time I reached the end, I had big fat tears in my eyes.

    I really loved the picture of your feet and Mark’s in the chair with the “Thank the Buddha” line.

    I love a happy ending too 🙂

  5. LAUREN: I am happy she found us too 🙂 She was so much fun–I’d like to have a dog just like her. Except she hated Giovanni and tried to take his head off.

    NIKI: It is so beautiful up in the mountains here. Washington state is one of the four states with the highest mountains in the US. Roxy’s owner looked like he had been to hell and back.

    KIM: hey, fellow trout fisherwoman! Yeah, I look for them, but I have a hard time seeing them. Mark keeps pointing them out and I’m like, “I CAN’T SEE THEM!”, so we go back and forth for like ten minutes until I say, “OH! LOOK I SEE THEM!”

    MELANIE: Thank goodness the owner was alive and well. We had agreed to call the police Sunday night if we didn’t hear anything. Our worst fear was of an injured or dead hiker.

    MAVEN: I can’t imagine trying to write to be published. Oh my gosh, I edit my blogs to a point, and then I find twenty more errors and simply give up.
    My family tells me I’m a good story teller. I’m a face to face talker and I need to use my entire body to express myself.
    I think we need more happy endings!

  6. Hey Sis,
    What a great story. Yes, you are a fantastic writer and story teller. I am your biggest fan, didn’t know that did ya?

    Love,
    Karla

  7. KARLA:
    A real LIVE fan? No, I didn’t know. Why thank you!
    I am grateful that I have a sister who thinks enough of me to leave such a kind comment.

    I enjoyed our talk yesterday.

    Love you,
    Nina

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