Shortly after trading driving duties with Veronica, she got caught in one of Texas' infamous speed-traps. This had happened to me once before, right after crossing the state line, where the New Mexico highway limit of 75 drops to the Texas 70. But even that went well, with Veronica getting off with a warning. We were still feeling really good about this trip.
Around lunchtime, though, we got a call from Amanda. Right away, I knew something was wrong from the quaver in her voice. And my suspicions were confirmed when she started with, "I have some bad news." She explained that she and Brian had taken Memphis and Fin with them to look in on their friends' house outside of town, for whom they were house as well as dog-sitting. Everything was going well until Brian was locking the gate while holding onto Memphis' leash, when he suddenly bolted after something, jerking free of Brian's hand. She said that Memphis was so fast they didn't even see which direction he ran. They spent a couple hours looking for him and handing out their contact information to neighbors in case anyone saw him. It was at that point that she called us, waiting to see if he'd come back to their friends' house.
I told her not to worry, that he'd just sniffed something irresistible and hadn't gone far.
"He'll probably come back once he realizes no one's chasing him. When he does, just call him sternly and don't chase him. Once he knows it's not a game, he'll probably come back sulking." That's what he does with us, anyway, and I had no reason to think he wouldn't also with them. She said she'd keep us updated, and I filled in Veronica--who was still driving--what had happened.
Countless Successful "Escapes",
But Always Came Home Happy and Smelly
Since Memphis (a half-beagle, half-Basset Hound) is also ruled by his nose, I felt pretty certain a similar situation would occur, and he'd either find his back to Brian and Amanda, or they'd find him and he'd come trotting along ready for some water and a nap. As it turns out, I was half-right. Later that afternoon, Amanda called to say that Memphis had walked up to the front door of the house where they could see him, but as soon as she came to the door he ran away again, again disappearing before they could really see where he'd gone.
"He thinks you're playing, the dork," I told her chuckling and trying to reassure her. The quaver in her voice had gotten worse, and I could tell she was really upset about the whole thing. "Leave some food and water out, maybe leave the front door open, and he'll come back again. Just don't chase him." She said they'd do that, and go out looking for him again later. But now I was worried, and so was Veronica. What if he wasn't playing and ran away because he was looking for us? Where would he go surrounded by strange smells, sights, and people. She'd said they were "outside of Santa Fe" but how far? Northern New Mexico has coyotes, wild cats, and even snakes. Immediately, Veronica asked if I wanted to turn around, and immediately I said no. This might be the last time we'd get to see her Mamaw for who knows how long, maybe even ever. Plus, my little brother was expecting us to pick him up and take him away from an empty house in Mississippi for the summer. Besides, Amanda said most of the neighbors already knew he was missing, and clearly, he wasn't going far. He was bound to run up to someone because he likes people so much (especially kids). However worried I was already, it seemed silly to turn back for a dog who was probably just sniffing around someone's back yard.
We tried to be proactive to keep our minds from worrying too much. Veronica kept driving, and I called the shelter we'd adopted Memphis from--All Ear's Basset Sanctuary--who had him micro-chipped as a puppy. We had the contact information for the micro-chipping company at home, and I was hoping they'd pass it on to us. They did one better, though. They contacted the company themselves to let them know Memphis was missing and reassured us they'd send someone to look for him too.
|Memphis and his Grandma on Thanksgiving|
|With the help of a picture, Memphis sightings began to come in.|