When my daughter and her husband take long trips, they first drop their dog Baloo at our farm.
Baloo is a mixed breed. His mother is a black lab and his father comes from a good neighborhood.
Baloo is a very nice dog, weighing in at 75 pounds. He is well-trained. Baloo will not eat his dinner until he hears “okay.” He can sit, shake, lie down and will even endure the humiliation of holding a small dog bone placed on his nose until told “okay.” He does not jump, he stays off the furniture and never eats food left out on the table or counter.
Baloo is nothing like the dogs I owned growing up. As a youngster I remember our Irish setter slipping into the neighbor’s kitchen and taking their Roast Leg of Lamb off the stove top while it was cooling. It really brought our neighborhood together as we chased Brick, proudly mouthing the meat, from one cul-de-sac to another.
Baloo is much loved so caring for him comes with heavy responsibility. Living on a farm, we cannot let him loose. Theoretically, Baloo will come when called but that is too much of a risk. If anything happened to Baloo, my relationship with my daughter would be forever strained. (“Sure, Mom, you SAY you love me but you lost my dog.")
So when Baloo disappeared into the cornfields on a pitch black Saturday night, I was panic stricken. I was combining Baloo’s evening walk with a visit to the corn silos because I had not heard from my husband and I worried he was caught in the corn auger. There was no moon so it was dark. We live on a 500 acre farm with lots of machinery but NOT A SINGLE WORKING FLASHLIGHT. Off I went, Baloo sporting his killer spiked collar and me with only my iPhone light to guide the way.
I found Ron who was fine and then disaster struck. Baloo heard a deer and charged. He is so strong he pulled me to ground and dragged me through 2 feet of standing water in the barnyard (the residue of major rainstorms). I finally let loose. Baloo was gone. Fortunately my still lit cell phone fell on gravel, rather than disappearing into a watery grave.
My husband retrieved the special whistle that theoretically Baloo is trained to answer. HAHAHAHA. No response. I would have traded Baloo’s entire repertoire of tricks for him responding to that whistle. I called a neighbor who showed up with 3 flashlights. Too late. Baloo was long gone. Ron spent the night in the car at the barnyard in case Baloo returned. I worried someone would find Baloo and call the number on his collar (Molly’s cell phone). She would get the message “We found your dog” and then I really would be in the doghouse.
At the first sign of daylight, Ron took the whistle and started walking through the cornfields. He whistled and whistled and finally hear a meek little “arf”. He whistled again and followed the arf trail to discover Baloo entangled in the cornstalk by his leash.
What a relief! Ron informed me this whole episode could have been avoided if I had jerked Baloo’s leash when he started to run so the collar spikes could do their work. I responded it was a little hard to jerk the leash when I was on my stomach being dragged through standing water.
My daughter and son-in-law Andy had different reactions to the adventure. Andy asked if I was okay. My daughter wanted to know what kind of flashlight I wanted for Christmas.