Thursday, Feb 26 at Caballo Loco Ranch (pictures at the end of the post)
We set out at 8am for a long walk. It is still cool but sunny, and so quiet….so very quiet.
I head to a path we had explored before, thinking we could explore farther today. There are many, many old mines on this property and I’d like to find one.
It’s an easy trail, climbing up slowly, around the mountain. I want to get to other side of the mountain. Typical, no?
Suddenly about 200 feet away, four deer bound away, startled by our presents. The dogs are on the extend leashes, but it makes no difference to Shiloh at a moment like this…he bounds off after the deer, straight up the mountain and unless I want to be dragged through the brambles and cactus, I have to let go of the leash because I can’t hold him back. I call and call to no avail, and in a moment he’s lost to my vision.
I keep calling but I hear nothing. I feel I have no choice but for Joy and I to follow him up. I keep calling but there is no sound from up there. My hope is that his leash gets caught in the brambles and he gets stuck somewhere. Somewhere not too far away….
I call and encourage him to bark as I ‘woof woof’ at him. Am I heading in the direction that he went? I have no idea because we have to work our way around groups of picky things. I try not to think of the negative things that could happen.
Finally in the distance I think I hear a woof. I head us towards it, encouraging more of the same by continuing to bark, myself. Another woof…I’m sure this time, far to my left, and up, up, up. Joy and I are making our way with much difficulty through sharp brambles, beds of Prickly Pear Cactus, and stands of Ocotillo with their sharp thorns.
“Shiloh we are coming! Woof Woof!” He answers! We are headed in the right direction, and getting closer.
About a half an hour after he took off, I get my first glimpse of him, above me, standing in the middle of a grouping of Prickly Pear. The look on his face says “Help Me Mommy!”
We work our way up. “We’re coming Shiloh. It’s ok, we’re coming!”
Finally we reach him. I check him over for injuries, but he seems fine. His leash is well woven into and among the cactus. When I find the handle, it’s loaded with cactus pickers. I have to unwind it all and pull out the stickers before I can grasp it. I get stuck a number of times in the process.
We go off into a clearing where I can check him over better and find not a single picker in him. (later in the day I found one prickly spine in the top of each of their right paws.)
I realize we are at the very top of the mountain I had planned to go around, but I see no sign of the trail we were on or any trail for that matter. All I know to do is to slowly pick our way down the side of the mountain, believing that we will come to the trail eventually….and we do….and my desire to get to the other side of the mountain has evaporated. All I want now is for the three of us to get safely down to the road and back home…and we do.
Oh how I wish I would have thought to take his picture when I saw him standing there looking so pitiful in the Prickly Pears, but I was thinking of safety at the time. I did think to get a picture of the ranch from our high point after the rescue:
And here is Shiloh resting later.
Here he is looking contrite.
And here is Joy, who remained the proper lady through it all:
It’s not always that easy being a dog’s mommy!