Tobie’s Big Adventure…

Normally on laundry day Tobie and I swing past Ian’s place, I start the machine going, and then we take our walkie. He really doesn’t like hanging around inside so I normally tie him off outside while I finish washing and hanging out the wet clothes. Tobie finds this boring but acceptable, and it has never caused any problem.

But this morning I came out of the Cave with my hamper of wet clothes, and didn’t find a dog on the end of a rope. I just found…


…a rope. Probably lunging after a rabbit, Tobie had broken his leash.

This is technically my fault: cheap nylon rope isn’t forever and I clearly should have checked it more carefully. Also I wasn’t that worried because: a) it’s hardly the first time he has gotten away from me, though it’s been a long time, b) the leash broke near the collar so he wasn’t trailing a lot of rope he could tie himself up with, c) he’s a nearly-grown Anatolian mix (with a tag with a phone number) and it would take extraordinary bad luck for him to come to actual harm. This isn’t like the case of that unfortunate Sheltie: Tobie’s not listed on the local food chain as anything but a predator. And d) I’ve been thinking of loosening the leash law anyway just to see (under conditions as controlled as possible) what would happen when he crossed paths with a rabbit. Not whether he would chase the rabbit – of course he would chase the rabbit – but whether he would come back when he was done.

Oh, and e) there are no cattlemen around for him to piss off so that danger is off the table at the moment.

So I wasn’t that worried. But I am a bit of a control freak, and I’m really sick and tired of my pets finding new and different ways to die young, and I was a bit pissed with him for breaking his leash and with myself for not allowing for the possibility that he could. And there are ways for a big dog to kill itself out here. So my morning was off to a not-great start.

It was already getting hot. I walked and called and walked and called until I got really thirsty, then I went to the Lair, drank, grabbed my trail canteen and walked and called a whole bunch more. Unless he had made a beeline for the Klondike there was no way he didn’t know I was out there calling for him. But there was no sign of any dog anywhere. Tobie was pointedly ignoring me.

Finally, sore and pissed, I headed back to the Lair intending to call neighbors and ask them to keep their eyes open for him. He would come home when he did, or he wouldn’t. Out of my hands. We walk the Gulch together all the time and he’s not stupid: He knows where he lives.

I was on my way down the ridge with the Lair in sight when I heard a big dog panting behind me: No question who this was. I had already determined that I wasn’t going to show myself mad at him even though I kind of was. And that was wise, because I know him and he wasn’t entirely sure of the reception he was going to get. But at least he didn’t play keep-away.

He was…thirsty.

He drank and flopped…

And then got up and finished off his water bowl, which I had topped off at breakfast…


…and now he’s sacked out, probably for the rest of the morning.

For the record he failed the off-leash test as thoroughly as Little Bear ever did – except that he did eventually come back. And I need to make a better leash.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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6 Responses to Tobie’s Big Adventure…

  1. RD says:

    I walk my dog with one of those retractable leashes. It has 24 feet of retracting lead, plus about 2 feet of leash that doesn’t retract. I replaced the 2 foot leash part with a bungee cord. That way when he goes after something and hits the end it doesn’t snap his neck.

  2. GPS tracking collar. Worth every penny.

  3. matismf says:

    What size nylon rope do you want? Diameter and length?
    Amazon will provide.

  4. Joel says:

    Already handled, MM. I decided this morning to get something better than hardware store line, since Tobie’s apparently going to be on it for a while longer and I’d rather this not happen again.

    I used to just replace Little Bear’s poly rope from time to time but that gets old. Could just buy a strong leash but I’ve never found one whose hardware impressed me so I like to make my own. The standard clips they put on commercial leashes are easily bent or broken: I make my leashes with horse harness fittings and not even LB could break one of those.

  5. Spud says:

    Actually, in my opinion he passed the freedom test with flying colors. He came back to the roost.
    Tying him up would only lead to not coming back again.
    A dog on a chain , only makes them wish to run.
    If you want a city ghetto dog , then keep him tied.

  6. Joel says:

    Respectfully, Spud, I disagree. This isn’t a freedom issue, it’s a “do you want your dog to live” issue. Dogs aren’t people, they’re not smart enough to be. Nobody ever let a big dog run free out here without the dog coming to harm sooner or later. This is a great place to be a big dog, until something kills it. And it’s our responsibility to protect our dogs.

    Here’s where philosophy and reality come into conflict: I can love freedom and still think giving total freedom to a dog in a lethal environment is a bad thing to do.

To the stake with the heretic!