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The escape artist

Our 10-year old dog is the best dog ever.

Everyone who knows her agrees. We got her as a 10-week-old puppy and she not only potty trained herself (or was potty trained before we got her), but also never chewed, never dug, quickly learned not to jump on people and when she occasionally got out of the yard becaus of a windblown open gate, she wandered around to sit on the front porch for a different view of the neighborhood.

We decided about a year ago to start putting out feelers for another dog. As our dog ages, we concluded that a younger dog would keep her young a little longer and that she in turn would surely impart her wisdom on how to be a good dog.

Or that was the theory.

A few weeks before we moved into our new house, I found a rescue dog that fit our stringent criteria that we had established with the rescue organization a year or so ago. A female dog who is friendly, not a puppy, gets along with other dogs, a cat and small children and of our preferred breed — Belgian shepherd, and was within driving distance so we weren‘t flying a dog cross country.

When she popped up, we knew we had to jump on this opportunity. We did our home study, and then I drove to retrieve the dog who had resided in Boise to this point.

I came back with a high-energy Belgian mix who may be the happiest dog who ever existed, though possesses all the opposite qualities of our 10-year old dog. She wasn’t house-trained (we *might* have this one licked), she chews on anything she can find, she is sure she can locate China through our backyard, and she hasn’t said hello unless she has jumped on you.

And this last weekend when she managed to pry a fence board off of our fence? She didn’t wander around to the front of the house for a new view like her companion did.

Instead, she ran.

A co-worker recently told me I needed to see the movie Marley and Me. It’s on my list.

Despite the fact that the first almost three weeks with our new dog consisted of a lot of hand wringing and children’s cries about things being chewed up, we were all terribly sad that our new girl was gone.

We phoned the animal control and filed a “lost dog” report. We phoned the area vets and gave our number and her description. We walked the area calling her name. We drove the surrounding areas. I contacted the rescue organization who still maintained her microchip information. I had fears of finding her — lying by the side of a road. Or getting a call that she had been hit by a car.

Part of this was my fault, too — when we adopted her we were going to get her a tag, but we hadn’t determined what her new name would be yet. So I waited, figuring I would do it next time we went to get dog food. That time hadn’t arrived yet.

Our Easter Sunday ended on a happy note when we were once again driving the local neighborhoods and my husband yelled, “Stop!”

There was a flier on a mailbox with our dog’s picture on it and a phone number. We called immediately and within an hour were reunited with her.

The family that rescued her from the streets had treated her like a princess during her time at their house, and I am not positive she wanted to come home to the house where she had a crate to sleep in at night and two kids who she competed with her for attention.

We thanked the family repeatedly (my son insisted she was a “mean dog” — likely thanks to her having chewed something of his) and were on our way.

Our 10-year old dog was thrilled to see her and they romped around the backyard upon reuniting while my husband shored up the fence. The next day we went and bought new tags for the animals all around. And the rescue organization sent us her microchip information that we could update.

All is well that ends well, I suppose. I am terribly thankful for the resources available out there locally for filing lost dog reports and ads (Tri-Cities Animal Control, the local vets, the Herald ads). But more thankful that there are other animal lovers out there who willingly took our girl in, spoiled her and made the extra step to help her out by putting fliers up everywhere.

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