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Updated: 01/05/2011 @ 4:02pm

My daughter’s dogs got out.

Typically, this would not be my problem.  My daughter lives over a hundred miles away, but her dogs aren’t with her, they’re with us.

You don’t care why.

One of the dogs is a hyperactive Newfoundland named Rosie.  The other is a Black Lab/Godzilla mix that answers to the name of Stewie.

Actually, he doesn’t answer to his name, which is the problem.  He maybe doesn’t even know his name.  I’m not saying Stew is stupid, but when I think about his intellectual capacity, the first thought that crosses my mind is...lint.  Seriously.  His head is roughly the size and shape of a cement block and if you tap him on the head you hear an echo.  And not a regular echo, but more of a “Hello, hello, ello…,”Grand Canyon type echo.

Now, he has plenty of good qualities.  He’s…okay, to be honest, he doesn’t have a lot of good qualities, but he’s nice to my granddaughter and he hasn’t run through a screen door in weeks, so I guess I can understand my daughter’s attachment to him, but he and I are not buddies.  Mainly because he likes to run and has very selective hearing.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched him escape from a leash or pen and disappear over the horizon, bounding gleefully along in pursuit of rabbits or butterflies, with me panting red-faced and out of breath in pursuit, screaming his name with aching lungs.  And most of the time, there are usually two dogs disappearing over the horizon, because Rosie the Newfoundland is susceptible to peer pressure.

When we’re dog-sitting, I let them out to frolic one at a time.  It’s a little time consuming, but it’s either that or strap them into harnesses and have them pull my pickup around the yard.  We had a two day blizzard last week and in the midst of the storm, I went out to do dog chores.  I was slogging through a foot of fresh snow, my collar turned up against the biting wind, with a few pounds of dog food and a fresh pail of water in either hand.  The dogs saw me coming and started leaping about and woofing.

Did I mention the woofing?  There’s a lot of it.

I unlatched the gate, let Rosie out, and then held the gate shut with one hand while I set the water pail down and emptied the sack of dog food.  Stew was galumphing about in his usual Stew fashion and on one pass, he hit the pail with his head and drenched my entire leg. 

After that, things get a little blurry. The next thing I remember is running through snow drifts, screaming at the top of my lungs, “Stew, come!  Rosie, COME!”  These days, running is not my best thing, and even less so when there’s a foot of fresh snow and I’m wearing twelve layers of clothes. I got to the edge of the grove and stood gasping as the dogs disappeared into the blizzard.  Then I raced to my pickup and sped in pursuit.

That wasn’t as easy as it sounds.  First I had to start the tractor, let it warm up a bit so the engine wouldn’t explode, use the snowblower to clear a path to the garage and then out to the road, THEN climb in my pickup and speed in pursuit.

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