Gibby did a terrible thing today. When my back was turned, he ran away. I was distracted because the man who hunts my woods was angry about the timber cruisers and had spent the day pulling his hunting blind and his tree stands out of the woods. He was putting the final touches on his two truckloads when I arrived and he was so angry he barely spoke to me. His wife didn't even say hello. I was thinking about why he was so angry instead of paying attention to Gibby when I was feeding the chickens - in fact, I was distracted enough that I'm not sure I put the feed wagon away before I left. Anyway, while I wasn't thinking about him, Gibby disappeared.
I don't know what made me realize he was gone, but I thought he would return when I called him - so, I called and called. No Gibby. I covered the whole barnyard, calling in each direction, no Gibby. At that point, I was ready to believe the worst, and walked down the driveway and along the side of the road, expecting at any moment to see Gibby laying in the ditch. Phew, no Gibby.
My hunter friend came back to get his last vehicle and we chatted. I think he realized he had been foolish, said he should have talked to me before he spent the day ruining his hunting season, and then he started helping me look for Gibby. More calling and looking all over. The hunter took his four wheeler down the lane toward the woods, but returned when he saw three deer standing in the lane, deer who wouldn't be there if Gibby was there. He came back and then jumped over the riding ring gate (I can't believe I put the water trough right in front of the gate so it can't be opened) and went calling across the north end of the orchard. I pushed part of the fence down so I wouldn't have to jump the gate, and went through the riding ring and then through the orchard to the south side and out into one of the overgrown pastures. No sign of Gibby anywhere. The horses were looking at me like no one had been out in the pasture with them for a long time (perceptive critters, horses are), and there was no dog with them. I gave up. Went back to the car and drove over to my neighbor's house to the west - she's a dog lover - and asked her to keep an eye out for Gibby. I had heard barking from that direction earlier and kind of hoped Gibby had gone over there to visit her dogs. Turns out they had just returned from a trip and the barks were welcome home barks. After one last return and look around the barns and in the dog pen, I took my mother home.
I gave Mother one of those horrid microwaved tv dinners so I could hurry back to the farm. I was so upset that I wasn't a very pleasant dinner companion. Mother suggested I might want to stay at the farm overnight - and I didn't know if that was to look for Gibby or get my grumpy self away from her.
I took a new rug hooking book and the ATHA newsletter with me. I was expecting hours of waiting with no Gibby, but Gibby surprised me - he was waiting uncomfortably in the driveway when I drove in. It was dark out and he was caught in the headlights - not knowing who was coming, so he was kind of dancing around. I spoke to him as I opened the gate and he came running. First he ran to me, then on past me to the car. I think he was really disappointed that the other dogs and Mother were not there. I wanted to drive past the gate and didn't want Gibby to get hurt, so I let him into the back seat of the car. He anxiously sniffed all over the seat and barely responded to me at all. I petted him enough to learn that he was soaking wet. Maybe he'd gone back to the little pond in the woods for a swim.
I checked the dog pen and learned that Gibby had already eaten the two dinners I had left for him, so he must have been back for at least a little while. I put him back in the pen, and told him I was sorry. For the next month or more, through the multiple different kinds of hunting seasons, I'm going to have to keep him on a cable again. He looks way too much like a deer to be running in the woods without getting shot.