Sunday, March 18, 2012

Free at Last!


Ever since we adopted Willa back in October, she has been inside or on a leash. The few times she was let loose, she would NOT come when called and had to be run down and grabbed. We worried that left to her own devices, she'd take off and we'd never see her again.

This worked fairly well all winter -- she got lots of walks and attention and seemed reasonably content. But with the coming of warmer weather, Willa became aware that there was a Whole Big World out there, full of tantalizing smells and she wanted to go and see 
about each and every one of them.
.
I tried tethering her on a long line while I worked in the garden but found that I was spending more time untangling her than doing my garden cleanup. When finally she got wound over, under, around and through a big weigelia below our driveway, I had to slide down a bank and under the bush to free her.  And all I could do was to unsnap the tether.

She was gone like a flash. I, on the other hand, was trapped in a tangle of dead branches. After about fifteen minutes of futile scrabbling, I had to admit that the way I'd come down was too slick to climb back up.

No one was home to come haul me out.  Finally,  I resorted to slithering on my belly under the tangle of branches to open ground. It wasn't a pretty sight.

Meanwhile, Willa was all over the mountain, yipping and yelping as she followed scent trails. I would catch sight of her and call and she would ignore me. Then she'd disappear again.

About four hours later she came home, exhausted, muddy, and radiantly happy.
 
She's been out for extended adventures for three days now -- enjoying the weather and chasing furry critters and lying on the porch in the sun, just like the other dogs. We'll still keep her in at night -- she'd be no match for a coyote. But we're all of us glad she can run free at last.
 
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26 comments:

R. Burnett Baker said...

I would be terrified at letting her go! Beautiful eyes1

Victoria said...

I'm glad Willa can enjoy running free, and even more glad that she knows how to get back home! She's such a darling dog.

Thérèse said...

Welcome to the world of the free Willa!

Ms. A said...

You are much braver than I would be. I'm sure Willa is happy about that.

Pat in east TN said...

Your own adventure sounds like it was quite stressful, but it's nice that Willa has earned her freedom. Hopefully she won't wander far when the newness wears off.

Jules said...

Oh dear I know the problem! Souk is restricted to a half acre paddock or the leash!
I am so happy for Willa that she knows where to come home to!
Wish I had been there to see you come out from under that vicious bush!!!!! xx

Brian Miller said...

smiles...i know she is immensely happy to be free...wow imagine the adventures and whole new world to explore it would be exciting so she will prob take some getting used to it...but it is good for her...

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a story about you and the bushes Vicki. How about a book about the adventures of Willa.
She's certainly given you some story lines.

We had a cat once that when we let him out, he would act like he didn't know me until he wanted to go in. Never understood that.
Sam

Jean Baardsen said...

Really enjoyed this post, and the great pics of Willa. What we do for our animals.... You do tell a great story!

Kath said...

As hard as it was on you, you did it Right! And that's why Willa is one happy dog, right?

Brenda said...

Oh my, what a tale! This made me giggle, although I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time. :) Willa is one lucky pup indeed. I miss having a dog that would just stay by side and not run off. Not possible with the three I have now - Lady runs at people and barks and scares them to death. Lucky and Katie would follow their nose and maybe or maybe not come home in four hours. But, they can't do that in the city. They're so "car-clueless," we think it's a miracle they survived long enough to get picked up off the road and taken to the shelter as puppies. But Willa is doing what dogs are meant to do, roam and smell and explore. Lucky Willa! :) And I'm glad you didn't get hurt in your battle with the weigelia!

karenb1963 said...

Your Willa and my Kady sound like two of a kind! Kady would love, love, love to be allowed to run free, but we live quite near 1) a very busy county highway, and 2) a sheep farm with a farmer who shoots to kill loose dogs.

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

I am imagining the scene while reading your story. What a day it was! :-)

JJRod'z

Vicki Lane said...

Fortunately we are surrounded by over a hundred acres of our our woods and pastures. And Willa has a collar with our phone number on it, should she end up at a neighbor's. I hope she'll be okay -- she was becoming totally neurotic being inside or on the leash. She's much calmer now.

Kristen Haskell said...

Annie my lab mix runs and runs and runs, there is no stopping her, when she is free. Eventually, she comes back but I worry about her getting hit. She is not lucky, like Willa, to live in the country. Willa, looks like one happy doggie.

100 Thoughts of Love said...

If there were to be an afterlife, I hope I come back as one of your dogs!

jennyfreckles said...

I guess she'll remember where she gets her food and cuddles and come running home for those.

Martin said...

She's in her element, Vicki.

Frances said...

Vicki, you've definitely taken me down a memory lane with this post about Willa.

I think that her retracing her own trail back to home, food, love and warmth show that she's a smart and very lovely dog.

My childhood beagles were able to roam free range, before there was anything called free range. One of my childhood tragedies involved what happened when one of these beloved pubs encountered a motor vehicle. I can still cry if I think about this for more than five minutes.

Lucky Willa can explore so many tempting scents and still remember the way home.

Please give her a pat from me.

Tammy said...

The little wretch didn't even look back when you were stuck in the bush? :-) I can really emphathize with you and the predicaments we can get into because of our pets. Hopefully little Willa will calm down now that she has freedom and will stick closer to home. Having so many acres as a buffer will help keep her safer. My girls have are lucky to have about three acres of dog proof fencing to run off leash in, but anytime we head off the property they are leashed, because they have very selective hearing!
Take care,
Tammy

GrandmaK said...

I only we lived in the country so that Duchess could be free. She the only dog we've had that has wanderlust. All the other dogs were content to stay in the yard and bask in the sun. Will is a lucky "puppy." Cathy

June said...

After Willa gets to run like a little wild and crazy doggirl for a while, it'll be old hat to her and she'll be content to stay closer to home. It might take quite some time, but so long as you're out there in the middle of the wilds, she's very well equipped to deal with whatever she might find.
Oh, those rabbit trails!

Carolyn said...

This one made me laugh - at your expense, I'm afraid, just picturing you slithering out from under the weigela while Willa zooms off in ecstatic freedom. She's a true hound. Reminds me of getting caught in a rhododendron tangle once. We are blessed with a dog who stays close by us, and prefers us to join her on the porch. I never have to worry about her wandering off - and she always comes when called. She's obviously not a hound. (She's rescued, so not sure what she is, but she looks like a cross of a border collie and a golden retriever - acts more like a collie, but a very calm one. In other words, the perfect dog. Sorry if I sound like I'm bragging.) Willa is a cutie, though. Glad she found her way home. Today I'm bummed about the Heels loss of Marshall :-(

Carolyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JJM said...

And I am smiling all over because, what this really means, is that Willa has told you that she now knows, deep down, that she has a home, and it is with you.

As for Tammy's comment, "The little wretch didn't even look back when you were stuck in the bush?" ... I'm betting the little wretch was watching from the bushes somewhere and laughing. Ingrate! ;)

--Mario

Tipper said...

LOL I swear I have better luck getting Ruby to come back when I totally ignore her-but I've done the stomach crawl too : )