Should’ve named him Bolt

About an hour after I posted about Super, yesterday, I let him off the leash on our fenced/gated deck. I’d just given him a bath, plucked about a dozen ticks off of him, brushed him out, and figured he’d like the opportunity to lay in the sun for a bit, unfettered. I was sitting right next to him. Otto did something—I don’t even know what, moved his arm or breathed, who knows—and Super jumped up and BOLTED. And he was through the slats in our gate and gone by the time I’d scrambled to my feet.

I chased him across the yard, through the forest, and down by the pond. I was barefoot. When I lost sight of him I went back for Otto and shoes (both of which were on their way), and we searched everywhere. He’d vanished.

We spent the rest of the time before the kids got home making loops around the neighborhood, trying to find him. I went back down to the pond and through the forest again and again, pockets stuffed with treats I knew he wouldn’t touch (he’d refused to eat anything in our presence), trying not to cry and praying to find him. We called Animal Control. Twice. I called the rescue where we’d gotten him, and after hanging up on their machine most of the afternoon, finally left them a message explaining what had happened and asking them to call back and give us some advice on recovering him.

At one point Otto continued canvassing (now with “LOST DOG!” posters) and I sat here at home as it sank in that I’d screwed up, badly, and now the kids were going to get home from school, and instead of “GUESS WHAT!” I was going to have to try not to let on that we’d brought a dog home and managed to lose him.

I had a good cry and talked with a few friends and managed to pull myself together before the kids got home. [As an added bonus, afterward, Otto then took Chickadee for her (finally) ordered blood tests, only to discover that the allergist’s office had sent us to a facility our insurance won’t approve. At nearly-five on a Friday afternoon, of course, when she cannot start another round of rash-combatting steroids until after the blood tests. Otto called to tell me this and I began weeping so violently in response that he said, “It’s okay! Don’t worry! We’ll figure it out!”]

By dinnertime I was convinced he’d returned to the shelter and we’d never see him again.
Right before bedtime I took Chickadee aside and told her what had happened. She handled the news incredibly well, assuring me that it wasn’t my fault and that we’d surely recover Super before anything bad happened to him. Or that “someone nice who really needs a friend will find him.”

Around 8:45 we got our first phone call that he’d been spotted. This led to a marathon of driving around and straining to spot a black dog in the darkness, first with me and Otto going together for the first round, then several subsequent rounds of us taking turns. We had a few more sightings and felt hopeful, but as the night wore on it was starting to feel fruitless.

Around 11:00 I turned back onto our street, having concluded my laps and feeling completely defeated. And then Super trotted past the car on the right.

I stopped. Got out. Called to him sweetly. Held out treats. Asked him if he wanted to go for a ride. He stood there and looked at me until I got within about 20 feet and then barked and ran a ways off, stopping and laying down in the grass in someone’s yard. I got back into the car, pulled up closer again, repeated the coaxing and calling. Same results. Back to the car. Back to calling and urging him. And this time he took off like a shot into the darkness.

Back at home, we tried to make sense of what we knew. He’d apparently hidden all day, came out as night was falling. He was still in the area. But he sure as heck wasn’t going to come willingly. I sat out in the driveway for a while, with a water bowl and some chunks of chicken up towards the top of the driveway. I knew he wasn’t coming.

This morning Otto got up and he and Chickie circled around the neighborhood again before I’d even finished my coffee. I called Animal Control again, and they offered to lend us a live trap. So while Otto took Chickadee for her blood drawing (God bless the lab that’s open on Saturdays), I filled Monkey in and we drove over to pick up the cage.

[The officer showed me how to use it, and seemed unfazed when I asked Monkey to test it to make sure it worked as advertised. As the door clanged shut behind him, Monkey grinned up at us from inside. “You caught me!” he called. “Now take me home, because I love you VERY MUCH!” Oh, if only catching Super could be that easy.]

We’ve widened the radius for our posters, and the trap is set up down near the pond, and now we wait. And hope. Even if he doesn’t end up being ours, I can’t bear thinking he’s out there wandering because of my mistake.

Last night Chickie showed me that in the book she’s reading, she’d just come across the following: “What has been lost may yet be found. Have hope.” She said she thought it was an omen.

And this morning, when I sat down at my desk with my coffee, I saw she’d written it down and taped it to my hutch.

I’m trying to comply.


  1. Javamom

    The first hurdle of hopefully many more to come,and I mean that as a completely supportive kind of statement.

  2. Heidi

    Oh gosh, how stressful. You had the dog’s best interest at heart, so try not to beat yourself up. Here’s to hoping for a happily ever after. (I was going to write “happy ending”, but it just didn’t seem… right.)

  3. Em

    Really, how is this your fault? You had no bad intentions and even checked to make sure he was in a secure fenced/gated area. You had bathed him and were giving him a warm, comfy spot to hang out. You were WITH him. You picked TICKS! I don’t know if I like my kids enough to do that but you did it for him. You did all you could do, how were you to know he had superpowers? Well, sure, the name but other than that??

    I think he’ll be back. Who wouldn’t come back for spa treatment like that?

  4. Mom

    My granddaughter is a wise young lady.

    My daughter takes the woes of the world on herself. This was NOT your fault.

    I’m praying for his return.

  5. Beth

    Oh, I am so sorry! I will pray that he comes back soon and that you’ll be given the wisdom to decide what to do about him after that.

    I have to tell you, though, that as I read your post the thing that struck me the most was the thoughtful, understanding, helpful, loving, and mature ways in which both of your kids responded. Good stuff, there…and a sign that they are definitely ready to handle having a dog.

  6. Mrs. C

    I don’t think it was your fault at all. It seems that this dog hasn’t trusted people in a long time. Someone else messed him up and the fact you are still willing to have him shows a lot for you. Most people would just give up and go on. I don’t have any advice but I did have a dog that I adopted that liked to run away but he did eventually come home. My second dog I bought a ecollar till he got used to things and we could trust each other.
    good luck and I love the saying…

  7. Nicki

    Clearly, Super has issues. You’re doing everything you know to do. It will all work out, one way or another.

    Your daughter is right: have hope!

  8. Crisanne

    I saw your tweets last night and my heart sank heavily for you. I guess you were really on my mind because I had another dream about you. I don’t remember much about it (no freaky walking through your yard or anything, though), except I woke up thinking Mir? Again?
    My thoughts are still with you today. And you’ve got one kick a$$ daughter there!

  9. Lucinda

    The responses from your children show how very much you haven’t screwed up. Like someone else said, this is someone else’s screw up. Someone else broke this dog and you are left to pick up the pieces and try to put him back together. Good luck and prayers.

  10. Melinda

    I’m not usually one for expensive cosmetics but I am a huge fan of Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar and that might be primarily because of the slogan on the bottle: “Where there is hope there can be faith, where there is faith miracles can occur.” I don’t know what it says about me that I get spiritual guidance from my face cream but hey, whatever works, I guess. Here’s hoping Super finds his way home soon. I love Chickadee’s quote.

  11. pam

    Please let us know as soon as you know anything. I know that’s a lot to ask but I’m so worried.

  12. Half Assed Kitchen

    So totally not your fault! That doggy had issues long before he came to you. I hope he returns. But if not, please take heart that you were a good dog mom for a day. And he didn’t run away because of anything you did or didn’t do.

  13. getsheila

    Oh no! I hope it all turns out well. Sending happy, furry thoughts your way.

  14. Amy

    I am so sorry this is happening!

    It will be OK. Athens and the surrounding area is such a dog friendly place that I am sure people will remember to keep an eye out. It takes a village to both raise a child and capture a runaway dog.

  15. Michele Bardsley

    An act of kindness is never a mistake, Mir. You’re not psychic. You didn’t know Super would bolt or be clever enough to get through the slats of the fence. So, as Melinda said, here’s hoping Super finds his way home soon.

  16. hokgardner

    I am so sorry that this has happened. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Super finds his way home again.

    And Chickadee is such a sweet girl.

  17. dcfullest

    Do you have a friend with a dog you can use as “bait”? My dog has only gotten loose once and the only way I could get him back was to have another dog with me. The other dog peaked his interest, he came over quickly, got a treat and then let me put a leash back on him. Still managed to scare me to death!

  18. Sara

    As the owner of a dog adopted from Animal Control (not even the Humane Society)who loves to go on the run, I can relate to this post. Oh, how I know what you are feeling! Tilly (our dog) has escaped from us on several occasions, but the episode that I’m thinking of made me think and say the same things to myself that you are. “It’s my fault. What will I say to the kids.” Fortunately, my story had a happy ending when I found the dog. I hope yours has a happy one as well. And please don’t take on that guilt. You were doing the right things, but sometimes things just happen.
    Good luck!

  19. Heather

    Aww Mir :( I’m so sorry. Definitely not your fault!! I too will be praying for his safe return.

  20. Nelson's Mama

    The other dog as “bait” is a great idea…

    If I spotted him, I would also suggest that you find a place to sit down and wait quietly. I would refrain from talking and would turn my back on him.

    He needs you to be as non-threatening as possible, so perhaps if you’ll get down on his level, and not make eye contact he’ll come to you.

    I’d have treats and a leash ready.

  21. Lauren

    Fixating and flagellation are no fun, and yet they’re my default too when something goes wrong. Be gentle with yourself and keep hoping.

  22. Jen

    we’re sending all our “be found quickly” thoughts your way. Come back Superbolt!

  23. Heather

    By the way, if any human has to hold responsibility in all this, I’m blaming the stupid jerkface garbageman who abused Super in the first place, making him distrustful of everyone, even such wonderful people as you.

  24. Jamie

    Ugh, what a mess you didn’t need, Mir. It’s definitely not your fault and hopefully Super realizes what a great family he’s left behind and trots on home. Chickadee – wow! I hope my children are that thoughtful as they get a bit older.

  25. Crista

    Definately not your fault. You were doing all the right things. I hope he comes home soon.

  26. ashley

    I just have to say I had this exact situation happen with the Malamute we adopted. I finally lured him with a trap. He eventually had to go to a new home because he would not eat, drink, or interact with us at all. I’ve been around dogs my whole life, my mom even raised litters of Corgi’s for a while and I had never seen a dog like this before.

    Here is the link to the posts I wrote about Jack our defective dog.

  27. liz

    You have such sweet, wise children. All will be well.

  28. Kimi

    Oh how sad. Poor Super. More importantly – poor you! I can’t imagine having to go through so much trouble. I hope you find him and it all works out in the end. Hopefully years down the road, you look back on this and are able to laugh.

  29. beth s

    Wow, sorry you had such a day. My recommendation (I know you don’t want it but we’ve had this exact issue and regretted the decision we made horribly) is to not keep the dog. Take him back as soon as you find him. I totally understand the need to get a dog from the shelter (that is where nearly all of ours have been from) but if he is having issues already, keep looking. Our bolter, which was supposed to be a companion for our first love and the “new” dog for our son to call his own, actually taught her very bad habits to the older one and they both ended up getting killed. I will never again be able to add a 2nd dog to our family for fear of something happening to the first one. It has been nearly 4 years and I still miss my sweet Sammi dog often.

  30. Jennifer Joyner

    Oh, Mir….sending you a *cyber hug* and hoping for a safe Super return!

  31. Anna Marie

    Oh Mir, you have the sweetest kids. Have hope, indeed.

  32. Heidi

    An alternate title to this post could be “Dog Gone…”

  33. Megumi

    Mir, this was most certainly not your fault. You have wonderfully sweet children (and husband) – sending you many hugs from the internet and hoping for a quick and safe return.

  34. RuthWells

    As we also have a bolting dog, I am feeling your pain. Courage.

  35. WaywardGoddess

    I can’t even tell you how many times my dog has hopped over the fence. We have a huge fenced backyard, but she has to be tied when she’s outside now. Even then she still manages to get out occasionally. It’s pretty bad when your neighbors don’t know you, but they know your dog

  36. Kristie

    I’m all for rescuing dogs but I’m also for only placing temeramentally sound dogs in families with children. I personally have two rescue rejects but my daughters and I have years of foster experience under our belts and we seek out the problem children. At this point I very honestly wouldn’t know what to do with a “good” dog.

    I don’t think you should take any blame for this. I think the blame lies with the rescue. This dog may or may not have been abused, he may simply never have been socialized properly. Animals can be born nervous, same as people, and this is why temperament testing is so important. If the rescue had done its job this dog would have been identified as “special needs” and been placed with a foster family who could attempt to bring him out of his shell. He would not have been available for adoption until it was determined that he can handle life with a family.

    I’m not saying the rescue is bad, I’m just saying that although they mean well and have a compassionate mission, they may just lack the knowledge and experience needed to place their animals.

    I hope you find Super and I hope that whatever decision you make about where he ultimately ends up gives you peace. And, if he’s not the dog for you, I hope you will give another homeless dog an opportunity to show you that most adopted animals are happy and well adjusted creatures. Even though my own personal dogs don’t trust strangers they do trust me and my girls implicitly and that’s what’s important. That’s what makes the difference between an adoptable dog and a dog who needs more work before he’s ready to find his forever home.

  37. Karen

    Oh my goodness. Honestly it is not your fault. I will keep my fingers crossed for Super….and Chickee blood tests.

  38. Rasselas

    A similar thing happened to my parents when one of them let our budgie fly away. They actually took the cage with them and stood under the tree where he was perched, calling him pet-names and begging him to return. Now that’s a spectacle for the neighbors. In the end they conceded and bought a new budgie before us kids got back from school, conveniently neglecting to tell us the truth. My sister thought the budgie had suddenly fallen ill, because of the slight lack of color, but I was the smartass child of the family and declared that it must be shedding feathers for winter. (I can only imagine how my parents must’ve felt hearing that.)

    Well, imagine our surprise when after a few days, the old budgie returned. It appeared on the neighbor’s cherry tree, she called my dad and he picked up the poor exhausted, starved and frightened bird without any resistance. So after that, we had two! Also, as we never thought they’d be smart enough to learn to speak, we just cooed at them in baby-talk and pet names. Well, they DID learn to speak, and of course they spoke what they heard most often. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more charming than two fluffy budgies cooing at each other.

  39. carolyn

    Praying for your family and for Super. Surely he will feel your love and return.

  40. Burgh Baby

    I was going to say something, but I think your mom said it better than I could. Good luck.

  41. Karishma

    Oh Mir, I am so sorry. Our most-likely-abused dog did precisely the same thing, at least a few times. Except it was through the front door, and we have now learned to enter exist almost sideways so that he can’t get through. That kind of fear that he would escape lasted until he was really truly comfortable with us and trusted us and realized he wasn’t going anywhere. Super probably didn’t have stability for so long that he might have freaked out a little. I’m sure you’ll find him, we found Harry every time. Don’t blame yourself, it’s not your fault at all. He might have just seen a squirrel – dogs don’t only run away if they have trust issues, they’ll also chase after what they want.

  42. joaaanna

    How awesome is Chickadee? Very.

  43. el-e-e

    I think you daughter is amazing.

  44. Tracy

    I’m a couple of days behind…and I’m praying that Super has come to his senses and found his way back home.

  45. Katie in MA

    I’m behind on my posts and I’m SURE there’s resolution here waiting for me, but I had to say: I know it was a horrible experience, but wasn’t it TOTALLY worth it to know your daughter loves you so much? I know you knew that already, but how sweet of her! (And of Monkey!) (And of Otto!)

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