Ordinary day for the RH family up the way. R worked the post office for a few hours. It was her day in the rotation. Her three kids went up the hill (250 yards) and attended school. Their young five-month old dog (Hazel) went with them, of course. All in all an almost ordinary day.
An ordinary day, actually, for the family might have had R staying home to do at-home stuff and the kids would go to school on their own. They live two islands away! Fifteen miles by remote, less-traveled channel, the kids would run the boat in any kind of weather and get to school on time. R’s eldest is 13. She runs the 17/18 foot high-powered top-of-the-line aluminum boat with as many as four other kids with her.
“Isn’t that dangerous?” Maybe. But J was trained for years by her parents before being given the helm. The first few times it may have been a bit intimidating for her (maybe not). But J now runs the boat better than the adults. “Why is she better?” She can do everything and she is extra responsible. She follows the rules and drives sanely. Everyone has life jackets on. She handles the boat with skill and precision. She’s very good.
But yesterday was a bit different. Hazel wandered off.
At first, I am sure, everyone was calm. They all called to her and wandered around looking but, by late afternoon, their day had been extended and it was starting to get dark and the wind was picking up. A five month old puppy has little chance out here all alone. All sorts of dogs have gone for dinner with wolves and cougars never to return. A five month old puppy is like ‘dinner walking’. A little bit of panic began to set in. Calls were made. Emails were sent. The community was alerted.
Sal was ready to get out there with flashlights and dog treats. Out here, your window is a short one and, if really, really lucky, the pooch might survive one night somewhere (likely near the school) but there isn’t a snowball’s chance for her to survive two.
To be fair, there is usually some local traffic and people do come and go from the area of the school and the post office. And no one would leave a puppy out at night. If you are gonna get lost, getting lost at the school is one of the safer places. But cougars (and all sorts of wildlife) pass by the school all the time. The ‘Nature Path’ for wildlife is just a few hundred yards away. It is the path followed by animals when going from island to island. The Nature Path goes to the narrowest gap in the channel. Bears, wolves, deer and cougar are commonly sighted by those living near or on that route.
Of course, Hazel had not gone far. She was found nearing dinner time by R and the family close to the school. She just took a puppy time out. Maybe went to sleep? Who knows? But family out here includes the pooches and R’s family was on high alert for awhile.
It is all good now, thank Goodness. Still, it was kind of a little OTG moment that most people wouldn’t feel as strongly living elsewhere. OTG has more than a few variables, as you know, but our ‘interface’ with wildlife is a special one.