Amber (well, Hazel) Alert!

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.

6 thoughts on “Amber (well, Hazel) Alert!

    • A lesson? I don’t think so……..
      Keep puppies leashed?
      Watch puppies like a hawk?
      Community is a back-up but the main job is yours?
      Or, much more more likely: life is life, death is death and cougars get to eat lunch too. We all come and go no matter how cute we are.
      Some things just are – no lesson.
      But, if you see one there, please let me know. I need all the lessons I can get. But thanks for commenting. The HAZEL blog got nothing……thank you.


  1. You know how I look forward to reading all your blogs, and time and time again you keep surprising me how great life is OTG (not the part of Hazel getting lost) but the part of the 13-year old driving a boat by herself taking her brothers/sisters to school. We always think children can not/should not take responsibility at that age, but you prove time and time again they actually can and do! Most 13-year old kids I know spend the whole day on their phones or iPads posting TikTok movies or whatever they are doing, NOT getting out during the day and complaining about every small thing that comes in the way of computer time….
    As far as Hazel is concerned, I think you are right, there is no lesson to be learned here, On-grid, we would keep a dog inside or on a leash, make sure he/she did not get out alone. But does that teach the dog or us something? Is the dog happier if we shield them from real life (same as with kids)
    It’s a hard world out there (both on and off grid), and we better prepare our dogs and kids to survive


    • If your kid trips and falls at two, he/she gets skinned knees and maybe a sore chin. That same kid tripping and falling for the first time at 21 falls harder and with more pain and suffering. Better to teach a kid to ‘pay attention’ and ‘be careful’ at two and three so that the consequences of NOT doing so are taught without too high a price. The typical mother tends to be protective. The father tends to give ’em a little too much rope so they fail early and learn early. And everyone thinks men have no role!
      Yeah, the kids out here learn a lot, do a lot and they all seem to grow up to be well-adjusted and sane. We’ve seen kids from the 70’s on and and they all do way better than average except in one area: they usually like being here more than the city after a few short years trying the urban way. They do not like the city. They come home. On the face of it, you’d think that is good. I do not. I think the city is part of life and they should learn to adjust to it for awhile. Why? Because most locals are very capable out here in all the day-to-day things but overwhelmed by bureaucracy, rules, systems and especially schedules. They have distorted views on BIG BROTHER. A few years experience in that hell-hole helps perspective.


        • Still workin’ on that perspective thing, eh? Hell if you trip and fall at 60, you are almost old enough to blame anyone and everything (as you go off on a rant). The good news is that, by the time you are 70+, you can point fingers at women and blame them. Of course, you are written off as a senile old fool (or so I am told) but they are not likely to call the cops or make their husband defend their honour. Getting old is a bit of a ‘get-outta -jail-free card’.


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