Thursday, 24 April 2014

Professional embarrassment or maximum coverage

Professional embarrassment or maximum coverage?

No question as far as I am concerned.

Very much like the day I realised parents are people muddling through life trying to do their best for all concerned, well today I have had to realise I may be a professional dog handler it doesn't mean I can be infallible or faultless.  No matter how hard I try or how much I plan to prevent things happening.

So I am in the very lucky position to be embarrassed and upset not devastated and full of guilt.

Flute ran away today, my own dog.  He chased a fox that had been in the private grounds we had been in and continued to chase past and over the boundaries and kept running to goodness knows where.  With St Bernards( who live there)and the terriers with me no matter what my heart was telling me I knew I had to get them called in and taken home so that they were safe and then head back and hope to find him.

Flute is a dog I have to heavily manage, I have made so many mistakes with him ( I have a huge hole in my training repertoire, I allow too much freedom as pups with my own sighthounds I live to see them run and don't focus enough on their fun coming from me rather than they have been bred for for many years.)so I know when and why he would run and train to try and contain it.  When it is safe he gets time off for free running and ensure everyday he gets free off lead fun in a safe area.

Only I didn't manage it enough this time.  The little estate allows us to have fun, for them to hunt and it has been working a treat, his recall has been so much better and when there was lots of possible prey chasing opportunities elsewhere he was on lead and working on stay with me.

Today the two girls spotted a fox in their garden and off they bombed at this stage Flute was happily staying with me and I hoped to call him in calmly BEFORE he spotted the fox.  All to no avail he turned to look at me when his name was called and saw the fox off he shot.  Belle and Mila had gone straight through the fence and as I called the little ones in( which they did fabulous wee souls that they are)Flute sailed over the double fence and ditch.

Two and a half hours is just long enough for you to have had him shot by farmers, hit by cars, grabbed by dog nappers and all kinds of unimaginable stuff that does happen to people in exactly the same situation as me.  Was I to be a lucky person or not?

I managed to get back to the van head off and find the first farm I came to.  I couldn't have found nicer people and both headed to likely fox spots and passed on numbers of other farmers who could do with knowing there was a sighthound on the loose during the worst possible time of year, Lambing!  I expected anger and sharpness and received nothing but thanks and promises to ring if they spotted him.

With my charges safe and tired as they had already had a good walk, I became a mam again, an owner not a professional, all the fears and dread everyone at some point faces.  Phoning all I could and asking friends to put on fb anything to help get him home hopefully safe and sound.

I take great pride in my work and there is very few things more upsetting than losing a dog thankfully a rare thing in our case, to then have to advertise your shortcomings and failings to all who you meet, asking if anyone had seen a lost dog with PetNanny emblazoned across you van.......I would have ran naked shouting Petnanny loses dogs if I had had to, anything to get him back.

Thankfully to all concerned I didn't need to.  As soon as my knightess in a shining estate car turned up to help I finally received the phone call I longed for.  He had been spotted and was heading back to us.

The responsibility is mine, I have had my shortcomings pulsing in my head and yet I also know he is a dog doing what dogs do.  Every ounce of his body programmed to do just as he did.  Unfortunately the world in which he lives in doesn't cope, accommodate or allow for dogs to blindly follow their instincts so it is up to me to manage better and stop it happening again.

So I have a plan and it is completely fail safe....

Lead Boots.


  1. OH Caroline, I have had a few of these incidents in my life and it is heart wrenching and humbling. And worse is when one is driving around asking for help with your business logo plastered all over your car and sweatshirt. My heart beat as I read your blog, I felt as if i was there with you, only it was me sitting on a railroad track at 5PM hoping the little runaway dog would show up so I did not have to lay down under a train and die rather than tell and a client I had lost their dog. (The dog came back five hours later). Those experiences take days to recover from! I am so glad it all ended. Now i am reading this to Jake so he understands why his freedom is not as free as he would like. His training is going well, but he is still a hound dog who loves to run and I want him to be alive and safe!

  2. Ah thank you Miriam yes it takes on a new meaning when your livelihood is keeping dogs safe. It is so reassuring to have people who get it....bad enough for an owner and even harder when it means so much to you on every level.
    I need to get drawing but equally need to just settle and relax my mind!