Saturday, January 22, 2011

Last trip to Shawnee Mission Park?

   It pains me to say it, but we may never be able to go back to Shawnee Mission dog park. At least, Taylor can't... unless he's on a leash. It's a gorgeous (and huge) park, and we all love it, but today's episode has me at the end of my rope.
   There have been two incidents in the past where he has disappeared for a length of time. The first was on a 100+ degree day, and I finally found him swimming in the lake with all the retrievers. The second was back in October. I thought I could trust him again, since he has been so good at Stoll Park lately.
   The afternoon started out great: we got into the park and I unleashed the dogs, and we started heading down a trail. I jogged ahead and turned around to get a couple of cute shots. Ever seen bigger smiles?
   But suddenly Taylor doubled back into a scrubby patch of plants and weaved back and forth through them, sticking his nose into the snow every couple of feet, moving fast and constantly switching directions. He was super-excited about something! He was cracking me up, bounding and leaping through the deep snow drifts, zigzagging all over the place, tail wagging the whole time. Clearly, something interesting passed by here earlier. More than a rabbit or a squirrel. Maybe a deer or a fox? This went on for twenty minutes or so before I literally dragged him down the trail by the creek, hoping he'd jog with us.
Here's the brat in hunting mode:
   He stayed with us for a bit, then made a hard right towards a thick clump of trees and disappeared. I wasn't worried, because I knew that area was fenced. It's the edge of the dog park near the drive that takes you out to 87th street. We walked a little further thinking that he'd show up anytime, but he didn't. Hmmph.
Aki, find Taylor! "Why? He knows where he is." she says.
   We turned around and headed back to his hunting spot: no Taylor. He waited by my car last time, so we went back out to the parking lot. Aki was still off-leash, and I asked her to sit and wait by the lot entrance. She did(!) I walked toward the car and yelled, "TAYLOR?!?"
   Much to my surprise, the guy in the car next to me waved and said, "Taylor? I've got him!" (What the h??)
   "He was out of the park, running down the road. I figured he wasn't supposed to be out there, so I stopped the car and he came to me. I put him in the back with my dogs and brought him back here to look for his owner. You can ignore the message on your phone."
   Okay, seriously, how do you thank a person who just saved you hours of worry and possibly saved your dog's life? (And gave you the awareness that your dog is too friendly and could easily be stolen by anybody who tried?)
   I ordered Taylor back into my car and he bounded in, still unaware that anything was wrong. Idiot! I didn't give them the treats I'd brought. We resumed our snowboard shopping, then grocery shopping, then returned home.