After getting Tabasco back last night, we kept her in the house overnight last night. She curled up on the couch in my office for most of the day today. In the afternoon, I took her with me when I went to the feed store. It was wonderful having her perched on the passenger seat of the van, driving out to Gibson City and back.
And then, as I was putting the feed into metal containers in the chicken house, I lost sight of her. When I finished the chores, I whistled and called --- but there was no response. She was gone, again. I walked the hedgerow before the sun went down, whistling and calling. I drove a whole mile radius around our property, on the country roads, but no sign of her.
Here it is, past 9pm, and she's still not back. We're starting to wonder if, perhaps, she wasn't spayed when we got her. The vet thought she probably had been "fixed," but wasn't certain. I'm wondering if she's gone into heat, and is roaming the countryside looking for a mate. If so, I'm just glad she's wearing her tags---but I sure hope she makes it home before the coyotes find her.
UPDATE: Late Wednesday morning, she showed up at my office door as if nothing had happened. She was soaking wet, and had cockle burrs in her fur. She seemed chastened. My wife and kids were excited that Tabasco had returned, but my wife and I took this opportunity to re-emphasize to the kids that we can't be too attached to Tabasco going forward.