We're hoping that the world's luckiest puppy hasn't had his luck run out. Ever since his brush with death in June, Scooter has been very good about staying on the property and simply doing his job herding livestock.
Yesterday, the kids and I acquired a wonderful tandem bike. I used to be an avid cyclist, and have been trying to find a way to get back into the sport that doesn't include long hours away from the family. As the kids don't yet have the bike control to ride a straight line in traffic, a tandem seemed the perfect solution. After a bit of searching on the internet, I found a solid, used, Santana tandem that was in excellent condition. Artistic Girl and I took a five mile ride last night, and she had a grand old time waving at everyone between here and downtown Loda.
Big Brother and I decided to ride the tandem to Mass this morning in Paxton, eight miles away. But as we rode off the property, Scooter spotted us and excitedly began running alongside. Both of us shouted "No!", repeatedly, but this only seemed to egg him on. (He may be the World's Luckiest Puppy, but he's certainly not the World's Smartest Puppy.)
We reached the main blacktop, a half mile from our house, and Scooter was still tagging along. I shouted more, but he made the turn with us. I actually got off the bike, shouted, swatted him, carried him back to our road, and shoved him in the direction of our house. He cowered with his tail between his legs, looking at me, as I jogged back to the bike. And as soon as the tandem was again rolling down the blacktop...Scooter was again jogging along.
I told my son not to look at him, as this might only be encouraging him, and to ride as fast as we could. Scooter was falling behind, but was clearly still trying to follow. And he never gave up.
A mile from home, I had my son dig the cell phone out of my backpack, and I called Mrs. Yeoman Farmer. She wasn't pleased about having to come get the dog, but said she would. My son and I kicked the bike into high gear, turned another corner, and Scooter disappeared from view.
A couple of more miles up, Mrs. Yeoman Farmer pulled alongside in the van. There'd been no sign of Scooter, she said, and I didn't know what to tell her. As Big Brother and I continued on to Paxton (now quite late for Mass), MYF drove all over our town and the surrounding countryside looking for Scooter.
We looked for him, too, on the way home...but none of us saw any sign of him. We put calls in to both the Ford and Iroquois County animal control offices, so everyone knows to contact us if a dog fitting his description gets phoned in. And he had his Ford County rabies tag in place, with its unique ID number that can be traced to us.
But so far there have been no calls, and everyone around here is really down in the dumps. Artistic Girl was particularly inconsolable this morning. Yes, Scooter is just a dog...but he's an awfully good dog. And he's proven himself to be an invaluable assistant when it comes time to herd the sheep. Just the other day, MYF and I were watching him work, and she observed, "Wow. He really loves doing that, doesn't he?"
A dozen times today, I've looked up and expected him to be there...and he hasn't been.
Sure hope that phone starts ringing soon.