Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Best. Anniversary. Ever.

  

I got up Sunday morning and went to Winchester to have breakfast with John and Auntie Reg.  I took Kate and Tilly with me because...they always go with me.  Kate went exploring around their yard like any other visit and I didn't think anything about it.  Kate doesn't get into trouble.  She never leaves me.  

9-14 year old Kate would never leave me.  15 year old Kate, now deaf and significantly vision impaired and while in good condition for a 15 year old dog, but not strong enough to venture into the woods...ventured into the woods.

I'm not sure if she fell, got disoriented because she doesn't see well or just wasn't strong enough to pull herself back up the hill.  Regardless, even though we realized pretty quickly that something wasn't right, we couldn't call her name and expect any response.

And she wasn't just off in any old woods.  She was on the "hillside" overlooking the Kentucky river.  We immediately starting searching, but I knew we were in trouble.  I called Tim and he came over and brought a neighbor with him.  

We searched and searched and I called a border collie friend who I knew could whistle really loudly in hopes that maybe Kate could still hear a herding whistle and find her way back.  She also brought two dogs with her in hopes they would stumble across her.  Nothing.

We searched the surrounding, very rugged, terrain for 11 hours.  The drive home that night was the worst thing I've ever experienced.  I went back over early the next morning and checked in with some near-ish cattle farms in hopes she'd smelled stock and gone to them.  

We got escorted into the nearby old stone quarry and searched for signs there.  We drove from road to road and house to house and Reg talked to anyone she could find and called so many people.  We re-walked and walked and walked all over the hillside, as far down as it was safe to go.  

This was not a "walk in the woods".  If she'd gone down, the elevation drop is 300' and at best maybe a 45 degree angle.  Much of it is a cliff...straight down.  The underbrush was thick and the area is full of old stone walls.  It was unlikely she could get past all that, but after searching along the upper side of the hill for two days and all the nearby open farm ground as best we could, Tim decided to climb down into the Lower Howard's Creek.

It was definitely worth a shot, heck, anything was, but by this point I had very little hope left.  It was getting dark and closing in on what would be her second cold night in the wilderness. A wilderness full of coyotes and bobcats and sometimes other predators.  

He called to let me know when he gotten down into the creek bed and I waited at John and Reg's.  I was exhausted.  I was broken.  Tilly was with me, but she, too, was upset and miserable.  She ate her dinner, but wouldn't stop walking around and kept sniffing pretty close to where I'd last seen Kate.  I decided to make one more trip down into the woods.

I once again crawled under, through and over and slipped and slid down loose rocks and dirt. I'd maybe made it a quarter of the way down, zig zagging left and right, when my phone dinged with a text message.  I pulled it out of my pocket...and there was the picture of Tim...with Kate.  She was still alive and he had her in his arms!  

I don't really remember scrambling up the hill or, honestly, even driving to the point where he was going to bring her out.  He ended up carrying her nearly a half mile, through water in some parts up to his chest.  When he'd try to set her down to walk, she'd turn around and try to go back where he'd found her. Definitely disoriented and maybe a little shocky.

The vet told us some things to immediately check and do for her before we got her to the clinic.  Luckily I hadn't given all the food I had packed for her to Tilly and she gobbled it up.  I'd assumed being next to the creek that she'd had plenty to drink, but when we got to the vet clinic, her blood work was not great and she needed IV fluids.  

She went back to the clinic this morning and stayed for several hours while they ran more fluids, but by mid afternoon they said she was in good shape and ready to come home.  She is laying at my feet as I type this.  It is truly a miracle. 

This is just the highlights of the story.  Don't try to imagine the rest or what she (and we) went through or what could have happened...  I've done enough of that for all of us and I've never cried so hard in my whole life.  

I want to offer up a huge thank you to everyone who helped bring Kate home, especially Auntie Reg and her friends and neighbors.  

Our friends who came from two counties away and gave up their entire Sunday to help search and then drive me home that night. 

The god of old dogs (and maybe sheep and cats) and their angels who I'm sure gave Kate a strong "lie down" so she stayed put when she hit the creek.  

And to 'the old man of the creek and rivers' who had the vision to go down the creek...and carry her back to me.  I guess all that fishing finally paid off ;-).  Today is our anniversary.  I'd like to say we make a good team, but honestly, Saint Tim is always carrying us all. 


42 comments:

Mary Ann said...

I am crying as I finish this. Happy Anniversary, thank God.

I'm gonna tell Mom! said...

Love wins again.
Happy Anniversary!
~kim

Donna said...

Wow- what a story! Glad it had a happy ending. Happy anniversary- a memorable one I would say!

Unknown said...

Oh wow! Thank you Saint Tim! Happy Anniversary for sure! Brenda

knitski said...

I am thrilled for you all and love a happy ending! You know all your animals were right there with her just waiting for help to arrive!

Sheepmom said...

Truly a miracle happy ending. Faith and love can move mountains or find old dogs in the woods and carry them home. Goosebumps! Happy anniversary!

Michelle said...

Once again Saint Tim earns his halo. So, so, SO thankful Kate was found and rescued! And now you are surely exhausted, as your emotions did an Iron Man Triathlon!

Shirley said...

Awesome that you never gave up searching and that Tim had the inspiration of where to look for her. The relief must have been overwhelming.
This is something I worry about with Tess. She will be 14 next month, and her hearing and focus has started to go. I don't like it when she has to go out in the middle of the night to pee, as I worry that she will get disoriented and not come back in so I have been going out and watching her.
Happy anniversary indeed!

Gloria said...

Happy tears. St. Tim is a saint. Happy anniversary. So glad Late is okay.

Linda said...

I can't even imagine. Saint Tim to the rescue! Thank goodness Kate is safe. Happy Anniversary indeed!

sophy0075 said...

Oh, thank God! What hell you have gone through! Poor nearly blind and deaf old Kate. Poor you. Saint Tim, indeed!

I'm praying that Kate will be ok from this escapade - and will stay home, in a comfortable spot, to enjoy the rest of her old age.

LannieK said...

Oh my, I can only imagine... Happy tears! And thank goodness for St Tim bringing Kate home to you! Hugs to Aunt Reg & John & friends. And especially to Tim & you & Kate & Miss Tilly...
Happy Tears!

LannieK said...

And PS... Happy Anniversary to you both!

Vandermolen said...

The Best Blessings to everyone.

Anonymous said...

A pet parent's worse nightmare! Once again, you have proved you and Tim are my kinda folks.๐Ÿ˜Š My husband and I would have done the same! That is one strong border. And her name is Kate, a version of Katherine. We are strong stock๐Ÿ˜ Have a Blessed anniversary...but you already have. You deserve this miracle. And about Saint Tim, he's a keeper. ๐Ÿ˜€ Katherine Littrell

MarmePurl said...

Love is the best!

Unknown said...

Just the miracle we all needed to hear. Thank you Saint Tim for finding her and carrying her home.

Happy anniversary!!!

Cheryl West said...

What absolute agony for all of you. Thank goodness for St. Tim and all your friends and such devotion from everyone.

A very Happy Anniversary to you both and a huge sigh of relief.

karen said...

oh my goodness, you must have been at wits end! I am happy that it turned out well and now you just need to recover from the shock of it all!

Mommysewnuts said...

Wow, Praise God! What a story.

Shelley said...

I hope this story is a turnaround from all the losses you've experienced at the farm and all the horrors our country and the world have endured this year.

And thank you for starting the story off with that pic of Saint Tim and Kate ( and the title). While the story was hard to read I knew the ending would be happy.

Happy Anniversary to you Sara and Tim.

amyfibre said...

Sitting here at work and sobbing...what a rescue. Can we double up on Saint Tim's canonization? Saint Saint Tim! A miracle indeed - and a testament to the love and teamwork of both of you. Congratulations on your anniversary, so captured by the love in this story.

Tagati said...

OMG, what a harrowing time that was. Thank goodness for St. Francis, the patron saint of animals, for watching over Kate and for the perseverance of your friends in their search.

Hugs to you all!

Mahalo.

Marcy said...

I started crying immediately. Your words took me right back to a time about 31 years ago when the same thing happened to my beloved 15 year old first dog! Only it was high August heat. On the 3rd day my husband found him by a creek at the bottom of a big hill. Not as rugged as your terrain but my little Zeek was too old to get back up that hill. Thank the universe for our husbands who are always there for us. Happy anniversary to you and Tim, a real hero. My little Zeek lived two more good years, and the husband has lasted 45!

Terry and Linda said...

I am crying as I write this. I am so glad you found her. That Time found her. That you and Tim have each other. This is such a wonderful anniversary gift.

Love you, Sara! And Kate and Tilly! And YaY for the HERO!

DianeOart said...

This is love and dedication... Happy Anniversary!

Janie said...

Oh! Thank God it had a happy ending! Tim’s like St. Christopher! (I choose to believe he existed) Happy Anniversary!

egeneh said...

I was preparing myself for a Happy Ending punchline along the lines of "Hah! Found her napping in a hollow log a few yards down the slope." Though I'm sure everyone involved would have liked that better, this takes the cake for High Drama Happy Endings. Let's hope it's the last one for this year. Maybe several years.

Not your everyday anniversary celebration. Glad this one ended happily and hoping for something more relaxing next year.

Tee said...

I couldn't read fast enough to get to the somewhat good ending. I am still crying. I read your blog to my 5 year old grandson nearly every day (he knows all your animals). I am somewhat happy that I did not read this one to him. He would have been frantic for me to read faster. You are blessed with that man. Happy Anniversary!

I need orange said...

What a harrowing story!

Thank goodness for good luck, and for friends & neighbors, and, especially, for St. Tim To The Rescue.

I'm so glad this ended well! Sending happy vibes, all around!

Leslie said...

OMG. I had no idea she was that old. So glad she's safely back home again. What an awful thing to go thru. Hugs!

Deb said...

Oh, Kate! So glad you were found by Saint Saint Tim.

Does some company make tracking collars or chips for wandering or older pets?

Something you could track with your cell phone would be great.

Deb

Sybil J. said...

I am so glad that St. Tim found Kate. I am glad that everyone is safe. Happy Anniversary. Thank you for sharing, I feel like I am a part of your farm family.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! How terrible for everyone to carry that fear for so long. How wonderful that there was a good ending.
I don’t know what the next level up from saint would be. Perhaps adding a descriptor of “Most Exalted” would be good?
Blessings and prayers for all of you to recover your equilibrium and health.
Chris S in Canada

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

What a joyful reunion that must have been!!

I'm also grateful for all those seen and unseen that brought your girl back to you and kept her safe and hidden from anything that could bring her harm. A reminder to never, ever give up.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I’m so happy for you all that it turned out so well. I can’t imagine how you must have felt the whole time she was missing. She’s an amazing dog to have made it through her ordeal. Happy Anniversary!

Karen at longwell said...

Can anything be better than a happy ending and a wonderful anniversary?! Sweet Kate is home and all is well with the Punkin's Patch world!

The Odyssey Farm said...

Hallelujah. Blessings to you all, so happy to hear Kate came home. And thank you, Saint Tim... Happy anniversary!

Lisa Smith said...

Oh my goodness Sara, what a frightening ordeal! I cried my way through, hoping the photo accompanying your post was the good news. What a wonderful husband you have! Bless his heart, Saint Tim is a hero! I am so very thankful Kate is okay! Happy Anniversary to you both. (When Walter gets home from work I'm going to read your post to him, Kleenex ready!)
Warmest Regards, Lisa

Unknown said...

Absolutely sobbing happy tears. So, so glad your girl made it home...and what a blessing to have an amazing man by your side. Thank you, as always, for sharing <3

Far Side of Fifty said...

Thank goodness he found her. Some dogs just go off to die you know...it is their instinct. Maybe she needs a locator thing like they have for car keys:) So happy it all turned out okay.
Belated Happy Anniversary!

FullyFleeced said...

so relieved that scary story had a happy ending! And Happy Anniversary!

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