Our dog, Country, has a real knack for escaping under the most challenging of circumstances.
It seems there is no fence too high, or contraption complicated enough, to stop him when he wants to go wandering off in the woods. That’s why we’ve nicknamed him Houdini.
Recently, Country disappeared for five days with a leash still hooked to his collar. We searched all over to no avail, and I began to imagine him tangled up in the woods starving and dying of thirst.
And then, just as if no time had lapsed, he came trotting across the driveway just wagging his tail. The leash was gone, and he looked like he had been swimming in a nearby lake.
“Country!” I shouted in my most stern voice. “Come here!”
He just had a guilty look on his face.
Country, as you may recall from previous columns, is our miracle dog. I first wrote about him when my family moved to Columbus four years ago.
We got him from friends living in Seale, Ala., where he had wandered on the property as a starving young pup. My friends fed him, and then he went back into the woods to bring his friend, Rex. The two dogs were adopted by the family.
When we moved to Columbus, our daughters wanted a dog. So our friends gave us Country, a Shepherd-Spaniel mix with a shy personality. Our friends had named him Country because of his burping ways.
But it wasn’t long before Country ran away, escaping from a fenced backyard where we lived at that time.
He was gone for six weeks, and one night my husband and I decided we would just get the girls another dog. Then the very next day a woman called and said she knew where our dog was located. She had seen his picture on one of our fliers and saw him hanging out in a neighborhood six miles from our home.
Country returned home just in time for Christmas, and I wrote a column that was published in the Ledger-Enquirer on Christmas Day. The company hired me about a week later, which is one of the reasons I consider Country our miracle dog.
Since then, Country has become my walking companion, and a special part of our family. He still has a wandering spirit, but always returns home within less than 24 hours.
So when I thought that we might have lost him for good, tears came to my eyes. I alerted our friends in Seale, Ala., who were just as concerned but were certain Country would be OK.
He is a survivor, they reminded me, and we all kept praying.
I also notified our neighbors that the dog was missing, and asked them to contact us if they saw him or heard a dog barking in the woods. Some expressed concern and offered to help us find him.
So just imagine my delight when Country just came trotting back home that day.
We still don’t know why he was gone so long, or how he managed to unclasp his leash. He’s a shy dog who runs away from strangers so we doubt there was any human intervention.
That leads me to believe that God watched over Country, and it’s just another miracle.