Monday, April 18, 2016

2 January 2016 Phin Phlees (Again)

We do our best to keep Phineas on leash. He's a beagle. Once he gets loose, his nose owns him. We enjoyed the first at Hatch Run so much that we decided to make a second day on the series starting with a few outside the conservation area. The afternoon started wonderfully. We enjoyed a view of the 2015 Pennsylvania River of the Year and made our way to Hatch Run.

Conewango Creek... Pennsylvania's River of the Year for 2015

We made it to Hatch Run and enjoyed a nice section of trail.

We were walking the trail when I looked up and realized Phineas was about 50 feet ahead of us. Uh oh, this isn't good. We had switched harnesses to give him one that was more comfortable. He had figured out how to unleash himself. It was time for the miles long panic run through tough terrain. Phin likes to head to ridgelines and follow the ridgeline. I obediently followed him. I chased him to the ridge, along a ridge, and finally down to a flat area near a pond. He actually stopped and began walking back to me. Then his nose dropped to the ground with a new scent and he was back up the ridgeline. I kept following him as long as I could hear him bay.

I got close at a second point and could see him across a large stream. He was standing there and appeared to be tired and ready to come home. I crossed the freezing stream and was hoping to carry him to safety.

He decided to run me up another ridge. I finally got to the end of the property and knew the foot chase was over.

With a heavy heart, I hunted down Ali and Lizzie who had been patrolling the trails. We made out way back to parking and drove up one private road hoping to hear him. When darkness took hold, we had to surrender. We knew if he sought shelter from the cold in a small rock structure or cave, he had a reasonable chance of meeting a bear or porcupine. Neither encounter would be good for him. It was a very somber evening at the house.

At 1:30 a.m., our phone rang. There was some confusion and a few poor connections, but we soon realized a person had Phineas. It was time for us to get out of bed, pack Lizzie in the car, and make the trek back to Hatch Run. When we got to the house, we were stunned by the amount of blood on Phin's safety vest and warming fleece. The husband of the couple had gone outside for a last walk of the evening with their dog. The dog bolted to the neighbor's property and wouldn't come back. When the man investigated, he found a bloody, exhausted Phin under a truck in the driveway. He took him home. They then cleaned him and gave him water and food. Phin will never understand how lucky he was to meet these kind people.

We did not expect to be driving around at 2:30 in the morning.

As for Phin, he was a wreck. We carried him into the house and tried to clean him up. Most of his wounds looked superficial, but he was clearly in a huge amount of pain.

It was obvious he was trying to back track to us since he was found very near the parking area. Maybe some day he will learn his nose is not his friend. In the meantime, we have agreed he will be the dog who is double leashed in the future.

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