The following story happened January 5 through 10, 1999. The short
story is, Timber learned the hard way to fear cars and live on her own.
The night before leaving for a Florida vacation, January 4, Timber and I spent the night at my sister's house in nextdoor Milton, MA. The idea was to help both Timber and I feel better about her staying there while I was away for five days. She had, after all, just come home from the kennel in November. We had a nice walk with my brother-in-law (Jeff) and Timber's golden retriever cousin (Callie) that night. In the morning, Timber and I had another nice walk in the park across the street from their house. When I had to leave, I felt great about leaving her.
Later that day, my wonderful sister (Amy) brought her to run at the completely fenced in track I bring her to weekly. It was cold, so Amy wisely dressed Timber in her lovely coat from the Voyagers*. Timber and Callie had a nice romp. However, Timbers always been very shy. When it came time to go home, she wouldn't come. And wouldnt come. Etc. It got dark. My sister got the flashlight. It eventually became clear Timber was no longer there. No one understands how this happened, but it seems she must have somehow squeezed through a four-inch opening in the earth under the fence (she is a little girl . . .).
Two hours later, a woman called the Milton Police to report she'd just hit a greyhound wearing a red coat. The car broke a headlight. The Milton Police were wonderful. Although they don't normally help with lost pets, they radioed all the officers and everyone chipped in that night. Not long after, Timber was spotted. But she wouldnt come. My sister got within two frustrating feet of her. Thankfully there was no precipitation, but the temperature dropped to 19º with wind gusts of 25 mph. That was Tuesday night. Amy, wisely, didn't alert me.
On Wednesday, all the local shelters were alerted. Calls were made to all the vets. To the golf courses. To the Police in other towns. Amy posted 300 flyers with Timber's picture throughout Milton and North Quincy (where I live). Wednesday afternoon Amy called in tears to give me the news. Then we were both in tears, multiplied shortly thereafter by Mom and Dad, who I was visiting. Amy combed the local woods. Trace amounts of snow fell. Temp dropped to 16º that night with wind gusts of 32mph. No one saw Timber on Wednesday. Tissues were disappearing by the box in Florida.
On Thursday, Amy and several other volunteers spent a second day searching the woods near where Timber was last spotted. Display ads were placed in the three local papers. The local cable TV station ran announcements. Trace amounts of snow fell again. Temp dropped to 20º with wind gusts of 31mph. No one saw Timber on Thursday. Buckets of tears all around . . . I had lost all hope.
Friday morning all six schools in Milton announced Timber was missing. Friday afternoon, Amy started getting calls from students and teachers who had seen Timber. She was alive!!! However, whenever Amy would get to a sighting location, Timber would be long gone. Several golfers said she was hanging around the fourth green at Wollaston Golf Course. In Florida, my tears dried and turned to smiles. I felt certain she couldn't slip from us now that she'd lasted this long. I had been so sure she was gone from us forever, any hope just thrilled me. Just under a 1/4 inch of snow fell that night. Temp dropped to 18º with wind gusts of 24mph.
The search continued on Saturday. Friends, neighbors, and volunteers who didn't even know us combed the woods. A woman who had met Timber when we were walking on Wollaston Beach saw a flyer and volunteered. A man we didn't know from Randolph heard a greyhound was missing and volunteered (I love you greyhound people). It was incredible. People whose doors Amy knocked on came out to help. My neighbors' yellow Lab, who is one of Timber's best friends, spent the day helping. However, once again they came home empty-handed. Half an inch of snow fell that night. Temperatures only dropped to 30º, but wind gusts were as high as 43mph.
Sunday morning all the local churches made announcements. I was supposed to come home Sunday night. I flew standby and was home before noon. I called Amy from the cab. Several people had called while I was in the air saying Timber was spotted limping badly and walking in front of cars in East Milton Square, which is a very busy traffic area about halfway between where she was lost in Milton and my home in North Quincy. Silly girl was finally on her way home.
Amy and I met in East Milton Square and were reviewing the sighting locations on her map when we got a call from Jeff. A woman just blocks from us had coaxed Timber into her fenced back yard. (I deserve zero credit for finding her minutes after I arrived home; perhaps doG was looking out for one of us.)
Timber had lost five pounds and was limping badly. Her beautiful belly had a zillion cuts. Her ears had cuts. Her legs had cuts. Her face had cuts. Her beautiful muscles had bruises. BUT SHE WAS ALIVE!!! And she had no broken bones. The emergency vet sent us home with antibiotics and said Timber limped less when I was out of the room! Silly girl!! Doesn't she know I couldn't love her any more if I tried?
It's been a couple months now. I was so new to the Greyhound-L at the time that I didn't realize how many more "strangers" would have been out helping if I'd posted a message. My tears have dried and Timber is 100% better. The silver lining is that Timber has an extreme fear of cars coming from behind her (must of been hit on the butt; thank doG for those muscles). It's not every greyhound who has a chance to develop a fear of cars and go on to tell us about it.
Timber is nothing less than famous around here. I frequently get asked, "which one is Timber?" or "is that the greyhound that was lost?" Although I'm the one in marketing, my sister Amy who runs the South Shore Educational Collaborative high school in Hingham, MA did a phenomenal job of educating Milton and Quincy residents on the fact we needed Timber back.
That Ultrex/Polar Fleece coat from the Voyagers* may have saved her life. It has a fleece scarf up to the ears and a reflective strip on the butt. I have no association with them, but I would recommend that coat to anyone.
As a final note, Amy and Jeff are thrilled that Bear has moved into our happy home and are ready and willing to take both kids next time I need to be out of town. What a greyt family I have.
Now, please, go hug your hounds.
*The Voyagers Web site address is http://www.voyagers-k9-apparel.com; their toll free number is 877.423.7345. Hours are M-F 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (they're in Wisconsin). A portion of the purchase price goes to the adoption group of your choice.