Just to warn you, I might ramble on a bit here. But if you have lost a dog you might be able to identify.
I let a buddy borrow my lab (named Wilson) this morning to go duck hunting. On their walk back to the pickup after the hunt, the dog takes off. My buddy thinks he's chasing an animal, tries to call him back, but no luck. He waits at the pickup for an hour, no dog. This afternoon buddy drives in the yard and tells me the story. I ask, were there other hunters around? Yes there were. Were they shooting? Yes. Well I'm almost certain that is where he was headed. Anyway that was mid-morning and now its 4 pm when I find this out. Drove around to all the neighbors, stopped and visited every bird hunter I came by, called everyone I could think of (game warden, vets, police, neighbors, friends). I even put it on facebook. He was only 1.5 mi from home when he took off.
My wife (then fiance) gave me this dog for Christmas almost 5 yrs ago. He came from a shelter and was a basketcase when I got him. Was not calm or happy unless you were touching him. Went bananas if you left him anywhere- garage, kennel, yard...didn't matter. He would follow me down the road until I turned around and picked him up. He mellowed out when we got another dog (worthless mutt...wish she was the one who was missing, cause I wouldnt be looking too hard). My dream was to make him into a hunting dog. Turned out he was gunshy. Oh well, he was a nice dog anyway, very friendly. Long story longer, he got interested in rabbits when I took him along for a winter drive in 2009 and shot a couple out the window of the pickup. So I let him out and he brought them back! It was like a light came on in his head - gunshots mean animals to find. We hunted rabbits a dozen times that winter and it was fantastic. As time went by, he learned to hunt pheasants and grouse, and last year he figured out duck hunting. I'm no trainer either. He is just a natural. I've watched $3000 dogs with another $3000 in training that would be put to shame by my $125 shelter hound.
The funny thing is, he never would hunt birds alone. We have pheasants constantly walking through the yard and he never even lifts his head. But many a morning I would walk out of the house to find a dead coon, possum, muskrat, pocket gopher, or squirrel. He would never eat any of them, just carry them around for a day or so to show off his prey. One day he carried a baby blackbird around for several hours without killing it.
I am really hoping he turns up. Right now I'm caught between anger at the idea that someone decided to pick him up and take him home, and feeling like I am going to throw up at the thought of not having him come back.
I'm not your typical animal lover. Wilson never was allowed in the house, except maybe one night when it got to -35. He always got the cheap dog food, or else leftovers from butchering deer. When there's snow on the ground he doesn't even get water (the coyotes seem to survive fine eating snow, turns out so do our dogs. Especially since they don't have to hunt for their food). But that doesn't mean I don't care about him. I never had to break up with a girl before (my wife was the first and only one I dated) but I would guess this might be how it feels.
If you read this far, thanks for listening. I'll let you know what comes of the situation.