Monday, December 27, 2010

Shep’s Christmas Eve Adventure

Well the big day is over and I sure hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We were very blessed and enjoyed a memorable few days with our family. However, Christmas Eve brought an unexpected event this year. I was settling in at my sister’s where we spend Christmas Eve night. My husband decided not to spend the night because of the snow, cold and our animals. I was settling in for the evening with my step daughter, nephews, sister, brother-in-law and mother. We were playing games, wrapping presents and laughing.
Shep our Great Pyrenees
I decided to call Richie to see how things were and to tell him what time to be at my sister’s the next morning. He sounded short of breath and worried. He quickly told me our dog, Shep, had disappeared right after I left and he’d been looking for him for two hours. Words can’t describe what Shep means to us, he’s more than a pet--he’s a fixture, a part of everything being in its place. His guardian instincts and deep bark, while on night patrol, far from keeps us awake, it allows us to sleep. He’s also my husband’s best friend. Richie jokes that he spends more time with Shep than he does me, and he’s not far from the truth.

My brother-in-law Jason and I quickly got up to drive over to the farm and help look for our lost guardian. With Presley, my step-daughter and my oldest nephew Perry in tow, off we went in a heavy snow.
Shep protecting his flock
When we arrived, Richie was searching around the pond area with a flashlight. We all divided up and the cold and the wind not only made our search bone chilling, but also exacerbated our worries about Shep. We had no idea where he was, we didn’t know if he was hurt, cold or something far worse. It was difficult enough knowing he was gone.

The area near the pond
I decided to get the four-wheel drive utility vehicle out and head into the woods. The snow began to fall even harder. Magnified by the headlight beams, it looked like giant cotton balls floating in two tubes of light.  Even though Presley, Perry and I drove every road and path available in the woods behind our house, there was still no sign of Shep.

Back at the house, we shut off the engine to gather our thoughts. We heard a dog barking in the distance. It’s Shep! Is it Shep? We started the four-wheeler and barreled down the snow covered and desolate main road toward where we thought the barking was coming from. It was midnight, Christmas Eve. We pulled into a closed convenience store and listened for the barking. Now, the bark seemed to be coming from the hill behind our house. It was difficult to locate the barking. Every time we moved to a different location, so did the sound of the barking. Our four-wheeler doesn’t have a windshield and our faces were exposed to the elements. I was afraid of frostbite so I decided to take myself and the kids back home and let the men continue to look.
We came in to warm by the fire
Finally, at 12:45 a.m., I headed back outside to see where Richie and Jason were. I hadn’t seen their flashlights in a bit. I yelled for them, but no answer. I yelled again. Ok, I admit, at this time I was getting a bit panicky. Here we were, it was almost 1a.m. on Christmas Eve, the snow was falling even harder, there was no Shep, and no response from Richie or Jason. I suppose I’ve watched too many scary flicks, but I began to think perhaps we had a serial killer who killed our dog, killed the men and was now going to come get me and the kids. While running this doomsday scenario in my head,  I heard a whimper and then my beautiful dog came running to me from  the woods. Shep was home.  I called my husband’s cell and thankfully they were coming up the front of the property and couldn’t hear me yelling for them. What a relief.

We all piled into the Jeep to go back to my sisters. There was still so much to do. Richie went inside to warm up and go to bed. I didn’t get in bed until close to 3 a.m.,  but I can honestly say it was a Christmas Eve we will remember forever.

Best Friends: Shep and Richie
Shep has never run off. He’s as consistent as day and night. But somewhere in his dog head he decided Christmas Eve was the night. Perhaps he was trying to do some last minute shopping or was worried he hadn’t been a good boy this year and Santa was going to pass Verde without stopping to see him.  Whatever reason he decided to run, we were so happy he was home. He got a mighty good meal on Christmas just to let him know how much.

Hope your Christmas was a bit calmer and filled with more sleep than ours. As we wrap up 2010 we wish you and your families a happy, healthy, prosperous and blessed new year.
Our boy...Shep

67 comments:

texwisgirl said...

I would have been in a panic also. Especially if he's never disappeared before. I'm just glad he is safe, unharmed, and back home being spoiled rotten. :) He's an adorable fellow.

Rural Revival said...

Oh my mind would have raced with the same thoughts, and I don't even like watching those scary types of movies!

I'm so glad to hear Shep made his way home and here's hoping he never scares you like that again!

~Andrea~

Patrice said...

I'm so glad he's okay! Get lots of rest. You deserve it after that search.

Farm Girl said...

That would have been terrible if something happened to such a great dog. I know I spend more time with Sasha than anyone in my family and I would just be lost without her. Living so close to the Moth Man area I bet you mind ran away with you. I might have been a little bit scared too. So glad it turned out all okay.
I am so glad you had a nice Christmas too.
Great pictures by the way.

Red Gate Farm said...

Amy,

I'm so happy to hear that all ended well with Shep! I can't imagine losing one of our dogs. Our yellow lab once took off after the ladder truck my husband used while building the barn back fired. We searched for her for 6 1/2 hours but at least there was no snow and it was still daylight. It was a very LONG 6 1/2 hours. She finally came home on her own but needless to say, she doesn't enjoy the 4th of July!

The "scary movie" part made me laught out loud! It goes to show we don't always think too clearly in an emergency situation!

Chris

Tete said...

Maybe Shep was trying to follow you, or a rabbit! We have been in that panic mode when one of ours has disappeared, fearing the very worse and most of the time, they were alright. I am so glad you found him. It would have been a terrible night to lose such a wonderful friend.
Of course he might be a little jealous of your comment statement up above- you might want to add woof, woof...
Hope you all got caught up on your sleep!

Hugs- Tete

Teresa@oursoutherncountryhomeandfarm said...

Awe, Shep is very fortunate to have a family who loves him enough to go through all of this. Don't ya wish they could talk sometimes and just tell ya what is going thru their heads. Shep just may have a girlfriend around somewhere?? Glad all turned out ok.

CeeCee said...

We feel the same about our pets as you do yours. Having a pet disappear under perfect weather circumstances is awful. I can't imagine your worry knowing he was out there in the dark, in frigid snowy weather.
I'm so glad he's home.

Lisa said...

Wow, Amy what a scary night. I was nervous just reading it...Let alone live it. I am so glad that he came home. I hate the thought of losing one of ours. I am glad it all ended well...even if you didn't get much sleep...I hope you can take a nap. Good to hear from you. Lisa

Sharon said...

Maybe he was going to follow and couldn't find you. A friend's GP did that and they didn't know it - he was hit on the road about 4 miles from their place. You are so lucky that he came home! Forgiven for the Christmas Eve marauding, maybe now he will stay home.

I would rather go through all that, with a good outcome than not!

He sure is pretty!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Thank God. Knowing how much we all love our dog Bella, I can only imagine the panic you must have felt.

Flat Creek Farm said...

Whew!! So glad your precious boy is okay. Great pics, especially the 'happy ending' pic :) I am happy to say that our Christmas Eve was pretty boring compared to all that ;) Happy New Year to everyone at Verde Farm from all of us!! Give that Shep a hug, please. -Tammy

Farmchick said...

I too would have been in panic mode. Our dogs are family to us. So glad Shep made his way home.

Janet said...

oh ! he is such a gorgeous boy no wonder you panicked ! I couldn`t read that fast enough to get to the end and to find out if he was ok . so pleased you found him safe and sound ! I can breathe again !

Lisa@Pickles and Cheese said...

What a beautiful dog! We have a soft spot for Golden Retrievers, New Foundlands and Great Pyrnees. I am so happy your dog is back home! I just saw something on Animal Planet that did a whole segment on Pyrnees and one of their traits they said is that they like to roam. So happy he is safe and sound. Happy New to you

MegSmith said...

Oh my gosh...just reading this post raised my heart rate! We have a dog that means to us what Shep means to you and I can not imagine feeling like I may never see her (Lucy) again...it absolutley panics me. I am SO glad you got to spend Christmas with your family and Shep. Beautiful pictures too, as always :-)

Nancy said...

Your post reminds me of the original Walton's episode with Patricia Neal -- (you are probably too young to remember...) She said, "All I want for Christmas is to see your daddy walkin' through that door..."

I'm sure you felt the same way about Shep. I'm relieved, no, exhilirated, that he found his way home. What a Christmas memory for you all. :)

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Well.......The rumor here in the Great North West is, Rudolph came down with the Swine Flu and couldn't guide Santa's sleigh that night. So, Shep was called up to duty, with his mighty size and strength, Santa knew he could count on him to haul his overloaded sleigh. Shep made it back home just in time to celebrate with the family and all the little children around the world got their presents delivered. Whew!! Thanks Shep!

Bee Lady said...

Maybe he went into the woods to look for the lion and the lamb. I've heard that animals can talk on Christmas eve! So glad he's ok though. I was a little worried about him falling through the pond. What we do for our animals...

Cindy

Country Whispers said...

So glad that he made it back home safe and sound.
I'm sure it will be a Christmas Eve that you won't forget.

Lori Skoog said...

I would have been right there with you looking for that sweet boy. So glad you are together again. Puts things into perspective doesn't it? That had to be one long night.

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Wow - not the kind of excitement you hope for! I hope the rest of your Holiday went a bit smoother. Poor boy. He was probably looking for Santa to help lead the way to Verde Farm. He just didn't want any of you to go without your gifts!
Glad he's home, safe and sound.
Our Christmas wasn't nearly as exciting, thankfully. We received 5 inches of snow overnight and I must say our dogs absolutely love it. Particularly Emerson. He thinks this is an extra gift from Santa - just for him.
Have a great week.
Staci

Chai Chai said...

Thank goodness, a good dog really is a man's (or woman's) best friend. Too bad it was snowing or maybe you could have backtracked him to see where he had been.

Angela said...

I'm so glad that Shep finally decided to come back home Amy! Makes you wonder what they are doing when they take off like that.

Happy New Year!
Angela

Rebecca said...

Oh my gosh-I have felt this severe panic too many times with out little dogs. We have a fence areound all sides with just an opening for our cars-I'm sooooooooo glad he is back safe and warm-they're too precious to ever loose!

Terry said...

Yikes!!! How scary. I'm so glad Shep is home safe and sound. I'm sure he thought he had a good reason - maybe he was trying to protect the property.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Oh-my-gosh!!!! I started reading your post and got so worried about your boy, that I skipped right to the bottom to find out the ending and then read what I missed! I have been in this same place and know the fear you have and how your heart is literally in your throat and your mind is racing thinking all the worst. I'm so glad and so relieved that Shep came home and this story had a happy ending!! He sure is a handsome boy!! Do you think our pups know how worried we are about them when they do things like this?

goatgirl said...

I've had a few of those scary times. You imagine the worst. Glad you found Shep. I bet he was glad too.

Pink Satin Sashes said...

sheesh it's almost like losing a kid, then they come back and wonder what all the fuss is about..glad he is back.....I wonder what he was doing?

Deb said...

so happy you found him...my heart was racing as I read it..thinking of how I would feel if one of mine was missing....

Dolly said...

Thank God everything ended well!
I can't imagine what you must have been going thru both physically and emotionally!

Blessings to you and your family.
Hugs,
Dolly

Sharon said...

Amy,

I was so upset when I was reading about Shep, that I had to (as another person commented)skip to the bottom to see if the story had a happy ending. Our animals are such a joyous part of our lives, it's hard to imagine life without
them. As I write this, I have one corgi on my bed, one in her bed on the floor and the other on the floor sleeping. They are just the sweetest girls and are with me whatever I'm doing.

By the way, I have the same chair with the birdhouses on it that you have in your cottage.

kenleighacres.com said...

How scary! I am so glad everything turned out well. My mind would have gone the same way...too many scary Lifetime movies for me!!! Definitely a Christmas Eve to remember.
Your blog is lovely...found my way here through Chai Chai.
Shannon

Melodie said...

Never a dull moment! I am very happy it had a happy ending! In years to come you all will say,"Remember the Christmas eve we spent in the blizzard looking for Shep..." I got my Pygoras at a ranch called Morningstar hear in Texas.

Rural Rambler said...

Amy glad Shep's Christmas Eve adventure ended in his return home safe and sound. Don't you wish he could talk?!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i am sooo glad that shep came back! maybe he went looking for santa? i would go a bit crazy if teddy disappeared! my new camera is the canon EOS 5D mark ii. the lens is the canon zoom lens EF 24-105mm 1:4 L it's going to take a while to figure it out. the Blog Tech is in film school so he is very good with these things.

Vintage Country Girl said...

I feel the same way about our dog, Rudy. Your story brought me to tears, because that has happened to us before, only to find him trapped in a foot trap for coyote. Breaks your heart! We are looking for a Great Pyrnanees for our sheep flock, but can't find one anywhere!

Janet, said...

What a Christmas Eve adventure! I am glad Shep is okay.

Ginny said...

I am so glad the story had a happy ending. We have had a number of pets go missing when they got locked in someone else's garage. Maybe that is where Shep was, for all those missing hours. I am glad he is home and you had a merry Christmas. These pets can make you crazy! My chihuahua decided to eat the top off a fruitcake log we purchased as a joke. Nothing like bright green poop to add to the holiday cheer! Oy.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

i'm crying just reading this...i am so HAPPY beyond words to know that Shep made it home on Christmas Eve...i know the feeling....i have had kittys missing ...never one of our dogs though. i searched once for my himalayan kitten, Mittens for nearly 18 hours .. to finally find her tucked inside a basket sleeping by the fireplace. i probably went past that basket 1000 times. i was like a crazy person looking for her...

what a Happy ending for christmas eve...so happy it all turned out for the best...we just love them so MUCH!!!! just this morning we were all of us piled in bed together..Teddy and our 2 huge cats...pure heaven.

sending happy new years wishes to you, my friend and all of the animals on Verde Farm...

kary, teddy and all the animals at Farmhouse
xxx

Teri said...

Hi Amy,
I'm so glad to hear everything is okay ... Those big furry creatures become a big part of our families, don't they.
I know I have 3 and have had animals all my life. I really don't think I would want a life that I could not share with animals!
BTW, Christmas miracles do happen!
Take care my friend.
Teri♥♥♥

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

lovely richie and shep photo!

Home In The Hollow said...

Thank God, Amy!...:)JP

Janet said...

I was out there with you in the snow and cold and dark.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Awww. I'm glad he returned home, despite giving you a fright, I'm sure you were happy to see him !
My heart is beating so fast after reading this story, I was literally afraid you had lost him forever.
Give him a scritchy scratch behind the ears for me !
Jo
x

Windy Meadows Farm said...

Oh my, so glad for a happy ending and cheerful reunion! Not exactly the Christmas you envisioned, but a truly happy one in the end. Now...time to settle in and rest. With Shep snuggled in at your side!

Kent Island Red said...

Hi Amy,
Oh my gosh I was panicking right along with you as I was reading your story! Thank GOD it had a happy ending. That RASCAL!! How dare he give us all a scare like that! and I have to admit, I did get a good chuckle out of your thoughts wandering to serial killers, etc. Probably because I'd be thinking the same thing! SO GLAD Shep is home and safe and sound. Wonderful story - who doesn't love happy endings?

~Tonia said...

SO glad he made it home!!

Judy said...

I too would have been in a panic. Our Sadie is much like that, very steady. She too spends more time with my husband than I do :) I'm so glad your adventure has a happy ending. My heart was pounding reading your post.

Feral Female said...

Glad to hear all is well! That was quite the adventure!

Heritage Farm Village said...

so glad he wasn't hurt and finally returned. bad doggy! love the pic with him and richie~ jill

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

Delighted with the Happy Christmas miracle story. What a special dog! Wishing you all a more peaceful New Year's Eve and all good things in 2011.
hugs,
Leslie

Canyon Girl said...

Oh, Amy, There is nothing worse than when a dog gets lost.And he was gone such a long time too. I know I would have been beside myself. I am so glad he came back home and you could continue with your Christmas celebrations.--Inger

Teresa said...

Isn't it amazing how those pets can work there way into our lives and before you know it, we can't imagine life without them. My hubby and his golden are two peas in a pod. If he goes anywhere without her, she sits in one spot till he gets home. So glad you found your pup, and I'm right there with you on the serial killer scenarios. I can freak myself out with the best of them!
Have a wonderful New Year, Amy

The Farmer's Daughter said...

Hi! Thanks for coming by my blog! I'm so glad you signed on as a follower, I'll be coming back here too. Love your photos.

So glad you found your dog. We had a German Shepherd many years ago that was missing for a couple of days and we were just sick thinking we'd never see him again. A neighbor found him caught in a fence. He had torn up his leg but it healed nicely and he lived several more years. He loved to jump fences, but didn't quite make it over that one.

Have a happy New Year!
Cheryl

Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jill said...

Oh my! I bet you were frantic. I am so happy that Shep is home safe and sound. We have a store owner here that has a GP. That dog shows up at the store which is several miles from the owners house every day. The store owner says that he never took the dog there, he just knew how to find him. Maybe Shep was trying to find you on Christmas Eve. He may have eventually shown up at your sister's house.

Jennifer said...

OOoo That would have been so scary! So glad it all turned out great and your Shep found his way home safe and sound... A Christmas Eve to remember.

Sue said...

So glad Shep is home! Your animals are just precious and I'm sure a lot of work. You are living the life my husband and I hopefully will someday enjoy!

Sue~

Mary Ann said...

Just found your blog from a link on another (Farm Tails).... it's a wonderful blog and I was so scared for Shep! I'm so glad he's home safely and everything is allright.
We live in the country too, and it's mighty dark out there tonight!

Pondside said...

Anyone who has ever lost a dog knows that horrible feeling. I am SO glad to read that Shep came to you and that all ended well. We once lost our cairn - she fell down a snow hole. We'd call and she'd be quiet. When we were quiet she'd bark - it was a terrible time until we found her, shivering in the hole.
Wishing you and yours every blessing in '11.

Kathleen From Eggs In My Pocket said...

So glad Shep came home. And I am the same way about my pets. I will walk and call for hours if I have not found one of our pets by the time night falls. So glad all turned out well. Have a wonderful New Year. blessings,Kathleen

Laura @ Darroch Cottage said...

NO! I have just caught up with this. What a naughty boy. Our gods ( now there's a freudian slip if ever there was one! which I won't correct!) are our family so I can totally relate to how you all must have been feeling. I am so glad he came home safe and well.
Shep is just gorgeous and at east he has that huge fluffy coat to keep him warm and cosy.
Bet he got lots of cuddles!

happy New Year
xx

thecrazysheeplady said...

Oh my gosh. I'm so glad this had a happy ending!

Happy New Year!

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Oh Amy...I'm so far behind in reading my favorite blogs that I hadn't seen this one. I'm so sorry you all had to go through that on Christmas Eve! You poor girl...my mind would have been thinking the same thing (mini me is right!) but thank heavens it all turned out ok in the end. Our Shep is my peace of mind at night on the farm too. I'm glad you still got to spend the night with your family and enjoy your Christmas day. I wore my apron Christmas Day after the dirty work was done ;) thank you again. Maura :)

FarmHouse Style said...

What is it about our wonderful canine companions that draws us in and captivates us so? We have only had our darling Anna Belle' for a little more than 7 months but she has completly stolen our hearts, I can't imagine life without her. I am so glad your story had a happy ending and your Shep is safe at home:-).

Rhonda

Rainy Day Farm said...

I could feel your panic just reading the story. So glad he came home and all is well. Hope you got some rest from all the excitement.