Back in February we had to say goodbye to Bagelkins. I have not been able to write about it. There is just so much to say that I don’t even know where to begin. However, this isn’t a story about her, it is about Baxter.
We realized we wanted another dog right away. This took me by surprise. I never thought I’d love another dog again. Last week on Bill’s birthday we adopted a shy, scared little Beagle from the Iowa County Humane Society. His name was Duke, but we decided we would call him Baxter. He was so scared that he wedged himself between the steering wheel and the windshield when we got in the car. Eventually we made it home with him.
He seemed to be settling in OK. Here he is, looking cute and calm, the night we got him:
The next morning I let him explore our fenced in yard for a little on his own while I watched from the window. We had carefully examined the entire yard and blocked off the places by the gates, just be safe. I watched as he investigated, looking for escape routes. Bagelkins was mainly beagle, so I know this is how they think. I found the whole situation rather amusing. Until suddenly he was gone.
I screamed for Bill to get out of bed and he took off in the car while I went running through the rain in my pajamas.
This was the start of a FIVE DAY NEVER ENDING CHASE.
Baxter’s foster family got involved, as did numerous neighbors, good Samaritans, friends, family, and dog lovers. We used trail cams, bait stations, and a trap. We put up hundreds of posters and posted on facebook and lost dog sites. Baxter was too stealthy and fast for all of us. The calls of sightings came in at all hours, but it was always too late when we got to where he’d last been seen.
Last night we baited Baxter’s trap and left it open and unset, in the hopes he would come by and investigate. We thought it was unlikely since he’d been reported running in fields very far away, but we were hopeful anyway.
Early this morning we got a call from the family who had let us put the trap in their backyard, reporting that Baxter was hanging around their yard. These awesome animal rescuers have everything from cats to ferrets to a little white dog named Sophie who I think Baxter might love. I guess he knew which house to show up at! I got up and began getting ready, when they called again to report that Baxter was INSIDE the trap. I rushed over to get the trap set and when I got there he was up in the field by the woods, watching. Of course I wanted to run up to him, but he is scared and shy, and having just been adopted, he doesn’t think of me as his mom yet. It took all my self-discipline to set the trap, toss in some chicken and hot dogs, and casually walk away.
While I waited inside with Cynthia, the woman whose house was our stakeout headquarters, we watched Baxter approach the trap, sniff around, and leave. He went into the woods and stared at us, so we went out of the sunroom to a less conspicuous area and watched. He then approached the trap, went inside, and it snapped shut behind him. It was kind of unreal. I really, really didn’t think it was going to happen. After all that running and waiting and worrying, it was almost too easy.
Here is a map of sightings, to help you put it into perspective:
Even if you aren’t familiar with Madison, you can probably tell that this is a huge amount of space. I was terrified he was going to get hit by a car! Instead, here he is, now safely back home with us.
Now with the help of a harness, collar, and three leashes at all times, we will enjoy walking little Baxter around Madison, and helping him get comfortable in his new home. But first he really needs a bath. He smells like dirt.