Outdoors Column: Dog Gone

Jag was on the porch Wednesday morning, wrestling with our new poodle pup as I drank coffee. When I left for work, he disappeared. Jag is a terrier that thinks he is the toughest thing in the territory. In the mornings after I leave, he makes his rounds, checking out all the smells of things that had trespassed on his property during the night. He will sometimes go rabbit hunting for a short time, but always comes back within an hour or so. When my wife discovered he was not back a couple hours later, she became concerned. By noon, when he still was not back, she started searching.


Jag loves to hunt. He will take on a full-grown raccoon that outweighs him by ten pounds and up to this point, has never been seriously injured by one. One time, three coyotes were after he and Louie. Jag stopped to turn and fight as they came over the crest of the hill near the house. It would have been a short fight if I had not had my rifle handy and shot two of them. Louie was all about saving himself and three coyotes against one little Jag dog would not have ended well, no matter how tough he thought he was.


Jag has been known to climb into tight spots in brush piles or under buildings after rabbits or wood chucks. There was always the fear of him getting into someplace and not being able to get out. The number of bob cats on the farm has also become a concern. I do not think a bob cat would go out of its way to attack a dog, but if cornered, I am sure it would fight and probably win.


Our grandson, Zane stopped by after school. When he heard about Jag, he went searching. He has hunted with the little dog enough to know his favorite haunts and hangouts. There was no sign of Jag. When I got home from work, my wife and I took the Ranger expanding the search ever further out. After being filled in on where she and Zane had already looked, we started in less obvious places. There was a hole Jag had dug into a Muskrat tunnel at the edge of the lake. I had filled it in, afraid the dogs would get stuck in there. It was still filled in. We checked the island and the spillway to the lake. Though he never has ranged far unless we were with him, there is always the possibility he may have. With several hundred acres to cover, the task was impossible. As dusk drew near, we decided to head back to the house. I took some comfort in being fairly certain he was not trapped somewhere where he would have a slow agonizing death. If he did not make his way home during the night, we could start the search early in the morning to look for a body or severely injured Jag.


When I get home after work, I usually park outside. Tuesday night’s forecast called for tennis ball sized hail. I decided to park in the garage in case the weather man was right for a change. As we pulled up to the house, I asked my wife if she had been in the garage that day. She said, “no, why?” I hit the remote on the garage door and it was up just a few inches when Jag came flying out, really happy to see us. He must have darted in when I left that morning and did not come out before the door closed. He had been gone for the day, but he could not get in any trouble in the garage unlike what we were thinking happened.