One can never underestimate the bond of love and connection between humans and their animal companions, especially when they become allegedly separated.
Such was the case when I put the German Shepherd, Sasha & Bear, out at the fence game and forgot to lock the button on the gate. An hour from then, I noticed the gate had opened. They went. Hearts tremble with fear and concern for them.
The dogs have been out before but not ever — this time will be different. We currently live in Southern Indiana on Patoka Lake. The second largest lake in Indiana with 26,000 acres of water that covers three different counties in the middle of the Hoosier National Forest, which extends 317 sq miles over 204,000 acres of wilderness. These dogs can be anywhere.
I began to shout, “Sasha, Bear-Bear, come,” and when they didn’t run, a scary feeling grew. Quickly, I ran home, and I let my wife Brandy know they were out. He ran outside, calling their names when I held my truck keys and speeded up the search.
BRING NEWSLETTER BARK IN YOUR BOX!
Register and get answers to your questions.
After several hours of searching, we got neighbors, friends and even foreigners who were involved in the search. We created flyers to post on local businesses in the area, shared on Facebook groups that offered gifts and contacted local police departments, animal control and the humanitarian community. Now there is a complete APB for these two fugitive dogs.
As the day drew on and the sun began to set, both Brandy and I fell into depressed slumbers realizing our babies would not be home with us for the first time in their lives. Brandy and I hold arms, cry, and pray they can be awful again.
The German shepherd was faithful to the error. They become your companion, your shadow, your emotional support, and love you unconditionally, and when they suddenly and unexpectedly lose… It’s like losing a close friend or family member. But we have hope.
On this sad December night, the day after Christmas, we left feeling empty and worried about how our pets would survive in the desert alone.
Why would they be hit by a car? Why would they be shot by farmers?
Kanyeri by wild animals? What if someone finds and tries to protect them?
We propped opened the door to the screened front porch and turned on the Ring camera. We kept there in bed holding hands, watching the phone screen in hopes Sasha and Bear would appear begging to come inside for a pet on the chest and a treat. At some point, we each drifted off sleep.
Brandy had to be in the hospital at 7:15 a.m. for an outpatient operation the next morning. When I woke up at 5 in the morning, I immediately went to the back door to check the hopes my furry companions had returned to earth — only to be disappointed.
We carry out our morning routines in silence, each trying to deal with feelings of loss as we prepare for the hour trip to the hospital. Brandy has gone out to start the SUV so it can be warm when he feels there is a touch on the back of the tribe. She turned around to find Sasha, and she immediately bent down to give her love. At that time, he realized Bear was not with him.
Brandy called him more loudly, but he was not found. Happiness that has been great now becomes a feeling that sinks when realizing that they are separated. These two dogs are always together. Both have lost 21 hours by the time Sasha has returned.
Brandy came through the back door. I heard him say in a shrill tone, “Just one more coming!” When I turned to him, I asked, “Where is it?”
She replied, “Sasha.”
My feelings are torn. I’m glad Sasha is awful again — but Bear is my dog — I love him, and he’s still missing. I bent down and gave Sasha a hug and some pets. She was whining and crying as if to say she missed us too.
After returning from surgery, Brandy suggested I take Sasha for a walk to see if she would lead me to show where she and Bear had gone the day before. I took Sasha out in the yard, but she seemed scared away from Brandy, so I went home. A few minutes later, Brandy took Sasha outside, telling him to search for Bear and me to accompany them. Sasha led us to a large field and began to grin as if he knew where to go, so we accompanied.
I knew Brandy was only a few hours out of surgery, so I recommended him awful again while I would continue the search with Sasha. As Brandy walked off, Sasha stopped and turned around looking after her man. I removed her leash, and she went straight to Brandy. It’s obvious that he has long been not on Brandy’s side and isn’t willing to make an exception.
When we walked to the ground, one of the neighbors called when he walked towards us and asked why we found our dog. I explained that we were still looking for Bear and pointed to the field that Sasha led and asked if he knew what was on the other side. Neighbors replied that a camper, cabins, and several houses were on the way down by the cove and boat ramp.
We went home, and I got into the truck and headed the road alone, feeling hope. I had already searched the area several times in the past 36 hours to no avail. But, I didn’t want to give up on finding Bear.
I drove slowly, looking at each game, calling out the window for Bear. I halfheartedly decided to check down near the boat ramp and start driving around the parking loop for the last time. The place was quiet in the middle of winter, and I rolled all my windows down to shout: “Bear-Bear” loudly in every direction.
As soon as I was about to pull out, I heard bark in the distance across the wide lake.
I asked myself, did you hear anything I shouted back “Bear-Bear” and again listened to the dog barking as if answering my phone. I drive towards the sound. I heard more barking and before I knew it, I got out of the truck that stood on the edge of the lake screaming for my puppy. Every time I call, some bark responds.
I can’t see anything though. I stood looking across the lake at the fingers of a large ground with large sand covered with rocks and trees and listening to the bark. Suddenly running down the steep sand came Bear-Bear barking along the road! Tears filled my eyes as we each stood on separate sides of the lake, watching each other. It was the most amazing experience in the 54 years of my life. To have such a connection that is against all odds, we will find each other.
Quickly, I called Brandy excited and crying to give her an update. I had to find him, but I had to figure out how to get to him because the water was too cold to cross, and Bear didn’t care to swim anyway. At that moment, it dawned on me that he and Sasha were probably over there together and when she saw the boat ramp, she probably jumped right in and swam across. She loves water. Bear, on the other hand, doesn’t care to be there, so he stays stranded there alone like Gilligan, not sure of its location.
As I thought the situation through, I decided to walk along the bank on my side of the lake and get Bear to follow on his side until we both came to Point Cove. When I started walking, I shouted for Bear-Bear to come and point in the direction I was going. She began to walk in the same direction. As we walked, I saw him moving slowly, hobbling. He was hurt.
We walked along the lake across each other while I talked to him along the way, pushing him. I lost sight of him several times and worried until I saw him again. After what seemed like forever, I could see the water coming to an end where Bear and I would be able to meet. We both raised the pace until we ran towards each other as if in unison.
I shouted, “Come on, boy,” laughing and crying as he approached me.
He ran to me whining, wet and muddy, with his tail flying. I hug him.
After reuniting, we started to retreat my steps towards launching the boat towards the truck, but we were together. Sometimes it seems such an awful Bear rush back to the comfort of the earth. Whenever I felt he was too far ahead, I just shouted his name, and he went like the past to my side. When I dried him in the truck, he cried excitedly.
At home, Bear and Sasha were excited to see each other again. Bear got a warm bath, dried it off and laid it down in his favorite place next to my bed. I look over, and Sasha is in her favorite place too. All of us are happy to have them on earth where they belong.