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A Dog’s Tale: Thoughts on Being Lost—And Found

Remember, there will always be someone looking for you, praying for your return.

Edward hugging Gracie
Credit: Katye Martens Brier

Today’s guest blog is by Gracie Grinnan.

Editor’s Note: A reader recently asked why it has been so long since Gracie, Edward’s golden retriever, has been heard from in this space. He can take the hint. The following are her impressions of fall and the meaning of the seasons. Edward is taking the day off. 

Hello, this is Gracie speaking, Edward and Julee’s golden retriever, back by popular demand. Ha ha. That’s just a joke. Dogs do have a sense of humor, contrary to what you might have heard. If we didn’t, how could we put up with you humans? That’s a joke too. Don’t be offended!

Gracie in the woodsI am six now, so I believe I have experiences and observations that are worth sharing, ever since I told you about my New Year’s resolutions when I was a puppy. Remember? 

Take the fall. I love the fall, don’t you? I’m imagining that you love the colors. That would make sense. What I love, I mean really love, are the smells. Nothing smells like fall in the woods. It’s as if a whole year of smells have piled up just for me. It can make me crazy! 

Which is what happened a couple of years ago when I got lost. Yes, I, Gracie, got lost. Or maybe it was Edward who got lost. I suppose it’s how you look at it, right? It was scary and Julee will never let him forget it!

We were at my favorite hiking area in the Berkshires called Monument Mountain reservation. We were on a trail to the aforementioned mountaintop. I was minding my own business when—suddenly! —a smell took control of my nose. No other way to say it. I went shooting off into the woods in pursuit. Of what, I’m not sure. I just bolted. Crazy! You too must know the feeling when you just do something because you can’t stop yourself, right? Not my fault! 

I don’t know how far I ran before I realized that I was way off trail. Edward has this whistle he blows. I could hear it, faintly. And his voice. Even fainter. Angry then scared. I just couldn’t get my bearings. He was somewhere moving away. Stay still! I’ll find you! But he kept moving farther away. If only he stayed where he was! Stop looking for me! Now you’re the one who’s lost. 

Have you ever been lost? I mean, really lost. It’s a terrible, scary feeling. So alone! And confused! Where was I? I was afraid anything I did would get me more lost. Why did I have this crazy nose that got me into this? 

I’d never been lost before. Even now, when I think about it, it scares me. To imagine that you’ll never find the people you love again. What an awful feeling that is. Or that they don’t care. Or they’ve given up. No hope!

But it wasn’t true! It couldn’t be. Plus, I knew Edward was doing something he always does when he’s scared, that thing they call praying. I don’t understand it necessarily—it must be some kind of asking for help—but I really hoped he was doing it. 

I started out. Found the trail (finally!). My heart was beating like it never had before and I was so thirsty, but I ran all the way to the top of the mountain. There, I stared over the cliff edge. I saw the tops of trees below. A wind blew all sorts of smells at me. There were birds too, the ones that float on air. I could hear Edward calling. I just couldn’t find him. Way far away. So far! Where was he? And then I saw an angel! 

Well, okay, it was a man. Just this guy with a backpack. But he knew something was wrong. I let him look at my collar (thank goodness for my collar!). He took out that thing that people talk into. He talked. Nodded his head. He gave me some water. It got all over my face because I didn’t have my trail bowl. Then he took some string from his pack and tied it to my collar. What was this about?  Was I being dognapped? Still, I thought I could trust him. He smelled honest. What choice did I have?

So down we went, all the way down the mountain, and all of a sudden there was Edward. The look on his face! I almost ran away again. But then he was hugging me and laughing and hugging and smiling and rubbing my ears and it felt really good, better than anything. Safe again. I wanted to say I was sorry, and I was, but it wasn’t all my fault. He should have stayed put. I guess we both panicked. 

So that was the story. There was another time one fall when I tore off trail—my crazy nose again!—and had an untimely encounter with a porcupine but that is for another day. 

I still love fall more than anything. I love all the seasons and how they change. I don’t understand it and must assume I am not meant to. Change is just change, and I accept it. But fall is the best with its smells and its colors, most of which I can’t see. 

Just remember when you are lost that you never really are. There will always be someone looking for you, someone praying for you, someone who loves you. Sometimes it’s best to just wait until you are found.

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