Epic pet journeys: Sam's 100km tour
After talking non-stop about dogs for a few months my husband gave in and together on Trade Me we compromised on a sweet looking, unwanted border collie called Sam.
It was night time when we went to pick him up from the farm. The farmer had to yank him out from his kennel and couldn't tell us much more about the dog other than he got him from a guy at the pub for a 24 pack, he was about two years old and he was unfixed. The farmer couldn't get him to work and thought he would make a good pet for someone willing to put in the time. The dog was cute, we had driven a long way to get there, so we took him on a two-week trial.
On the way home the car was hot and this poor dog was panting and drooling all over the place so we pulled up at a dog park to get some fresh air. With his brand new collar and lead on I tugged him out of the car and in to the noise and lights of the city. Sam freaked out, pulled out of his collar and headed for the hills. At this point we learnt that Sam didn't recognise his own name, he had probably never been off a farm or on a lead and looking for a black dog in the middle of the night is impossible.
We searched for hours but couldn't find him. So in the end we went home and the next day I called the pound.
The dog control man found him kilometres away from where we lost him on another sheep farm out the other end of town. After paying a couple of hundred dollars to get this dog back that wasn't mine I got him home and got him a harness.
Over the next week we learnt Sam had never been house trained or even let inside a house, and he was scared of everything. While out shopping I left him tied to the apple tree in the back yard. When I got home he was gone. He had shaken his harness around and scratched until the clip came undone. We looked for days, every time I heard a dog bark I ran out calling his name. I left notices on the supermarket notice board and in the Wednesday Trader. Eventually we started getting these phone calls, mostly from sheep farmers saying they had seen him out and thought the neighbour had gotten a new dog. If I had put pins in a map I could have followed his progress around the Geraldine/Fairlie district. He travelled maybe 100 kilometres over the two weeks he was off.
Sam must of appreciated the short time we had together because he came back a few times to steal the food I kept out for him. But the few times I saw him I could never catch him; he thought it was a great game. On the day we did eventually did catch him I had spent two hours chasing him around the paddock holding out bits of ham until I just had to leave for work, as I drove up the street he shimmied under the gate and chased me up the road. The neighbour shouted out "Hey, isn't that the border collie your looking for!"
Sam's undoing was he need for dog company and while playing with a black Labrador a block over, the owner shut the gate and Sam was trapped. She had seen my notice in the supermarket. I got Sam home a second time and after we decided to give him a third chance he has since become a wonderful pet. He hardly leaves my side and we have no need to even shut the gate.
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