When you can’t rely on language to have a connection, a psychic bond is the answer. It is a heart and head connection requiring no audible noise. Claddagh in the early days was a bit of an escape artist, but she always seemed to have a reason to go where ever it was that she would end up.
In 2008 in the hours leading up to the 48 Hour Film Festival debut, Claddagh disappeared out of my friends yard. His dog stayed within the fence, and Claddagh was no where to be found. Knowing that I had a bunch of shit to do in a short period of time, looking for my dog was last on the list. As I washed up in the shower, in my mind I said “Claddagh, if you don’t get back here in the next five minutes, don’t bother coming home. You are stressing me out right now.”
A few seconds later my friend hollered through the bathroom door that he found her. After finishing up, I came out and asked him where she had been and he says “You’re never going to believe it… She was just over at this guys house down the block. He said that he saw her at the fence and she took one look at him, jumped the fence and ran over to him and just started loving on him. He told me that he had just lost his mother and his dog in the last 24 hours, and it was like she came over to console him. He volunteered to watch her while we go to the film festival.”
WOW! I was floored. My dog had sensed this man’s deep despair, and she broke the rules in order to go give him some much needed affection. I couldn’t be mad anymore. I was proud of her, and I hoped that she looked both ways before crossing the street. They neighbor watched her for a few hours without incident, and I was able to enjoy the film festival without stressing about my dog.
Claddagh had two run in’s with getting put into Doggy Jail. The first time was probably around 2010. Some friends invited me to go to Breitenbush hot springs with them; but Breintenbush is a dog free zone. I asked another friend to watch Claddagh for the day, as we would be leaving early morning and wouldn’t be back until later in the evening.
It ended up that the person who was going to watch her, flaked out; and I wasn’t sure what we could do with her. I wasn’t familiar with the roommate that would be home, and I knew that their backyard fence was low enough for Claddagh to escape. I told the group, “I can’t go.” And they assured me that Claddagh would be fine. Despite having a feeling of uncertainty, I was cajoled into going on the trip.
We got up to Breitenbush and spent several hours hanging out in the hot pools. Sometime around 3 pm, two of us decided to take a hike in the lush forest surrounding the area. While hiking I made the observation out loud, that it seemed wrong of us to be hiking in such a beautiful place without our dogs. Right around that time I felt a panic set in, and I just wanted to get home.
I think it was probably 10:30 or so in the evening when we returned to Corvallis. Sure enough when we get to my friends house, Claddagh is nowhere to be found. Two friends head out on foot, and I drive around hoping she is still in the neighborhood. No luck. The roommate that was home said he let her out around 3pm when he left for work. So she was left unattended in a backyard with a fence low enough to scale.
Here is where things lay over into the psychic world. These friends lived very close to the only park in Corvallis where it is a dog free zone. Claddagh had jumped the fence and went straight over to that park and was picked up by animal control and taken to the shelter. The following day was a holiday and the shelter was closed, I couldn’t be with out her for another night so I knocked on the employee door because I knew there must be someone there to feed them.
I could hear Claddagh barking from outside the building as I walked around looking for the employee entrance. A kindly little old lady answered the door, and I told her that I could hear my dog crying and that I really wanted to get her back today. The lady led me back, and she could tell that my dog was who I said she was. She told me “You are a good doggy parent, I’m just going to let you take her home today.” She waived the fee, and sent Claddagh home.
I told Claddagh “if it is a no dog zone, you might want to avoid hanging out near there.” She seemed a bit shaken with her time in lock up.
A few months later Claddagh would escape again, but differently. I had plans for us to go to the Corvallis farmers market, and before we got down there I stopped into a convenience store, in the time it took me to purchase a cold coffee and a pack of cigarettes, she had jumped out of the back window. Now, mybad, because I didn’t notice she wasn’t back there until I got to the farmers market… and low and behold, an empty back seat.
I got back into the car, and drove back to Philomath where the C-Store is. I start walking the blocks, calling for Claddagh. I see some kids on skateboards and I ask if they have seen a friendly, red and black dog wandering around. They say ‘yes’ and I ask them to show me which direction she went. They lead me toward a boarding house where we had a friend who was living there, so I definitely felt like they had seen my dog.
Now, Philomath is about eleven miles from the farm we were living at in Wren. I spent an hour looking for Claddagh and then I had to get on with my day, so again, silently in my head I called out to her and said ” I don’t know where you are or what you are doing, but you better not be anywhere near the highway. I have shit I have to do today, you are stressing me out.”
It was a long day, and I by the time I got home, I had been gone for about twelve hours.
As I pulled into the driveway, there was Claddagh, cowering, but happy to see me. After talking to her I got the sense that she followed the rail road tracks home. She had walked that entire way back to the farm. Needless to say, I was quite impressed with her fortitude and sense of direction. I am sure she followed the smell of the sheep all the way home.
Last month would signify Claddagh’s last foray into Doggy Jail. So far as I can tell, she was out in the front yard, unattended, which is very unusual. She had her collar off, which was normal. And someone thought she was lost so they took her in for the night. When I came out and realized she was gone, I went into full panic mode. It was pretty late at night so I walked the streets with a flash light calling her name. No luck, so I laid a sleeping bag under the tree in the front yard, and slept there until the sun came up, hoping she would smell me and wander back home.
No such luck. The shelter opened at 11am, and though it was my intention to be there before they opened, I got lost while trying to find the building. I arrived at about a quarter after 11, to find my dad waiting in line to see if she had been dropped off. Sure enough, someone had dropped her off, right at a 11. If I would have been there early I could have saved myself the $55.00 they charged me for keeping her all of 24 minutes. She got a couple of shots out of it.
This time when I went back to identify her, she looked on top of the world. She had gone on her own adventure and she was high on it. I couldn’t be mad at her, it just stirred the part of me that didn’t know what I was going to do when she was actually gone for good.
See, even that event last month seems like a psychic precursor to what was going to follow on the night of Aug. 25, 2018. I was given all these tests over the years to prepare me for the inevitability of losing her. All I can do is be grateful that she was so gentle with these lessons and tests.