Mia the Blue-Nose American Bully Pit
A day in the life with Mia the American Bully (Bully Pit) puppy. 2 years old, 59 pounds, 18 1/2 inches from the ground to the highest point of the shoulders (the withers).
2 Years Old
It's a War Zone Out There
The dogs were outside with us, and suddenly they were not. There was so much going on. In hindsight, it is wise to remember that whatever your dog normally does, wherever it normally goes and however it normally reacts to something, can be vastly different if fireworks start going off in the distance. Especially if they start to come from more than one direction. To a dog it can appear to be a war zone.
It was New Years Eve. The party started at 8:00pm. Stephen and I were running around getting ready, setting up tables, starting the fire, getting food ready, getting drinks in coolers, last minute clean up... all that party stuff. One of the guests showed up early at 7:15pm, which caught us off guard and distracted me enough to not pay attention to where all of my dogs were. I was entertaining the early guest and trying to set up. Looking at the cameras after the fact, the dogs were there outside with us while we were setting up. They were there, and suddenly they were not. At about 7:30pm I realized I had not seen the dogs in a while. I opened the front door and called them. Bruno came. Only Bruno. I walked the yard calling Mia and Spencer. Nothing. They were nowhere to be found. Our driveway is about 800 feet long. There are alerts that go off when someone comes or goes. But we didn't hear them go off. When all of the gates are closed there is only one way out, straight up the driveway. The driveway has a gate too, but since we were expecting guests we had not closed the driveway gate.
I heard a car horn honk up at the road. I panicked and hopped on the golf cart. I found Spencer at the very top of the driveway shaking like a leaf. People were setting off fireworks at 7:30pm, already. I yelled for Stephen “They are up HERE!!” He raced the car to the top of the drive and we put Spencer in the car. But there was NO Mia. We searched and searched. I walked for miles, literally. Across the street, down the power lines, the trails in the woods calling her name over and over again. Stephen did the same in different areas. He drove the roads. Party guests started showing up at our house and we were not home. As they heard the news a lot of them started looking as well. After an hour of people being at the house without us, Stephen went back and ordered pizza. We had not had time to put out our party food. He gave one of the guests money to pay for the pizza and left to look for Mia again. We looked all night. We had an entire search party going. We knocked on doors. I called the police and filed a missing dog report. I left messages for animal control. At one point I heard the fox calling from one of the fields and I headed in that direction to see if Mia was trying to get the fox, a hunch that was the reason Spencer and Mia had left in the first place. At midnight everyone ended up gathered back at the house, but still no Mia. Most guests left about 12:30am. A couple of friends stayed until 2:00am looking with us. We walked on foot and drove around with a spotlight pointing out the car windows up and down all of the streets. Stephen and I looked another hour until 3:00am. Then we headed back to the house and waited for daylight. At 7:00am we headed back out first thing, before breakfast or coffee etc. This time in the back of our minds, for a dead dog along the side of the road, or laying in a field somewhere. We drove all around every single street. No Mia. We headed back to the house to eat breakfast with plans on hiking it all over again on foot this time in the daylight. I started calling all of the local vets to report her missing and see if anyone brought her in while Stephen got breakfast together. We were going to eat and leave again on foot. It was 9:00am. I was pacing through the house while on the phone when I walked up to the front door and I saw her little ears sticking up on the other side. It felt unreal, I was so fatigued, it was like I was dreaming. "OMG, Stephen, it's Mia! She’s back." He replied "No WAY!, WHAT??!!" There she was, at the door standing there as if to say, "You gonna let me in? Or what?" Where had she been? Where did she get out? Spencer was at the mailbox. So most likely she left with him straight up the driveway. On all the cameras we cannot confirm her returning from that direction.
When she first got back, after happily circling us over and over again, not even standing still long enough for a You're Home picture, I got her breakfast together and fed her.
After eating Mia snuggled into the safety of her dog crate for a nap. She was finally out of the cold and in her warm home.
How She Got Back
We watched the camera recordings to see where she came from and headed out to check it out. We brought her with us so she could show us. There was a spot at the bottom of the back fenced area that looked like it could have been possible for her to squeeze under if she really tried. We put her outside of the fence and Stephen and I stayed on the inside. We called her. Mia immediately ran over to the questionable area under the fence and squeezed under it like she had done it before.
We are figuring she went up the driveway with Spencer and at some point Spencer decided it was a good idea to head home when the fireworks started going off, but he left Mia. Mia then found herself alone and started trying to get back to the house, but she was not smart enough to go back to the top of the driveway. She was on the wrong side of the fence. She spent all night trying to get back in, perhaps even hunkering down until all the noise of New Years died down. It is a long loop around 60 plus acres. While we did search the back of the property we had all been concentrating by the road, across the street and on the front half of the property. Mia had taken the long way around, into the neighborhood along the fence line, then down through the field and behind the property coming back from the back of the house. She most likely did not reach the back of the property until the next day.
While Mia is a born alpha type, her lack of eyesight holds her back, sometimes making her a bit cautious and at times fearful, but at the same time she's bold and pushy. She runs to things that scare her. If she thinks she can get away with it, she pushes her way through barriers with all her might, like a bull in a china shop, hence finding a way back into the fenced area.
Nicknamed the "wild child" by one of the friends helping us look for her, Mia may be alpha among the dogs, but it would have been Spencer at led Mia up the long driveway trying to follow the calls of the distant fox. While Mia tries to lead the other dogs, if there were an apocalypse it would be Spencer that would keep the pack well fed with his strong instinctual hunting skills. When it comes to hunting, Mia follows Spencer.
Mia has poor eye-sight and short legs compare to her stocky body, whereas Spencer has excellent eye sight and is very agile, and a bit smarter than Mia. Mia does have a good nose and good ears. We kept calling Mia's name through the night and into the morning, which I think helped her find her way home. She is also familiar with the trails behind the house. Once she got to a certain point, she had been there before, hence most likely knew her way home, but there were fences blocking the way making it difficult. The horse, goat and other various fenced fields usually keep her in, only this time she was on the outside and it was keeping her out. Hindsight, if any dog ever goes missing again we will open up all of the gates to help them come back home.
Mom I know you missed me, but put me down already. I will have some of those pancakes though.
Yep, she was wondering around the woods. There were prickers stuck in her skin.
In front of the fireplace to warm up
And she's back to her old self, running out to get a piece of carrot when it's time to feed the guinea pig. "You gonna share that?"
Bruce the Guinea Pig gets a carrot, too.
Mia and Spencer are both exhausted. They crash next to the fireplace
It was a long night for all of them. The next day they are very tired dogs.
They slept just about all day.
That night Mia came into my bedroom and looked at me whining. I got up and fetched a dog bed placing it next to my bed . She curled up and went to sleep. She had missed the security of her human pack. Halfway through the night she went back downstairs and curled up with Bruno and Spencer again.
The next day, a mug shot from the hung over pack.
R.I.P. Bruno the Boxer
Mia is the type that if you give her an inch she suddenly thinks she's boss of all of the other dogs. The other day I thought she had to poop, so while walking all of the dogs I let her have some lead to go try and poop in the weeds. After a while I realized she did not have to go to the bathroom, she was just leading us all. I got her back in line and when we got back to my office she gave Bruno the "don't pass me" eye at the bottom of the staircase, suddenly thinking she could rule the pack around. Oh Mia, you're so pushy, but at least your attitude did helped you find your way home by finding a hole in the fence.
Want to get past Spencer, nope, not going to go around him. I'll just go under him. Who cares if I don't fit and Spencer almost falls down.
We are now looking into getting some type of GPS tracker for all of the dogs to wear 24/7 that are small enough for them to comfortably sleep in, as you never know when one of them might disappear. We have Garmin hunting type tracking collars for them, but they are too big for them to wear all of the time. We would put the collars on when we traveled or when camping. The dogs do not run away in front of us while we are outside paying attention to them.
The dogs are now all fitted with Whistle tracking collars. The collars have proven to have already paid off, as a few times I got an alert that one of them left the zone and I caught them walking up the driveway. Once I was not even home and was able to contact Sara and have her call the dogs back after receiving the alert on my cell phone. After the text message came in, I had looked at the app that came with the collar which showed me a map of Mia's location. She was half way up the driveway, either sniffing out an animal or just nosing around. She came back as soon as she was called and Sara closed the driveway gate. We have a very long driveway with a gate near the house end, which we keep closed unless we are expecting company or a delivery.
Sometimes the dogs are outside and I don't see them. I used to have to walk all around the yard looking for them. I am now able to pull out my phone and see their location, walk over and check on them and then go back inside the house without disturbing their sun bathing session or nap.
Where to Go
We were in a different house away from home. The thunder rolled. Mia started to pace. Bruno had taught Mia to fear storms. At home Mia goes upstairs, but there was no upstairs in this new house. She didn't have a "safe" place. Where to go... Pace, pace... Mia was wrestelss and stressed. We needed to give her a "safe" place, even if it was just psychological. I picked up her bed and put it in one of the bedrooms away from the outside wall. "Here Mia". Mia decided that was a good place to be and she laid down contently and relaxed. Sometimes dogs just have to be told where to go and what to do.
Meanwhile, Spencer stood up from his bed and asked to go outside. He loves the air a storm brings in. At home he likes to sit on the porch during a storm.
Bringing mommy yet another 'gift'. Yes, it's a leaf, but to her it's like a gold coin. She gives out about 20 a day.
While out on a walk Mia spots a clump of fiberglass laying off to the side in the grass. That stuff is literally everywhere.
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