Brendan Quealy spent six months working at Tails before venturing off to grad school. He usually came to work with his sweet dog, Luna. Both Brendan and Luna provided great comic relief during his brief tenure. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I personally passed coffee through my nose at one of Brendan’s perfectly timed irreverent comments. I miss him and Luna a great deal. Everyone at the Tails’ office misses them both.
But before Brendan left, he promised he would keep us all up to date on this new chapter in his life with Luna. To that end, Brendan will be sending blogs regaling us (and now you, too!) with the adventures and misadventures of: Brendan and Luna: Down in Champaign! For those of you who already read, “Luckily Luna,” you’re sure to love this new series starring the same goofy duo.
Blog One: Life with Luna: An Interesting 24 Hours
This is the first entry in an on-going blog I’ll be posting on the Tails website about living away from home with my dog Luna, who readers have been introduced to already in the “Luckily Luna” series.
But regarding this particular entry: Just a few weeks ago there was a point where this blog was not even going to be necessary, meaning I thought I might be living away from home without Luna. Here’s what happened:
My family and I were on vacation in Pentwater, Michigan for two weeks of lazy days on the beach and delicious nights of Oreo flurries, double-scoops of cheesecake ice cream and root beer floats. My parents packed up a few days worth of clothing and supplies for the trip to Champaign, Illinois.
Well, I should say my mom packed a few days worth of stuff; my Dad didn’t bring anything and ended setting his underwear on fire while trying to dry them in the microwave. But that is a whole other story. They left my sister Alyssa and me at the cottage to keep things in order and take care of Luna and Alyssa’s new puppy, Charlie.
Shouldn’t be a problem. Right? Not so much.
That night, after we had burnt ourselves on the beach while watching the dogs sleep in the shade of he umbrella, Alyssa and I headed into town for dinner. It was a nice restaurant, so I put on a nice pair of jeans, a collared shirt and my new shoes. I was looking good.
Dinner was a wonderful celebration. Good food, good music, good conversation and a lot of laughs, which is usually the case when I am hanging out with my sister. But it was when we arrived home that the “fun” really started.
The first thing we did when we returned to the cottage was let the dogs outside to go to the bathroom. Now, our cottage is set back into the woods and there is no fenced-in yard and Luna has a propensity to chase animals, so I don’t really know why I didn’t see this coming.
Luna loves deer. Loves them as playmates, not as prey. Anytime I say, “Luna!
Where’s the Deer!?” Her ears perk up and her tails wags at a rate that should lift her off of the ground.
She and Charlie wandered around for a bit and suddenly Luna was in her hunting pose: stiff body, long neck, sharp ears, and front paw lifted and bent. I started to chuckle because I couldn’t see anything and went to grab her, but as soon I took a step toward her, she was off. I laughed again thinking it was just a bird or a squirrel and that she wouldn’t go far. But she kept going and going, getting further and further and deeper and deeper into the woods.
Here is where the panic sets in, if you were wondering.
I raced after her, dodging sharp branches and exposed roots with little success as I watch her leap downed trees that are at least four feet high without a bit of effort. She was off. The only time I’ve seen her move faster was when a Rottweiler was chasing Charlie at the dog park and her protective instincts took over. She was a black blur that day.
I shouted, “LUNA! LUNA!” I was whistling, clapping my hands and doing whatever else I could think of to get her attention, but to no avail. She could not hear anything I was doing because she had one focus and that was to catch those deer.
I lost sight of her and my heart began to race, and my voice was filled with dread and terror. The one thing that kept me from completely losing it was that, although she could not hear me, I could hear her.
Anytime she is chasing something that she wants and cannot catch, she begins to whine and yelp and throws in a very high-pitched bark as well. While I was pretty sure that was what she was doing, my mind was racing through the other possibilities.
The first was that the deer were attacking her and she would be bloodied and probably dead before I got to her; the other was that she had broken her leg or a stick had gone through her paw. I was actually kind of rooting for the broken leg because at least I would be able to find her.
When the whining and yelping stopped, I stopped. I yelled her name again. Whistled and clapped. I was just moving in a circle and listening for the jingle of her collar. I kept thinking I heard it, but as I stood there I knew she wasn’t close.
I ran out of the forest and stopped in the middle of the road with my hands on my head. My throat was burning and tears were welling up in my eyes. Cars flew by at 50 miles per hour. I was sure she was gone. I knew she had gone across the road and back into the forest and with the time I had wasted, she was too far for there to be any hope. Yet I continued to yell her name.
I was just about to give up, head back to the cottage and wait outside in the hopes that Luna would find her way back, but I gave one more call and as I turned around to look south on the road, I saw her. Walking, well more like strutting, down the middle of the road with her tongue hanging out, her tail wagging and a big stupid smile on her face as if to say, “Hey, did you see those freakin’ deer? I almost got them this time. That was a lot of fun, huh? So… how are you? You look a little stressed.”
I was so happy in that moment. I just knelt down and Luna came right to me, jumped up, put her front paws on my shoulders and licked my face with that big wet, panting tongue.
We walked home, which I think was probably right around a mile, and when Alyssa saw me she said, “You’ve got to be so mad at her.” I think that was the first time that the thought of being angry even crossed my mind. Being mad at Luna was the farthest thing from my mind. I was grateful that she was unharmed, relieved that she was back and overjoyed at the realization that she would always come back.
Now we are both safe and sound, and while there are thousands of adventures that lay ahead, my hope is that we won’t have one like that again.