Our labradinger, Athena, has just turned one. I am not sure if that makes her recent behavior issues the result of terrible twos or terrible teens. She had been very good about staying near me in our unfenced back yard, even when she was not on the leash. Then suddenly, over the last week or so, she has developed a strong sense of independence. After a couple of incidents of her bolting into the woods I decided the off leash activities would be curtailed until we did some intensive training. The last of her forays ended when she found something unidentified but incredibly disgusting and rolled around in it. Upon retrieving her, I had to make a bee line for the bathtub. The stench was overpowering.
Today I headed out to the mailbox with her on a leash. We were just going to drop a couple of letters in the box so I didn't close the front door. I noticed the garage door was open so I returned inside via the garage, forgetting that the front door was open. I took Athena off her leash and as I put the leash away I realized the front door was open. I rushed outside and Athena was nowhere to be seen. I dashed to the back of the house and into the woods, but no dog. It could not have been more than two minutes, but the dog had vanished and I had no idea in what direction she was traveling. I frantically searched up and down the tree line. There was no sign of her.
I headed back to the house and started making phone calls. I called all my kids, my husband and my mother and asked for prayers. I lit a candle and said my own prayers, certainly asking for the intercession of both St. Francis and St. John Bosco. Soon thereafter, I got a phone call from a neighbor on the next street. Athena was happily visiting her labrador and having a grand old time. I drove over and picked up my wayward puppy. I swear she rolled her eyes at me as I fussed about her misbehavior.
I have remembered to say a prayer of thanksgiving for her return. I am not sure what has sparked this change in her behavior. She reminds me of both a defiant two-year-old and a rebellious teen. I hope this phase passes quickly.