How the Cowboy
came to be so important us...
We are caregivers for Jim’s mother who suffers
from dementia and weakness in the left side due to a brain aneurysm in 1980. We have no children and our dog is like our child,
a member of our family.
In 2005, our Australian cattle dog, E.J., became deathly ill and had to be put down, he was 11 years
old. This was a heart-breaking event. We discussed getting another dog, and even described in detail what we wanted: a male,
red merle cattle dog, smaller than E.J., softer hair, and more mild mannered. Jim was hesitant to start looking for a new
dog because he did not want to go through the anguish of losing another beloved pet. But I knew that he needed another canine
companion, as he was becoming more and more depressed as time went by. I secretly searched the ads for a red cattle dog. I
even searched the websites and the local breeders but there were just no cattle dog pups, let alone red ones that were more
rare. So we left on our little vacation to Universal Studios for 3 days and didn’t give it another thought. When we
got back, I decided to search the ads again. I checked the newspaper ads online and there in the Press Enterprise was an ad
for “Red Cattle Dogs”. I called and they had 2 dogs left, one female and one male. We went to look at them and
immediately fell in love with the male one… little Cowboy. He turned out to be exactly what we had ‘ordered’.
We knew he was a gift from God. He brought us so much joy and happiness, he was just what we needed. He slept on our bed from
the day we brought him home.
Our beloved goes missing..
On May 6, 2008, Jim was walking
Cowboy in the brand new subdivision we had moved into 6 months earlier. Cowboy was startled by someone dragging a trash can
and he started to bolt. Jim bent down and calmed him but then when the lid was slammed down on the trash can, he backed out
of his collar and ran! He did not heed Jim’s shouts for him to stop and come back, he just kept running; past our house
and out into the orange grove across the street. Jim, myself and my two cousins immediately began searching by foot and by
car through the vast orange grove and the surrounding streets and we found nothing. For the next 4 days we searched day and
night. We put up posters and handed out fliers. We contacted pet detective, Karin Goin who worked with us by phone on strategies
and techniques to help in our search. She helped us plan where to put up posters and signs. We camped in the orange groves,
and went out in the early mornings and evenings looking for our little Cowboy. We met a lot of friendly and caring people,
most of them dog lovers themselves. People were calling to report having seen him two days ago, two hours ago, yesterday,
this morning, but we were still not able to catch up to him. He was the evasive Cowboy.
things looked bleak and we were discouraged...
We were so discouraged and tired of driving around. We
were constantly reminded of the coyotes that were in the area and I told my husband it was going to take a miracle to bring
our dog back. We had everyone joining in prayer for our little ‘boy’ to come home. The regular contact we had
with Karin gave us strength and encouragement to not give up hope.
We had decided that we would go out the evening of
Memorial day to look for Cowboy because we thought he would come out to scrounge for leftover BBQ. So we planned to just spend
our holiday at home, relaxing and trying to have a nice peaceful day off. I woke up at 3 am and I heard a dog barking in the
distance. I went to the sliding door and stood out on the back porch and I swear I could hear Cowboy barking. I called out
to him, but nothing. I went back to bed and told my husband about the barking and that we should go look for the dog. He said
that we should wait until at least 5am because there would soon be light at that time.
We woke up at 5:00 and got ready to go out searching once again. Half-asleep and skeptical, we went out to the car
and as the garage door opened, in ran the Cowboy! He ran right past me and straight to his ‘daddy’, jumping up
and down with such excitement, I had to blink several times to make sure I was not dreaming. Our Cowboy came home! It was
truly a miracle! Not a scratch on him, and looking like he had only lost maybe 4 or 5 lbs. We knew our prayers had been answered.
We are so grateful
to Karin Goin for taking the time to help us by phone. She walked us through step-by-step instructions and we were able to
‘track’ our dog and know that he was still alive and in the area. Her tips and expertise were invaluable and we
are so glad that we contacted her.
Stella and Jim Wood