Havan? Havan! Oh, what a good girl you are!

Successor Service Dog from Canine Companions for Independence



Summer has come to Montana, almost. We have winter and July. It has warmed up enough for us to become careless about leaving the doors open. As soon as the flies and mosquitoes take hold we will start remembering to button up.

Today, is a balmy 74 degrees. Quite possibly turning out to be the hottest day of 2011, so far. No rain, more than enough blue in the sky to make a shirt. And the breezeway door was hanging wide open.

Havan, my service dog, sticks pretty close but part way through a soap, I looked around and didn’t see her.


No pitter patter of dog paws.

By now I am up and looking out on the porch.

“Havan?” Hummm. Empty leash. Bedrooms? Kitchen? She rarely goes to the kitchen. Laundry room door is open. “Havan!”

My son comes up. We decide she went out through the breezeway door. “Havan? Haaaa-Vannn!”

Okay, the last time she walked herself, she went down the mailbox and ended up on the wrong side of the horse fence that encloses our back yard.

Nope. Maybe she is out in her favorite poop grass.

Frantic is setting in. She is a service dog, not into leading herself around, not into making huge plans.

We are looking. Each with a cell phone. Only one of the three numbers on her tag will ring through to an active phone. We need to update those tags.

Of course Sarah isn’t answering her phone. I want to tell her to answer any strange calls in case a dog loving person has a strange and friendly black lab offering high fives.

Many of you remember I broke an arm two weeks ago. Can I drive? I haven’t turned the key since this happened.

“Dan, go inside and get my bigger splint, I’m going to the car.”


Funny how adrenaline can make a mending bone hold up to stress. We climb into the car, roll down the windows, scare the mice out of the passenger area and off we go at a very slow idle.

“Havan?” I didn’t want to sound like I meant trouble. We have to welcome them back like it is play time. Dog psychology. “Havan.”

“Last time she took a walk was July, a few years back when I was painting the mail box. I found her right over here by the stockyard. That’s Sarah’s ring tone, answer and tell her she is the only good number.”


“There she is, right there, see her peeing?” We were in front of the stockyards, a place we can see from our house. “I’ll pull over and you can bring her to the car.”

“Oh, Havan, what a good, good dog you are. Come on, hop into the back seat and we’ll take you home. What a good girl!”

We brought her home. It appears she took a little dip in an irrigation ditch or a creek. Someone is getting a bath later this evening. At the moment, she is snoozing.

This weekend, we will be bringing her tags up-to-date and yes, the screen doors are closed.

Till next time, don’t touch anything sharp and keep those doors closed.

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.


  1. Oh, I am soooo glad you found her. It’s so scary when our pets take off like that! Our old dog gave us a few scares. I love your descriptions, and humor, despite the subject 🙂 I didn’t realize Montana was THAT cool!

    1. It has been a year of cool temperatures and floods. Did you know that floods are the ony weather event that can happen anywhere? She is safe and sound. Someday, I’ll tell the story of Shaman-Ariadne, grand-daughter, who at 3 years old, took off to sled on Pizza Hill.


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