The below message is from Magnus.
About 4.30 PM on June 13 I get a phone call from Jim Hunolt: Zeak has been sighted! (at this time I am at a garage in Seaside getting my truck fixed).
Jim lives very close to where Zeak was lost 16 days ago (!). Zeak is our son Stefan’s dog. Stefan left him with us because he’s gone to sea with USCG Cutter Stratton for four months!
Zeak has been in Houston, Texas, all his life…a city dog! He has now been in the Big Sur wild for 16 days, still alive, and no one has seen him? It’s hard to believe. But hope springs eternal!
– What’s the color of the dog you saw?
– Light brown.
– His build?
– Stocky, strong looking.
It all checks out. It really sounds like Zeak – OMG!
I call Mary Lu, my wife, no answer. I suspect she’s probably just left for dog training with Bridget*, our other dog, and won’t be back until later tonight so I am stuck waiting for my car to be finished until I can get there. The possibility of Zeak being alive is very exciting so it is frustrating not being able to just go…my fingers are tapping the formica table for over an hour! The truck is finally done and I’m now on my way. I stop by Safeway to get a good piece of meat to lure Zeak out of his hiding place. I ask the meat cutter and he says:
“Get a piece of the ‘on-sale meat’ at the end of the counter, it’s older and will smell more (!).”
I get to Jim’s place as fast as I can. Walk north and south along the hillside by his house, calling, calling, no response. I go up behind the house, up the hill three hundred feet along the narrow trails leading to the upper water storage. As I get up behind the uppermost of the tanks I suddenly see a dog’s head sticking up out of the sagebrush! It looks like Zeak…almost. No collar, much thinner head…can it be another dog? No!? Of course not. I see then that the collar is on him, it is just completely dirty and blending in with his coat. His head is looking different because he’s lost so much weight. I call him and he just sits there. Call him gently again. Then he disappears! Oh no! I can’t let him disappear again. I climb further up, calling him gently…good boy…Zeak…good boy…soon you’ll be home in your bed…stay!…maybe we’ll serve you pancakes tonight…good boy…come on Zeak…and so on…
I climb all the way up to him and ten feet away from him he finally responds. His rear end starts to wiggle. His tail is slapping the dry hillside creating little clouds of dust. I am able to reach him and tie a rope into his collar. He’s back!
Climbing down the hill we meet Mary Lu for a happy reunion; she had received my phone message and come over from Partington.
At the time of writing this we’re all at home. Zeak has received a small piece of the meat I bought mixed with some of his favorite kibble – we’ve decided to serve him small portions to start with. Who knows what he ate during his two weeks in the wild! His stomach seems fine, he’s now curled up in a ball and sleeping calmly.
Thanks to all who kept a look-out for Zeak during this time and very special thanks to Jim Hunolt. Jim, you’re a good neighbor!
Magnus and Mary Lu