Wednesday night I received a phone call from a neighbor who has a cabin on Gull Lake. He was asking if I knew of anyone missing a dog because one was swimming across Gull Lake to another island. I hadn’t heard any news of a missing dog and I didn’t think much of it.
The next morning a distraught woman came into our store asking if we had seen a German Shepherd named Buster roaming around. I instantly felt bad for not going to get the dog the night before and told her what I knew. She explained how she and her husband were staying at the Trail’s End Campground and had left the dog at the campsite while they went out to fish on Sag. Buster was obviously not pleased with the situation and decided to try to catch up with them.
Buster wasn’t quite fast enough and spent the night lost and alone somewhere. Buster’s human dad spent the night on the island on Gull Lake where Buster was last seen. He whistled periodically all night long but Buster being a fourteen-year old dog without much hearing left didn’t respond.
Thursday morning found both of Buster’s parents making the rounds in search of Buster. She left her name and campsite number with me and I told her we’d let our guests know about Buster and keep an eye out for them. I felt for her because I have been the parent of a missing dog before and it wasn’t much fun. I also know just how important pets are especially after you’ve been with them for fourteen years.
We had a group of guys across the river who went out fishing on Thursday morning. They hiked back to Gulf and then portaged into Romance Lake to do some fishing. I was surprised when two of the party were back shortly after they left. I asked them if they caught some fish and they said, "No, but we found Buster!"
I didn’t even know they knew about Buster. Apparently Buster’s Dad had talked to their group the night before so when they were paddling on Romance and heard howling they decided to check it out. Buster was standing on the west shore of Romance Lake wet, cold and shaky. They got him into the canoe, paddled him back to the portage, crossed Gulf Lake and hiked with him back to their boat on the Seagull River. With Buster in the boat waiting for me I backed my Subaru down to the lakefront and loaded him into my car.
I was so happy to have Buster as a front seat passenger as I drove to Trail’s End Campground. He had a sad expression on his face and shivered as I tried to comfort him. I was making my way past the parking lot and I saw Buster’s Mom, she was climbing up a rock still looking around for Buster. I pulled over and the look on her face was priceless. I would have guessed she had just won the lottery as she scurried down the rock towards my car.
Buster acted like it was no big deal as he crawled out of my car. The shaky dog was no where to be found and Buster went about business sniffing the ground like nothing had happened at all. I know swimming and running over two miles in the wilderness was no easy feat for a 14-year old dog but you wouldn’t have known it from looking at Buster. With owner and dog reunited I happily drove away.
Thank goodness for the guys fishing that morning or I’m not sure where Buster would have ended up. I love a story with a happy ending and thankully for Buster and his family theirs was a very happy one.