Barking up the right tree

2013-08-12T18:45:00Z 2013-08-14T04:33:12Z Barking up the right treeBarb Ickes The Quad-City Times

A Davenport dog had a rough weekend. A 7-year-old border collie, Laddy, vanished from his home in the McClellan Heights area sometime early Friday. Though his yard contains an Invisible Fence, which is an electronic boundary, the battery in his collar wasn't working.

Laddy evidently saw his chance.

"I was beside myself," Cynthia Weeks said of discovering her family was missing a member. "We went around calling for him, and I drove around. I put it on my Facebook pages, and we put fliers out around the neighborhood."

Two days later, early Sunday morning, Ron Stevenson was working in his yard a couple of blocks away when he heard something that had been bugging him.

"I'd been hearing this dog barking, but I didn't want to be a complaining neighbor and, besides, my wife and I are dog lovers," he said Monday. "When I was outside early Sunday, I heard a whining, and I knew something wasn't right. This time, it sounded in distress."

When following the sound of a dog, Stevenson noted, it is counter-intuitive to look up. But there was Laddy — at least 10 feet up a tree near his driveway.

"He was kind of shielded by leaves on the tree," he said.

Stevenson called 911, cautiously explaining the situation to police. He could understand a dispatcher's skepticism.

"They got here pretty fast, but I was getting impatient," he said. "I didn't know if the dog would bite me, but I just sort of shimmmied up the tree. I grabbed him by the collar and sort of pulled him. I said, 'It's time for you to get out of this tree.'

"I had taken a picture, thank goodness. I showed it to the police when they got there, of course. By then, I'm standing there with a dog I had reported being up a tree."

Laddy's luck kept getting better.

"Officer Randy (Gard) had seen one of the family's fliers, and he knew where the dog lived," Stevenson said. "He said he'd take him home."

At 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Weeks was reading a book when she got the call.

"He said he was with the police department, and I started yelling, and said, 'Do you have him?'" she said. "I asked where they found him, and the officer said, 'You'll never believe this.'

"If he didn't have that photo, I'm not sure I would have believed it."

No one knows exactly how or why Laddy ended up in a tree, but Weeks said it likely is related to his interest in squirrels and fondness for chasing things. Stevenson noted the mature oak tree grew at an angle, giving the dog a good platform for running upward but making for a daunting trip back down.

"People will stop and watch Laddy when he's playing Frisbee in the yard, because he's so fast and so agile," she said. "He is persistent, needless to say. Border collies are built for stamina."

His breed evidently served him well, because a trip to the vet's office Monday revealed a few abrasions on the pads of his feet, but Laddy is otherwise fine.

"He was pretty subdued when he got home," she said. "He's been doing a ton of sleeping."

Someone else in the Weeks family missed Laddy, she said: "You could tell the cat knew something was amiss."

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. MsMatch
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    MsMatch - August 14, 2013 8:11 pm
    I love that picture. So glad the doggie found his humans.
  2. senor citizen
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    senor citizen - August 14, 2013 10:29 am
    Having 2 young Labs who are also watchdogs (BIG barks) I can relate. I would never have a Border Collie as I would like to be smarter than the dog, with a Border Collie it would be no contest.
  3. kikboxr
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    kikboxr - August 14, 2013 9:42 am
    A cpl months ago my 3 yr old Cairn Terrier/Pom got stuck in a tree no1 believed me & I couldnt get pics cuz I didnt have my cam. On me @ that time. Wish I would have got pics.
  4. KT
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    KT - August 14, 2013 6:27 am
    I wouldn't replace the invisible fence. I would be more on top of changing the battery on time! Also if it was a problem with the receiver, that can be noticed by seeing the dog go a bit beyond his normal boundaries. Been there!
  5. muttluvr
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    muttluvr - August 14, 2013 3:12 am
    So glad to hear he is home safe and sound. Sounds like something my Australian Cattle Dog would do!
  6. Bette Krocker
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    Bette Krocker - August 13, 2013 8:34 am
    Thank goodness he was found and is ok. I have a Border Collie and I can see him chasing a squirrel up a tree.
  7. pta mom
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    pta mom - August 13, 2013 6:12 am
    Fun story--I saw the "Lost Dog" post on fb, and I'm glad he's home.

    Will the invisible fence now be replaced by a real one?
  8. Morticia
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    Morticia - August 12, 2013 8:51 pm
    Love this story! Thank you for giving DPD some GOOD media coverage. They really do deserve it.
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