Winsten is a Golden Retriever.
From what I have learned from other people who are ruled by Goldens, it is common for them to visit around the neighborhood. They are totally convinced that everyone needs to be visited and greeted.
Winsten never used to take off. He was very obedient, and stayed on his own property. Not true any more.
It all started when a friend drove up the hill to our ranch in CA with this beautiful ten month old Golden in her truck. I enthusiastically greeted the dog, and said "Rita, whose dog is this?" to which she replied "Yours now".
It seems that Rita's brother had Winsten and a big drug addiction. His addiction got the best of him, and he overdosed. The family didn't want to keep the dog, so Rita was instructed to take him to be euthanized. Instead, she brought him to the ranch.
Of course, we would take him. Not because he was a Golden; rather, because he needed a good safe home.
Thus, Winsten joined the crowd of horses, other dogs, innumerable rescued cats and one peacock.
The ranch was 1/2 from any road, and located on the top of a hill, overlooking Monterey Bay. It was a very safe place for critters, and we didn't mind taking them in and providing a safe, loving environment for all of them.
At the beginning, Winsten could not for the life of him figure out horses. He was amazed at their size, and couldn't comprehend why they did not want to romp and play.
However, being a Golden, and by those rights alone, he was undaunted and mastered the art of getting the horses to play with him. Whenever we couldn't find him, he was in the pasture or stables with the horses.
The time came to sell the ranch and downsize on all the work horses bring with them.
We moved to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, which, by the way, you couldn't get us out of here with a back hoe, and Winsten, of course, came to WA with us. But not his horse buddies.
For the first three years, Winsten stayed pretty much on our property, not venturing outside of our boundaries.
I began to think all those stories about Goldens going off to visit were due to people not treating their doggies with love and affection. I mean, after all, look at OUR Golden! HE stays pretty much at home! What arrogance and foolishness on my part!
Winsten has taken to visiting neighbors. He usually only stays gone for about an hour at the most. But now he has found a small ranch close by. With horses. And many dogs. And cats.
Winsten LOVES horses. He has taken to these horses as though they are his very own.
He won't stay home.
We tried to tie him, but he chewed through the ropes and off he ran to HIS horses.
We tried a chain like thing, but he howled and carried on to the point there was absolutely no peace whatsoever.
Then we tried fencing him in. He dug a hole UNDER the fence and took off to the horses.
Night before last, he didn't come home until ten o'clock.
Last night, he didn't come home at all.
Winsten wants to be with those horses, and he is not wavering.
I talk to the people who own the ranch, and they assure me that he is no problem to them. They are instructed to not feed him, but that doesn't solve the problem.
Now before you go getting your panties in a bunch, it is NOT because he doesn't get love and attention here at home.
We walk him around our property at least five times a day, I take him on my miles-long walks every day, he hogs up 3/4 of the sofa in the evening, watching TV with us, all cuddled up like a puppy.
Winsten has two baskets of toys, and two Siamese cats who adore him and will follow him anywhere, given the chance.
He has a lovely home in which to live, 5 acres in which to romp, and is loved, hugged, played with, groomed, babied....................it is a doggie heaven here at our house!
SO WHY DOES HE TAKE OFF???!!!
Because he is a Golden, and has found some horses through the woods to the East of us.
I woke up at 4 A.M., looking to see if he was at the front door. Nope. then I thought of getting in the car and going over to the ranch and bringing him home.
No, can't do that, because it would disturb Bill and his family to hear a car coming up their drive at 4 in the morning.
I will wait till around 8, then call over there.
I have been abandoned for a horse.