One of our little dogs, Abby, was nowhere to be found last night at bedtime. I knew she'd been with us when we had the chickens out before dark, since I remembered her being chased by the little red hen. But she didn't come when we called, wasn't accidentally locked in the studio, hadn't escaped onto the road, and wasn't hiding somewhere warm in the house. We looked outside for over an hour, but couldn't find her and finally gave up. I went to bed hoping she hadn't had a run-in with some wild animal--we've certainly got our share of coyotes and raccoons around here.
This morning when Richard went outside to look for her, she came struggling up the hill from the pasture, wobbly and shivering. At first we thought she'd had a seizure, which she has done in the past, but now I'm thinking she had a mild stroke which was compounded by spending the night outside in the cold and damp. She's spent the day with a warming pouch next to her, under a blanket, in her dog bed. She's still wobbly (can't stand on her own, I don't think), but I'm hoping that a good night's sleep will help her. Richard did some research, and apparently dogs usually recover from a stroke.
Abby is generally a pain in the neck. She's a Jack Russel/Chihuahua mix, so she has more attitude than an eleven pound dog should have. She refuses to be completely house-broken and feels it is her right to bark whenever and wherever she wants, with or without provocation. But we love her and it's seemed pretty lonely today without her running around being a pest. Normally she's my studio buddy, and I really missed her.