Agonising pet heartache is re-lived - Shaun McKenna

Shaun McKenna suffered heartbreak when his dog ran off on Strensall Common.
Shaun McKenna suffered heartbreak when his dog ran off on Strensall Common.
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We managed to get out and fill our lungs with good old Yorkshire country air this last weekend.

The first trip taking us through a little bit of snow up to Helmsley and what a pretty picture it was. I must say though that walking through one field pulled at my heart strings a bit more than

I’d imagined it would, where a farmer was in with his sheep, filling up the hay feeders and giving his flock some fodder beet, beautiful sheep too. After moving on from the farm, I’m sure there’s going to be many times that the memories come flooding back and this was just one of those times.

Our second trip was a little closer to home and again brought back memories. We went for a walk with family on Strensall Common, near York. For many years we lived in the area and after running almost every inch of that common, it could be said that I knew it well.

Five minutes into our walk, we could hear shouting off to our left. This shouting continued until such time that we could understand what was actually being said. “H-A-R-R-Y!”, the shouting continued.

A family with a young child and a dog, appeared to have misplaced a second dog whilst on their visit. Immediately upon realising what was going on with this family, the haunting memory of a sunny Saturday morning back in April 2006 flashed back into my mind.

I shouted up the stairs to Wendy, “We’re off!”, then Phoebe, our nine-month-old border terrier and I set off for our run on the common.

The birds were singing, and it was a beautiful morning with spring now in full bloom.

As we were about to take the right turn to the back of the common, Phoebe who was scampering along in front of me spotted someone walking towards us and suddenly bolted past me heading back the way we’d just come.

I watched her disappear over a heather covered hump and out of sight she went. I called her relentlessly, but without any luck. After spending the next couple of hours frantically searching, I headed home to bring in the reinforcements.

Before long the whole family were spread across the common searching for Phoebe, talking to other visitors, but to no avail and as the evening light began to fade we went home disheartened.

Early the next morning we set out again in search of Phoebe, but this time with friends for additional support. Time was once again ticking, but without any success, but then I heard a voice off in the distance, it was our Sam. I looked across the common and saw him peddling his bike as fast as his legs could take him towards us.

Unfortunately it wasn’t good news and through his tears he relayed his story.

Whilst on his way to the common, down the back lane, he decided to check along the railway track to see if he could see any sign of her, but in fact he did more than that, he found her.

It appears that after bolting, she must have headed for home, across the main road, under the first gate at the railway, but then turned left along the track rather than going through the second gate and homeward.

I buried her that Sunday afternoon under a large oak tree along the back lane and after spending the rest of the day on the internet, we headed out the next morning to pick up our new border terrier puppy, Scout!