Carissa had surprised me a couple weeks prior to our anniversary with a little vacation package down there. The basic package includes a room for a night, dinner for two at their "pitchfork fondue" dinner and then two tickets to a musical. For a few extra dollars you can upgrade your room, and get a round of golf on one of the nicest golf courses in the state, so seems how I golfed on our wedding day and being the sweetheart she is, she splurged and went for the golf package as well.
That Saturday morning we dropped the dogs off at one of Carissa's co-workers and then took off. Apparently ol' Teddy Roosevelt spent a lot of time in Medora, so naturally everything down around there is named after him. We went to Roosevelt National Park to do some hiking. Carissa really wanted to do some 10+ mile hike, but being it was the hottest day of the year thus far, and the fact there are no trees or shade in North Dakota, we opted to do a handful of shorter 1-2 mile hikes. It was pretty fun and quite gorgeous. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it was. Here are a few of the pics.
North Dakota Badlands
Carissa sitting in one of the few trees along the trails
Some wild mustangs we came upon
Big heard of Bison
After we did the hikes, we decided to run into town and check into the hotel room and wander around town for a bit. So we went and checked in, went to our room and opened the door to find this:
Needless to say, you can imagine our surprise to find THIS WAS THE UPGRADED ROOM! Keep in mind as well, this is a resort town (the only resort town their tourism depends on), so the room wasn't exactly cheap. We were a little shocked to say the least.
With our little package they have a really cool chuckwagon dinner buffet, called the pitchfork fondue, and they actually cook your steaks on pitchforks.
As you can see from Carissa's plate, it was quite the feast. Suprising enough, it was quite tasty as well!
After dinner they have this really cool ampitheater right next door to the chow place, and they had a musical. The stage opens up and beyond the stage is this really cool view of some badlands and a river going through it.
Our seats were awesome! They were about 15 rows up, and right smack dab in the middle. Don't be alarmed by the empty seats. They all filled in. We had about an hour and a half to kill between the dinner and musical. As we were sitting there this HUGE elk came right up the hill beyond the stage.
Carissa will probably kill me I'm going to tell this story, but I loved it, and her sense of humor is one of the many reasons I feel I've won the lottery with her. As we were sitting there and we first saw the elk, Carissa said "Whoa, his rack is WAY bigger than mine!" I just about lost it. She catches me off guard with comments like that, but I love it.
These are a couple of pics we took during the show. It was a really good musical, and well done. They told the story of how Medora came to be, and about Teddy Roosevelt living in the area. They also sang a lot of current country songs as well as some original songs. I felt it was time well spent and the setting couldn't have been better. The weather was perfect as well, so all in all it was a good time......... right up until we got a text at 10:30 pm from the lady who was watching the dogs.....
She told Carissa that Rozzi and Samson were outside with her dogs in her fenced in yard, and a bunch of fireworks started going off, well it spooked Rozzi and she bolted. No clue as to how she got out of her yard, but she was M.I.A. Carissa wasn't too worried about it, but I was sick to my stomach. Carissa was unaware that fireworks mess with dogs in a bad way, and that this is the busiest time of year for the pounds and missing dogs because the fireworks spook dogs so bad. I had the most sickening feeling in my gut the rest of the night. We went back to the hotel and thought about leaving, but since it was almost 11 at that time and we were two hours away, we figured we wouldn't be able to do much, so we tried to get some rest. We also had this small glimmer of hope she would come back.
I also think Carissa was hopeful that I could golf in the morning, but if she hadn't turned up by the time we woke up, then I decided we would go home early. As much as I really wanted to play this golf course, I knew it would be a waste to even attempt to go play. We woke up and she still hadn't turned up anywhere, so we loaded up and came home. I stopped and bought some sunflower seeds and a Coke, and I think I had blown through the entire bag of seeds in about an hour. It was the longest and worst drive. Once we came home, we started going door to door, driving our cars all over town. We also made some fliers and paid some neighbor kids to ride their bikes and plaster them all over town. Being a Sunday, not many businesses were open, so we mainly just drove around looking for this little rascal!
We split up and each used up over a half of tank of gas looking for her. We were exhausted and decided to call it a day. Carissa and I hadn't really talked the entire drive home because we were both stressed out. After we had searched all day long, we came home and I think that was the first time we both really thought we had lost her. We made eye contact and we both just completely lost it. We sat and bawled our eyes out in the kitchen, just comletely broken hearted. Samson knew something was up and he came and nuzzled in between us and just gave us loves the rest of the evening. When we went to bed, he jumped up on the bed and cozzied in between us (completely uninvited) and just comforted us. It never ceases to amaze me how aware dogs are of your feelings, and just how great they are at loving you unconditionally.
Monday we both woke up and I had to work, but Carissa was free until 3:00 pm, so she went and got the rest of the fliers handed out and called the radio station. They have a call-in classified program for an hour everyday and she called in before hand to see if she could have them mention something on the show. The guy took her number and called her during the program and let her explain the situation and a little about Rozzi on the radio. Keep in mind, we live in a town that literally has two radio stations, so it was big to get the word out. The company I work for also does radio advertising, so I also called the radio station and talked to the saleman who does our ads. He asked about Rozzi and told me to come down to the station after lunch and he would let us record an ad, and run it 4-5 times a day for a week, and then if we still hadn't found her, he would run a second week for free. Now I know most of you are thinking, wow that must be expensive. Surprisingly enough, they were only going to charge us $50 to do all those ads. We figured, heck we are into the fliers for that kind of money, so why not.
The one good thing about Rozzi is the fact she is a Newfoundland (which is a breed that isn't very common). She is also a dark chocolate Newfoundland so she was even more rare than a black or a black and white one. So we knew if anyone had seen her and took her, or if someone had actually stolen her from the backyard (we were starting to go crazy, so we thought anything was possible) that we would recognize her. Our only fear of really losing her was the fact that she was lost late at night, and she was only one block away from the highway, so we were really scared she had been hit by a big rig.
Well it was after lunch and I was on my way down to the radio station, and was on the phone with Carissa about what we should say and I got a phone call. I told Carissa I needed to answer it because it was a Williston number. I answered it, and a lady asked if I was missing a dog, and that she had her in her house. I pulled over and just lost it. So much pressure and tension about not knowing where she was, or what happened to her just broke our hearts. It was a culmination of a lot of emotions just coming to a boil.
I went and picked her up, and called Carissa to stay home because we found our dog!!! It was a very happy reunion and I was so glad to have her back. I tookk her home and just hugged Carissa. Rozzi was full of thorns and stickers and anything else you can imagine. She was exhausted. Completely parched and starving. She was missing for over 36 hours and I don't think she had eaten anything the entire time she was missing. The lady who found her, found her down by the river and so I'm sure she had drank her fair share of water, but she was starving. Once she was home, she ate a couple bowls of food, and went and laid down in our bathroom because the air vent blows right on her. I went in there and sat next to her and just pet her. Carissa noticed she had ticks all around her eyes, so we pinned her down and searched for ticks. We also took her to get an emergency shave and tick and flea removal.
Needless to say, we are so glad to have her back and we absolutely love having her and Samson around. My mom told me when I first got Samson over 2 years ago, that I was just setting myself up to have my heart broken. While that is definitely true, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I absolutely love these dogs! They are the worlds best dogs!