‘Dancer’ ran away from Drip Rock, found on Red Lick
On February 3, Charlie Peek of Lynch Road on Drip Rock took his Saluki puppy out for a walk. He said she slipped her leash, darted under the fence and took off into the surrounding woods near his mountain home.
Dancer didn´t come back that day…or the next. Knowing the distractible nature of the breed and their love for chasing rabbits and birds, Peek moved quickly to spread the word about his missing nine-month old puppy.
He placed a notice in local newspapers and drove around surrounding neighborhoods, stuffing flyers in mailboxes.
His Saluki is one of a very unique breed, reserved in nature, with a sleek body type that resembles a greyhound. The dogs are sometimes called Persian Greyhounds, desert hounds or gazelle hounds.
Built for speed with a narrow waist and long graceful legs, the Saluki has an interesting gait. When in full stride, all four feet are off the ground at the same time, so that the dog appears to barely skim the earth.
“These dogs typically only bond to one owner or one family,” Peek said.
This particular puppy is the fourth generation in a line of champion Salukis that Peek has owned. He said that Dancer´s great-grandfather was the top dog in the country in 1999 at the National Specialty show.
Salukis, though uncommon in these parts, are thought to be the oldest domestic breed of dog known to man. They are particularly highly prized in the countries of Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Egypt. Used as hunting dogs, they have helped put food on the table for centuries in desert areas.
For this reason, the dogs are highly regarded in Middle Eastern cultures and are the only breed of dog that Muslims do not consider unclean.
Peek said that Bedouin chiefs go out hunting on horseback, armed with a falcon and a Saluki, which sometimes rides on the horse behind its owner.
Feuding Bedouin families will attempt to kill one another´s Salukis, because they play such an important part in their enemies’ food supply.
After nearly two weeks of searching for Dancer, someone finally called Peek and said they’d seen her crossing the bridge on Murphy Ford Road.
Then last Friday a local mail carrier reported she had seen the dog in the lower Red Lick Valley area, and that it appeared to have a broken leg.
With a snowstorm pending for the area, Peek and a few volunteers were out early Saturday morning searching for Dancer.
They had driven back and forth several times, Peek said, and he’d been paying particular attention to some old abandoned outbuildings near mile marker seven on Red Lick Rd.
About two that afternoon, with still no sign of the dog, the group decided to head toward town for some lunch. Peek happened to glance back and see Dancer standing by the old trailer.
“We all came to a sudden stop in the middle of the road,” Peek laughed.
Dancer, with nearly every bone showing through her hide, was no trouble to catch and readily accepted the leash of her owner.
“She had made herself a bed in the old trailer,” Peek said.
Unfortunately, one of the puppy’s legs had been broken in two places and had to be amputated, but she is expected to recover.
Peek said, “I´m just glad to have her back.”