Monday, September 01, 2008

The Great Yak Escape

Rachel's Story

I could not believe that I was spending my weekend trudging through the woods. My family and I had planned a day trip to Busch Gardens. But that is not what happened. We were all ready to leave that morning, when my dad noticed a gate to our yak field was open. He went to investigate and told us that our yaks were missing. Apparently one of my family members hadn’t latched the gate properly and the animals had escaped during the night. My parents, three sisters, and I began to search for them right away.

The gate they had escaped through led into a small field on our property which led into our woods. Our woods backed several different properties. We could only hope they hadn’t gone far. Luckily, one yak was in the small field. She went back into the fenced area with little trouble, but we still had the rest of the herd to locate. We began to follow their tracks into the woods. We were all keeping our eyes down to navigate the rocky ground and keep the cloven tracks in sight. Eventually, someone glanced up and saw one of our bulls lying on a hill watching us search. After determining the bull was alone, one of my sisters was stationed with him to warn us if he decided to leave. Meanwhile the rest of us continued the search.

After fruitlessly searching the woods, I received some exciting news. My dad had located our herd on someone’s farm. Unfortunately, upon reaching the farm, we discovered that the farm owner had chased our animals away. He was worried that our yaks were going to tear down his cow’s fence. He proceeded to tell my father that the yaks had interrupted a funeral down the road. Even though I was unhappy and worn out, I had to laugh at the image that information portrayed. Great, furry, horned animals emerging through the woods right into the middle of a funeral!

When we reached the funeral location we found our yaks. All but one, that is. Our biggest bull had wondered off on his own. The rest were grazing in the area while the funeral gathering continued. People were standing around talking, not even seeming to notice the large Tibetan animals nearby. We began to herd the yaks back to our property. It was frightening to be in such close proximity with the yaks. I had pet and hand fed most of them before, but there had always been a fence between us! Now we had to corral and navigate them through the woods back to our home. I was armed with a large stick just in case a yak bolted my way.

The woods all looked the same to me and I wanted to ask many times if we were going in the right direction, but I was afraid to distract anyone. It was challenging to weave the yaks through an endless number of trees, especially when they continuously looked for breaks in our moving human enclosure. After a while we met up with my sister and the yak she was watching. Getting that yak to follow was harder than all of the others combined. Eventually we made it back, and I could see our fence! After some more maneuvering we got them all into the fenced field and locked the gate.

There was still the problem of finding the other bull who had wondered off on his own. But my family and I were done for the day. We all went to bed that night, exhausted, hoping against hope that the bull would find his way home. Saturday came, but there was no yak. Apparently, he liked his freedom just fine. On Sunday, when we returned from Sunday School, there was a note on our door that said while we were out our bovine had been returned to our field.

Later, my mom talked to a police officer and what he told her made me laugh. A neighbor had awakened to find our yak munching his backyard grass. He had called animal control, who already knew our yak was missing, and an officer was sent to get him back. The officer had no clue how to return our animal and at one point thought he would lasso him and lead him home. In the end, the bull headed through the woods and led the officer to our house!Pin It Now!

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