Found Hound Update
But—from the master of hounds at the Sedgefield Hunt in North Carolina—I did learn that he's a Walker hound who likely competes in field trials (hence, the number on his sides). Well, I'd tried Googling field trials and didn't have any luck.
Jason from down the road came by to look at the hound. He has beagles but knows a lot of hound folk. He told me that field trials weren't held on this side of Rt. 29. And he told me the numbers are applied with a stencil and hair dye.
I emailed my animal communicator friend, Karen Wrigley, who said "he felt like a working dog who ran off the beaten track from everyone else. With my back to the front of your house I want to turn my head 1/2 way between my front and the left shoulder. I think he came from that direction."
Karen also said, "He may have come from out of town. . . . He wants to be with his other dog friends . . . but it seems sooo far away. I think they are looking for him because he feels them thinking of him."
About the time I was replying to Karen's email, I got a phone call from my neighbor, Mitzi Cabeen of the Smith Mountain Hounds. She'd been the first person I called when the hound showed up Sunday. Turns out she encountered a numbered hound on the road over her way, and the hound wanted into her truck. She took the hound home with her. But that hound's number was F1. Could what I thought was a number 5 be the letter F? Good possibility!
Somehow, through a person who knew a person who knew a person, Mitzi tracked down a guy in Blairs (54 miles away) who'd sold some Walker hounds last fall—numbered and with tracking collars. The guy who'd bought them wanted them as deer dogs. The one at Mitzi's didn't have a collar either, but he had a dirty square on his neck that indicated he'd worn a tracking collar not too long ago. Did the hound at my place have such a mark?
I went out and checked. Yep. He did.
Long story short: Lance Fowler, whose father and uncle breed and train hounds 54 miles away, came out to look at the dogs. The F on the dogs' sides stood for Fowler. She showed him a picture of the hound I'd found. It had been one of theirs, too.
Why these hounds were collarless and running loose, we don't know. Did the purchaser dump them after hunting season was over? It's a mystery.
Anyhow, Mitzi called and said they were coming over. Soon Mitzi's car appeared in my driveway. Behind it was a red truck hauling a dog that looked almost exactly like the one I'd found.