March 17, 2009

A Near Tragedy..Happily Averted

The night before last my puppy went missing. We had let him out to go potty and, swayed by the beautiful spring-like weather, we let him wander a bit. Then we got distracted. I was working on the wrestling club DVD, the hubby fell asleep in his chair, and the kids were, well, being kids. When we realized the puppy had been left outside for longer than usual, and certainly longer than we had intended, he was gone.

We yelled. We searched. I visited the neighbors to the south of us and then their neighbors, and so on. Not once did I consider crossing the street to ask if any of those neighbors had seen our puppy. I was so certain he had probably headed off into the woods that I never really considered he might have crossed the two-lane rural highway at the end of our driveway.

Still. No puppy. The kids went to bed crying. The hubby and I reassured them that the dog would show up sooner or later, that he was just out enjoying the first little bit of spring we've seen.

Eleven o'clock rolled around and it was getting down right cold. The puppy should have been clamoring to get inside so he could romp around the living room with his stuffed Tigger or the half-destroyed beaver we gave him as a teething toy. And he should have been hungry by then. Ravenous, even.

Determined to find him, the hubby and I grabbed a couple of flashlights and traipsed off into the woods. We split up to cover more ground. Luckily I had borrowed my oldest son's water boots, because the spring thaw has left mud and standing water everywhere. We sloshed through the moonlit night, calling out Cash's name, whistling and coaxing. Weak beams of light illuminated the spindly branches of barren trees and danced across an old blanket of wet leaves, but failed to find any trace of the puppy. Trail after trail with no results. Not even a whimper or a bark to guide us toward him.

He was lost.

After driving around the block (a good country mile), I admitted defeat and put his kennel on the front porch. In the morning we put out food and water before leaving for work. We could only hope he'd find his way home while we were at work.

Of course, I feared the worst. He'd been hurt. He'd been kidnapped. We'd never see him again....

I called my dad and asked him to stop by the house when he was in town. Long story short (too late, I know), he mentioned the missing puppy to my sister-in-law, who called me at work. She knows one of our neighbors and decided to call her on the off chance the puppy crossed the street. When she calls me back, the first words out of her mouth are, "I found your dog."

I started crying. I was so relieved. Am still so relieved.

It seems the puppy had done the unthinkable and crossed the road. Some nice woman - pregnant with three kids in her car - had seen him and stopped to make sure he didn't get hit. She ended up leaving him with our neighbors, who had no idea we had gotten a second dog and, therefore, didn't know to stop at our house when they were out trying to find his home.

I feel so blessed. Not only did some kind stranger stop and protect my idiot dog, but our neighbors took him in and cared for him when they didn't have to. They kept him warm and dry and fed. Heck, he even slept in their bed (apparently he got a little whiny)!

Picking him up last night after work was the highlight of my day. The little stinker...

That face