About an hour after I posted about Super, yesterday, I let him off the leash on our fenced/gated deck. I’d just given him a bath, plucked about a dozen ticks off of him, brushed him out, and figured he’d like the opportunity to lay in the sun for a bit, unfettered. I was sitting right next to him. Otto did something—I don’t even know what, moved his arm or breathed, who knows—and Super jumped up and BOLTED. And he was through the slats in our gate and gone by the time I’d scrambled to my feet.
I chased him across the yard, through the forest, and down by the pond. I was barefoot. When I lost sight of him I went back for Otto and shoes (both of which were on their way), and we searched everywhere. He’d vanished.
We spent the rest of the time before the kids got home making loops around the neighborhood, trying to find him. I went back down to the pond and through the forest again and again, pockets stuffed with treats I knew he wouldn’t touch (he’d refused to eat anything in our presence), trying not to cry and praying to find him. We called Animal Control. Twice. I called the rescue where we’d gotten him, and after hanging up on their machine most of the afternoon, finally left them a message explaining what had happened and asking them to call back and give us some advice on recovering him.
At one point Otto continued canvassing (now with “LOST DOG!” posters) and I sat here at home as it sank in that I’d screwed up, badly, and now the kids were going to get home from school, and instead of “GUESS WHAT!” I was going to have to try not to let on that we’d brought a dog home and managed to lose him.
I had a good cry and talked with a few friends and managed to pull myself together before the kids got home. [As an added bonus, afterward, Otto then took Chickadee for her (finally) ordered blood tests, only to discover that the allergist’s office had sent us to a facility our insurance won’t approve. At nearly-five on a Friday afternoon, of course, when she cannot start another round of rash-combatting steroids until after the blood tests. Otto called to tell me this and I began weeping so violently in response that he said, “It’s okay! Don’t worry! We’ll figure it out!”]
By dinnertime I was convinced he’d returned to the shelter and we’d never see him again.
Right before bedtime I took Chickadee aside and told her what had happened. She handled the news incredibly well, assuring me that it wasn’t my fault and that we’d surely recover Super before anything bad happened to him. Or that “someone nice who really needs a friend will find him.”
Around 8:45 we got our first phone call that he’d been spotted. This led to a marathon of driving around and straining to spot a black dog in the darkness, first with me and Otto going together for the first round, then several subsequent rounds of us taking turns. We had a few more sightings and felt hopeful, but as the night wore on it was starting to feel fruitless.
Around 11:00 I turned back onto our street, having concluded my laps and feeling completely defeated. And then Super trotted past the car on the right.
I stopped. Got out. Called to him sweetly. Held out treats. Asked him if he wanted to go for a ride. He stood there and looked at me until I got within about 20 feet and then barked and ran a ways off, stopping and laying down in the grass in someone’s yard. I got back into the car, pulled up closer again, repeated the coaxing and calling. Same results. Back to the car. Back to calling and urging him. And this time he took off like a shot into the darkness.
Back at home, we tried to make sense of what we knew. He’d apparently hidden all day, came out as night was falling. He was still in the area. But he sure as heck wasn’t going to come willingly. I sat out in the driveway for a while, with a water bowl and some chunks of chicken up towards the top of the driveway. I knew he wasn’t coming.
This morning Otto got up and he and Chickie circled around the neighborhood again before I’d even finished my coffee. I called Animal Control again, and they offered to lend us a live trap. So while Otto took Chickadee for her blood drawing (God bless the lab that’s open on Saturdays), I filled Monkey in and we drove over to pick up the cage.
[The officer showed me how to use it, and seemed unfazed when I asked Monkey to test it to make sure it worked as advertised. As the door clanged shut behind him, Monkey grinned up at us from inside. “You caught me!” he called. “Now take me home, because I love you VERY MUCH!” Oh, if only catching Super could be that easy.]
We’ve widened the radius for our posters, and the trap is set up down near the pond, and now we wait. And hope. Even if he doesn’t end up being ours, I can’t bear thinking he’s out there wandering because of my mistake.
Last night Chickie showed me that in the book she’s reading, she’d just come across the following: “What has been lost may yet be found. Have hope.” She said she thought it was an omen.
And this morning, when I sat down at my desk with my coffee, I saw she’d written it down and taped it to my hutch.
I’m trying to comply.