See chameleon lying there in the sun...

I've waited almost a week to publish this so I don't get melodramatic when describing an event that could have possible had a tragic and life-changing ending. I want to preface the story by stating that I am extremely thankful for and relieved by the end result. That said, I started last Wednesday by feeling like my heart might stop.

I was off to a good start that morning. As anyone who knows me is aware, I tend to run late most of the time. I was in sync with the clock though and got out the door at the exact right time. Depending on how things are going, I go one of two ways to exit my neighborhood. I briefly thought of turning my car around to go out the easier way. Thinking it would be okay since I was leaving right at 7am, I just went straight. I headed up the street, past the four houses between mine and an intersection. I looked further down the street, gasped, and slammed on my brakes so hard my car skidded.

Across the intersection, I saw Rusty, one of my dogs (which any reader probably knows already), trotting along side a woman and the yellow Lab she was walking. He had the biggest smile on his face and was obviously having a grand old time. WHAT THE...??? I jumped out of the car, screaming, and running toward him. He looked, but didn't come to me, which was probably okay considering he'd be going over a cross street. I ran up to him like a raving lunatic shouting, "What the hell???" I'm sure the lady thought I was insane. My heart is palpitating a little as I recount this.

I scooped him up and plopped him onto the passenger side floor and drove back to the house. I was reprimanding him, as if that was helping at all. He was clearly having a blast and had also rolled in something as his entire body was wet. I got him into the house and immediately checked that Cosette and Little Guy were still there. I then had to figure out how in the world this frakkin' happened. None of my dogs has ever gotten out.

My first thought was that I hadn't latched and locked the one side gate after bringing in the garbage cans the night before. Nope. Latched and locked. I went into the back yard and briefly had an absurd thought that somehow Rusty had climbed up our huge carob tree, which has a branch near the top of our 6-foot wall. Um, yeah, right. I was really shaken and clearly not thinking straight. I made my way over to the other side of the house, where our cinder block wall does not travel the full distance to the gate in the front, so there is a gate in the back. Well, lo and behold, the wooden gate had split down the middle and half was on the ground, opening a passage from the normally confined back yard. The gate was fairly rickety, but had been latched and secure last we checked.

Since Rusty was safe and I was now running late to work, I closed the back door and awoke E and barked out the story. He later repositioned the gate and blocked it so it's impossible to fall again before we repair it.

My mind raced on the drive, imagining the horrific possibilities from Rusty being run down by one of the huge SUVs that tend to speed down our street to him being kidnapped. He loves people, is a size that can be picked up, and would easily adjust to a new family. Although we live on a relatively quiet street, aside from the occasional speeders, we are a block away from an extremely busy, highly trafficked thoroughfare.

In retrospect, I kind of think the woman may have been herding Rusty toward home. He has tags with our address and I've never seen this woman in the neighborhood. I pretty much recognize all of the dogs taking a stroll, especially in the early morning. I feel like an ass because I didn't even talk to her, partially due to my car still being parked and running in the middle of the street and well, also due to general freak out.

Rusty is a good boy and was so frazzled by my overreaction. E said he acted out of sorts all day. When I got home, I picked him up and he "hugged" me, making these little noises as if to say, "I'm sorry, don't be mad at me." If you've made it this far, I commend you. Personally, I hate long blog entries and would have stopped reading by now.


ren said...

eek. glad you got him back safely. just make sure that next time i have to dogsit, there's like and iron door in place, ok?

Sarah said...

That is horrible. Especially the not knowing that he was even missing. How scary :(

Anonymous said...

Holy crap. What a nightmare. Those ARE busy streets.

Peeved Michelle said...

I'm glad everything turned out alright. As I was reading it, I was kind of expecting you were going to say he was there in the backyard and you had snatchd someone else's dog, which I almost did once.

Husband and I pulled into the driveway and a kid was chasing a dog in the yard across the street. I got out and yelled, "Shelby, come!" She was still new to us then and not so good at coming when called and still wanted to escape a lot. So I ran across the street and grabbed her collar before she could run again. Then I thought, "Hey, why is her collar green?" Oh, because it was some other neighbor's dog who had escaped. She looked just like our dog but was a little bit smaller. So embarrassing.

Darlene said...

UGH. Reading the story made my heart race. I think Rusty is telling you that he needs his own spare keys to the house. Maybe even a cell phone. Glad things worked out in the end.

Nicole said...

LOL! I thought the same thing as Peeved Michelle that you kidnapped someone else's dog. Glad it all turned out ok but I would have freaked out too. Sounds like a surreal experience.

Will Campbell said...

Whew. This is a daily concern for me, not so much with our older dog Shadow, but our younger dog Ranger. She tends to like familiar places but I always double check the gates before leaving in the morning to make sure they're locked because if she could get out, she might get spooked and there's no telling when she'd stop running.

Soooo relieved for you.

the slackmistress said...

OMG, I am SO so happy he's okay. I would have had a heart attack, too.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy it turned out well. I too thought you were going to say you'd picked up someone else's dog. Lol!
Just as well you are eagle eyed of a morning drive and spotted him. A few minutes either way ... ugh! Doesn't bear thinking about.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad Rusty is ok!!!! That must have been wicked scary!

CarneyFarm said...

Wow....So glad that all the stars lined up that morning and Rusty is home safe and sound.
I think maybe that lady was an angel and she was bringing him to you.

I can see why it took a week to post.

The Mad Doctor said...

So glad he's safe.

Max got out due to the meter reader last summer and I rode all over town looking for him (and had my bike accident.)

He was waiting for me at home, very stinky from rolling in who-knows-what. I shook for a half hour - not so much from my accident but from the thought of him being taken or hit by a car.

I suspect she was taking Rusty home.

Again, glad he's safe.

madretz said...

omg, i totally would have freaked out too. very glad to hear that he's home safe and sound where he belongs.

TiggerLarue said...

OMG, I'm so glad he is safe. I would be a shaking mess. Funny, though, that I also thought perhaps the story was going to be that you had kidnapped someone else's dog. :0)

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