Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who let the dog out?

Whew! The kids are in bed, and I finally get to ...

... check blogs and read Facebook
... put away the dishes and finish paying the bills
... sleep!

Naw.  First I have to let my dog out. Of course.  He's giving me that "I gotta go potty!" stare.  And, it's been storming hard all night, so he's been waiting. The storm has finally let up, so time for the doggy to relieve himself.

I open the back sliding door, and let Garrett out into our fenced backyard (for those who are catching up, we adopted an adorable greyhound name Garrett last October).

I start my internet surfing chores.  After about 10 minutes or so, I peek through the sliding glass door, assuming I'll see two big greyhound eyes staring back at me waiting to come in.  But I don't.  I open the door, and look around the backyard.  Then I look at the gate, and a horrible chill goes through my spine.  The gate is open.  The storm must have forced at least two of the three locks ajar, and my doggie pushed his way past the last one!  

My doggie -- my greyhound that can run at 40 miles per hour --is loose.

Panic.

And, of course, just like the last time something like this happened, my husband is out of town.

Gah!

I remember quickly that the greyhound adoption group said to call them FIRST if my doggie ever got loose, so I do that.  I call, and leave a frantic message.  A volunteer calls back, and says that she'll be sending people to help me look.  I call my friends who live 10 minutes away in a panic, and ask if someone can come over to watch the kids while I search.  My bestie's hubby is arrives soon after my call (he even put pants on ... which was nice of him!). 

I get in my minivan, equipped with a flashlight, a squawker (a hunting squeaker to attract greyhounds), and dog treats.  I have no idea which way my doggie when, but I begin circling my neighborhood's streets and alleyways.

After about 30 minutes of searching, I begin extending my search.  I pull up next to another car in the neighborhood, and they ask me "have you seen a greyhound?" I'm confused for a minute, then I realize, these are my volunteer searchers!  I can see that they have two greyhounds of their own in the back, and they said they live close by. I tell them they are looking for my doggie, we discuss how to cover territory, and keep looking.  After about 1 1/2 hours of searching, there are at least 4 groups of searchers looking for my dog.  Wow.  I can't believe there are so many people out looking for my dog!

But I'm frazzled.  What if he went into the woods?  What if he runs into the main road and gets hit by a car?  I know we must find him ASAP.  Unlike some dogs, greyhounds are not known for having great survival rates. The longer he is out on his own, the worse his chances are. 

I turn a corner heading back toward my house (for the 42nd time), and I see two eyes and four legs coming toward me.  Is that a dog??? Is that MY dog???  It IS!!!!  I stop and open the sliding side door on the minivan.  I hope Garrett will not get spooked and run.  He doesn't. Instead he is so relieved and happy to see me!  He jumps right into the car!  I'm soooo happy!

I close up my car's sliding door, and drive towards home.  I see the same car with the volunteer searchers, and stop to tell them that Garrett is found.  They are also relieved.  They inform me that one of my neighbors had just spotted him before I picked him up. 

In the end, after 2 hours of searching, Garrett was only one block from home.  It was a happy ending. But the outcome could have been a bad one.  I thank my stars for lucky dogs, good friends -- and the acts of kindness from the some dog lovers who spent a night searching for someone else's dog. 

Garrett after his jaunt through the neighborhood. Tired. and guilty.
P.S. Since becoming a dog owner (Garrett is our second), I never assume that someone is already looking for / getting a loose dog.  I know there is always a risk I could get bit (or worse), but I'm willing to take that risk in order to catch someone's pet.  I've caught or helped catch a few loose dogs over the past few years. 

This post was prompted by the Summer blog challenge -- a random act of kindness.

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