Homeward Bound in Sixty Seconds
September 25, 2008
This morning, my dog -- the dog I frequently threaten to give away and/or skin into a mitten, the dog who sees an open baby gate as a chance to poop in the basement, YAY BASEMENT POOPING IS THE FUNNEST POOPING OF ALL POOPING, who has apparently also been occasionally peeing on our dining room rug, and we didn't even realize that until we each grabbed a corner of it this weekend to move it to the other side of the room, OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT SMELL, the dog who eats the cat's food and steals waffles right off my child's plate, the dog who barks herself senseless every damn day when the mail comes and thinks all our guests are made out of ham, the dog who is the biggest eight-pound pain in the ass on the planet -- escaped out of our backyard.
We'd been calling for her inside the house -- I'd let her out in a half-asleep stupor and couldn't really remember letting her out. Did I let her out? There's waffles on the table and she's not frantically head-butting the back door to get at the waffles, so I must not have let her out. We muttered curse words about the baby gate and the basement but she wasn't there. We prodded her bed with our feet and poked lumps under our covers and kept listening for the sound of her collar. Noah happily mimicked our confused calls from the breakfast table. I opened the door to scan the backyard for what felt like the 10th time and finally noticed that the gate was open, just a little bit.
I screamed that the gate was open. Jason asked me what did I mean the gate was open. I screamed again that THE. GATE. WAS. OPEN.
I ran outside our house in a pair of nursing pajamas and Jason's Crocs, shouting her name, staring at the empty street and sidewalks and vast dog-less expanses of other people's yards, baffled that she wasn't patiently waiting by our front door like she has every time we've accidentally locked her outside when she slipped by our feet while we brought in groceries.
I ran this way and that, my voice echoing a little, blood pounding in my ears. My voice sounded weird and panicked as I called and called for her. Ceiba. Ceiba. Ceiba. Baby girl. Little dog. Please please please.
I rounded our fence corner and suddenly, there she was. Running towards me. She stopped a few feet away, probably trying to size up the heapload of trouble she was in, but it only made me start to cry and flash to every nightmare I've ever had about trying to catch a runaway pet. You see them, they stop, you're so close and then they bolt away again, and that's usually right when you discover that your shoes are made of cement.
She stopped for only a few seconds though, before closing the distance between us and letting me scoop her up. She smelled wet. Her paws were muddy and left footprints all over my giant belly. I took her back inside, where Jason was still struggling to put on pants and I realized that the whole terrible search ordeal had probably only lasted a minute or two.
She heard my voice, she came running. Like a good, good dog.
Totally scored herself a post-traumatic stress waffle afterward.