Friday, July 17, 2009

The Six Stages of Owning Pet Houdinis

Annoyance, worry, fear, panic, denial, dejection.

These are all the feelings you have when your daughter informs you that your dogs are no longer in the back yard.

Annoyance: They've only been outside for ten minutes, you think. Damn dog, I just patched the *last* place he busted through on the fence line between our house and the foreclosed-neighbor's house, where the fencing is more of a decorative soft ancient scrolly metal rather than real chain-link. I'm gonna kill him. Time to get the tummy yummys container, go outside and shake it. That always works. Thank heavens they're pigs. DH and I just talked about plans to replace that fence section this weekend.

Worry: They're not in the neighbor's yard. I can't see them. Crap. Shake the TY container harder and yell for them louder. I can't even hear them, and worse, I can't hear other neighborhood dogs barking at them.

Fear: OK, it's time to tell the people we know in the neighborhood. DH just got home, we'll split up and use the cars. Surely, in fifteen minutes, they can't be far.

Panic: They are *nowhere*. How can they be nowhere?! We've both been driving around for an hour, and no one has seen them or heard them! How can that be? Have they gone back to the house? No. Josie asks DH what will happen if we can't find them. Fighting tears, he just answers that at least they haven't seen any dogs hit on the road - that has to mean they're still running around somewhere, and we'll find them. Right?

Dejection: Voice hoarse from calling their names from the car, covered in sweat from driving around at a crawl in 90 degree heat for an hour, it's time to head home and see if they've miraculously come back. In the back of my mind - what if we don't find them? What will that be like? Trying to cover the nausea with rational thought isn't working.

Joyful relief: walking through the door to a vm that someone has them, has been holding them on their front porch the entire time you've been looking. They had, indeed, crossed the main road in heavy traffic and run through the neighborhood on the other side, but were lured in by kindly dog people about fifteen minutes after they disappeared from the yard. They must have called just after I got into the car, perhaps before I had even left, while we were still walking around. The dogs had made a beeline for major traffic.

Delilah breaks free from the woman holding her collar and wriggles over to me, but Baci, the Instigator, stays on the porch, knowing he's In Trouble. When we get home, both flop down on the linoleum in the kitchen, panting hard from their jaunt in the heat. Delilah wags her whole body; Baci puts his head down and stares at me with his Oh-Crap face.

We almost cry with relief. Back to the normal that almost-might-not-have-been.


AndreAnna said...

Once, the gate door must not have latched all the way (we have a 6-ft privacy fence around our 3/4 acre which is impenetrable assuming we latch the effer) and the dog got out.

I didn't even know she got out until I hear something barking at the front door.

She got out but wanted to come back. We can let her outside without a leash and she wants to stay with us.

Then again, she doesn't have a partner in crime. I'm sure if she did, they'd be in cahoots to go see what trouble they could get into.

Remind me of this story when I think I want another dog. :)

creative kerfuffle said...

thank god someone nice found them and called you!
we have houdinis too--well one houdini and the other dog follows her lead.
a couple of years ago they broke out and were gone for TWO WEEKS. we were frantic, driving all over the place, posting signs, etc. we'd get calls that people had just seen them, always together, but they'd be gone before we got there. the hubs would leave the back gate open on the off chance that they'd return on their own. and they did--right before thanksgiving. it was a miracle. they were covered in brambles and ticks and smelled horrible.

Nowheymama said...

My sister's dog ran out of my parents' house when they were visiting last weekend. We were panicked. Sure enough, neighbors found her dog on their porch. *whew*

Melissa said...

My heart would go in my throat every time my dogs would be just missing. Not knowing how long ago they left is a scary thing also. The older one would always find it's way home at the end of his trip while the little one wouldn't so it was always a panic to get at least the little one while we're out looking.

Glad you got them back, hope it's not a common thing for you :|

Hotch Potchery said...

About 6 months before Nala died, our dogs got out. We looked and looked and looked and I made a deal in my head, "Please let me find these damn dogs and I will donate $100 to the ASPCA for all dogs who don't get found".

3 minutes later, Mr. P had them in the truck. oh the relief...I am sorry you guys went through that, and because of my dogs and your dogs, whenever I see a dog that I can get home, I

Melinda said...

What a perfect description of what it is like to find that empty backyard! So glad they made it home safely.

Stimey said...

So terrifying. My dog escapes fairly regularly too. She went for the traffic-y road once, but since then, heads for the park in the other direction, thank god.

(Knock on wood.)

Kristi said...

My dog escaped just this morning! I left him with Rob at the new house while I finish stuff at my old place. Rob went through the yard yesterday fixing every hole or tiny gap he could find. I warned him that Maverick was a dog Houdini, but he didn't believe me until he found Maverick outside in the front yard instead of the back where he left him.

I thought this whole backyard thing was going to be great (since I'm in an apartment now), but now I'm worried to let him out because he can literally find his way through even the smallest space.