Saturday, July 11, 2009


This is Katy. And, yes, this is going to be a dog blog. Last night about 9:00 o'clock I was tidying up and getting ready for bed. Lynne was settling in front of her computer to play RuneScape. I'm not sure what it was that alerted me, but I asked, "where's Katy?"

This set off one of those searches that begins rather slowly and quickly intensifies when you realize you've looked in every place imaginable at least twice. She's not that small. Or quiet.

When was the last time I'd seen her? I wracked my memory, then felt guilty I didn't immediately know. She's always curled up in the living room when we're on the couch. Had I seen her tonight? This was crowded out by the dawning realization that my dog was GONE. And Katy's never been GONE.

Add to this the lightening and thunderstorm with misty rain, that pit of the stomach sourness that something has gone horribly wrong, and only the echo of your frantic calls and whistles into the dark and you've pretty much set the scene.

Lynne grabs the flashlight and the first part of the fence she shines it on, at the gate next to the garage, is a Katy sized hole and, at the bottom, a little black tuft of unmistakable Katy fur.

We never leave her out for long, typically a few minutes and then she's right back at the back door looking at you with those big brown eyes. If she doesn't see you, she starts whining. Why hadn't I heard her?

We investigate from the back yard to discover the side gate closed. She must have wandered into the side area, had the gate blown shut by the wind, and not been able to return to the back yard.

We get in the car and drive slowly around the neighborhood, windows down, calling and whistling. Nothing but street lights punctuated by blackness. We leave the garage light on and the door part way down in hopes she might return. How often can a heart sink in the space of an hour?

I set out on foot, tracing the regular route we take on our walk to the dog park. I'm in my little slip dress, flip flops, and running jacket calling out her name, whistling, finding it absurd that I'm worried about disturbing anyone.

I start running through all the scenarios in my head: she's been found and taken in, they might call the vet number on her tag, they might not. She's lost and wandering in the dark and thunder (which scares her) and is curled up in a shivering little ball somewhere. She's wandered to the busier road and is lying there, dead or dying. Each scenario got worse as the hour wore on.

Lynne is sitting on the porch, now starting to worry about me, when I turned back around the corner. I had ached to see her sitting there with Katy, tail wagging. But no.

We get back in the car and make a bigger sweep, this time up to the high school and grocery store. The whole way I'm holding my breath for any dark thing on the road.

We crawl about, calling and whistling and squinting into the darkness for a black dog because there's nothing else we can do. The powerlessness is crushing. Both of us have been tearing up the prayers to God for her safe return. But prayers don't stop the imagination.

We get off the main road and taking a winding one back toward the house. I stop the car again at the spot where the open space trail leads down to the dog park. I've gotten all dry mouthed and hoarse, pitifully crying out "Kaaaaaatyyyyyyy". No answer.

We make the turn at the end of the road, the turn right behind our house, and the headlights illuminte two shiny eyes against black fur and white feet running towards us in the middle of the road. She's either gotten to the house and heard the car and come to find us, or she's just arriving as we're making the turn. Lynne and I are both so freaked out we don't remember how to use the door handles but we're talking to her out the open window like madwomen. I get my door open and in she jumps, wet as can be, her heart pounding against my legs and the relief just pours off of all three of us. We start laughing in that exhausted, crazy way. I'm driving with wet Katy splayed across my lap, trying to turn the wheel, one arm clutching her like she'll evaporate otherwise.

That was a very long hour. Thank you God. Thank you thank you thank you.

We wedged heavy stuff against the hole, tried to secure the inner gate, and agreed Katy doesn't step into the back yard without an escort. I dried her off and got her fresh food and water and then, after taking another hour to just unwind from the stress of it all, we climbed the stairs to bed. I shut the door, just in case.

My blog may be Greek for "wandering" but my dog is staying put.


Post a Comment