I’ve had my dog Ginny since September 1, 2004. She’s almost 10 years old. She’s been kind of spoiled. We bought a house with an entirely fenced yard so she and the kids could play. She’s an indoor dog. She likes climate control. She likes food at 7pm. She likes stealing Cheerios and cookies.
Today Rich went to the store and didn’t know Ginny was out in the yard. He left the double driveway gate open so he could pull his truck back in easier.
I went to the window about 45 minutes after he’d left, and I saw the gate open. I ran outside and started yelling. Ginny didn’t come.
I went inside and told Livvie and Jonas to behave. I went back outside and walked the yard calling her. Over and over I called her. She didn’t come.
I went back inside and called her in case I’d been an idiot and missed her. She didn’t come.
I bundled up the kids and threw them in my car. I rolled down the windows and drove around the neighborhood calling her. I scanned the road, and I scanned the ditches. Livvie sobbed in the backseat. Jonas laughed because he had no idea what was going on, and Mommy yelling “Ginny” out the windows was hilarious. The more he laughed the more Livvie sobbed. I was doing about 5 mph with my hazards on. There was no sign of her.
I came home, and I called the microchip company. I put out an alert on Facebook. I called a local vet, and I called two neighbors. Rich came home. He got back in his truck and went out to look.
He didn’t find her.
When he came back I told him to stay, I was going out. I’d heard dogs barking. I’d heard dogs barking a, “Get the fuck out of here, you don’t belong,” bark. If you’ve lived with a dog long enough you know the sound of that bark. So I got in the car and drove off in that direction. I drove down a road pretty close to ours and prayed I wouldn’t get shot at. Everyone who was outdoors- I asked. Nope. No dog.
I started home. I’d been thinking that I’d seen one of the neighborhood dogs near our fence earlier, so I went to find her human. She’s a stray, more or less. The guy across the road takes care of her pretty well, but she refuses to belong to anyone. I asked him where she goes when she runs. He said she stays on our road or in his yard. I told him I’d be walking his yard. He said he’d go, too (he wasn’t home).
So I got back in my car and drove to his house. Pulled into the driveway. Got out of the car and heard the barking. He pulled into his second driveway. I started walking, and when I got near the far back of his property I saw the two barking dogs, in their fence, way off through the woods. I watched where their eyes were, and I saw my dog’s head down in a gully. I said, “I’m here!” Her ears went up, and I said, “I’m here! Stay there! I’m here!” Her tail started going over the top of her head. Wags. Loads of wags.
She couldn’t get out of that gully. The growth was insane down there. Brambles, weeds, bushes. She couldn’t figure out where to put her feet. I walked down, and as I got to her she laid down at my feet. I told her I had her. Asked her to follow me. She couldn’t. So I looked up the hill, looked at her, and lifted her.
And she let me.
See, the big deal isn’t that I carried a 65 pound dog up a steep hill through thorns and bushes and choking weeds by myself. The big deal is that a 65 pound dog who isn’t used to being lifted let me do it and carry her with unsure footing up that hill.
And when I got her to the top and set her down she tried to run, and I said, “STOP.” and she did. And then I pointed to the car and said, “Over there.” She ran to the car and waited for me to open the door. And when we got inside I threw my arms around her and cried my eyes out finally.
Because I was a rock until I found her. I didn’t know how I would find her, in what shape I would find her, but I knew I would find her. It was my job to find her. Not some animal control officer, not some idiot with an idea to take her home. And it wasn’t Rich’s job to find her. It really wasn’t.
The day I took her home from the shelter she was terrified to get in my truck. I lifted her and put her inside, and she was never afraid to get in my car again.
I lifted her again today. I had her. I found her. And I brought her home to a little girl who cried buckets on seeing her.
The dumbass is asleep at my feet after eating dinner. She wanted to go back out earlier, and when I said no Livvie asked, “Is she grounded?” I told her yes. For now she is grounded. There will be no yard time without us in the yard. Her dumbass is most assuredly grounded.
But her dumbass is safe, and warm, and fed.
And I love her.