Sunday, August 7, 2011

Annie's Big Adventure

I've never had a dog run away. Ever. I've had dogs get out, and run down the street, me hot on their heels, and brought them home with me, but never... ever... have any dogs of mine been able to slip out, unnoticed, and be gone.

Until tonight.

I have a routine. I feed the dogs, then put the ones that sleep in crates away, shower, and get in bed. If someone hasn't pottied by the time I'm sick of sitting outside being eaten by mosquitoes, I leave them in the backyard while I shower, and bring them in after. (I just spent almost $2000 making my back yard secure, by the way...)

Now, what was different about tonight: when we prep food for the dogs, we do it in the garage, so we can just hose out all the blood. Our orders are usually 900lbs, so it can create quite a mess. Jon left the garage door open about 3 feet, which is typical. What I did not know, is he opened the door from the garage to the back yard as well.

So, that brings me to tonight. Annie hadn't pottied yet. So I went to shower. As I was drying off, he came into the bedroom and asked if Annie was in there. No, she wasn't. He said she wasn't in the backyard. "Jon, that's not funny!" When I turned around and saw the look on his face I knew.... he was not joking. Not even a little bit. Annie was gone.

I searched the whole house, calling for her, growing more and more frantic all the while. She was nowhere. I went to the front yard, in all my towel-wearing glory, calling for her. Nothing. That's when I saw the open garage door, and the clear shot to the backyard. I ran in, shaking, threw clothes on, got in my car, and drove around looking for her. Seconds became minutes. Minutes became hours. We drove the neighborhood. No Annie. We went to the park. No Annie. The Church parking lot. No Annie. At some point Jon made me switch driving, because I was all over the place. My bad. Less than a mile away, there were some drunks tailgating in the parking lot of a movie theater. They said they had seen her 15 minutes prior. At that point, we ditched the car, and went on foot. Barefoot. I ran the entire Scera area calling for her, willing her to be OK. Still. No Annie. At some point, I literally fell to my knees in Zurchers parking lot, just pain struck at the thought of something happening to her, or the thought of her terrified and unable to find her way home. Jon was wonderful. He helped me pull myself back together, and the hunt continued.

I wanted to go home. If Annie went home, I'd need to be there. I felt an overwhelming urge to just go home, like that's where I NEEDED to be. If Annie isn't hurt, or seized, she's trying to get home and by golly she might be smart enough to make it.
Annie was in my neighbor's yard. Right next door. She was walking all crouched down, terrified. When I jumped out of the car and called for her, she was scared initially, and then ran straight to me, and literally climbed up me, and clung to me. She was trembling, terrified, and wet. I carried her inside, cried some more, looked her over, cried some more. She has a bunch of scratches on her chest and neck, probably from some bushes, and she is favoring one of her back legs just a tiny, tiny bit. But she is fine. I gave her a bath, cried some more, and now she is sprawled out, right smack dab in the middle of my bed. I did not notice, until I had her in the house, that my feet are all cut up from running the parking lots. Oops.

I learned a few things tonight.
1. Communication. letting me know the always shut and locked door was in fact open would have been great.
2. I now support drunken tailgating in places that make no sense.
3. Annie is smart enough to find her way home.
4. I knew Jon was amazing, but seriously, while I'm usually the calm and collected one during crisis, I LOST IT and couldn't have pulled myself back together without him.
5. My business partner is even more amazing than I thought she was. I called her sobbing at 2am, and she wasn't even mad!
6. Someday, when I really do have to let Annie go, I will have to be committed.
7. Annie is grounded for life.

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