But this time, for some reason, that wasn’t enough. So the meter reader entered the yard and had he returned the gate to the state it was in when he opened it we would have had a calm dinner followed by a slice of intact cake. Instead, he left it open and dinner was consumed by the male members of the family followed by what was left of the cake after Topper (the official troublemaker in all this) availed himself of a third of it.
Of course it was Topper's idea to take advantage of the open gate. Topper is convinced the trees and leaves one the other side of the fence are somehow more interesting that the trees and leaves on his side of the fence. It doesn't matter that he has acres to run around in, he wants to run around the acres over there. He doesn't get out often, but when he does, he runs around for about 20 minutes and then comes home for a nap.
Only this time he took the puppies and they wanted to stay out and par-tay. Well, Topper was not going to let his niece and nephew think he wasn't a cool, hip, happenin' kind of Aussie, so he stayed out and showed them around.
After about an hour or so of driving around searching and yelling, we drove back to the house to see Topper waiting patiently by the front door and Hokie coming to greet us. I was all set to be relieved when I realized Abby wasn’t there.
More calling. Dirtman and I went into the woods where I swore I was hearing Abby’s high-pitched whine she uses when she can’t get her way. Dirtman tried following it, but suddenly stopped.
I’d like to leave the whole canine drama thing to relate our ultimate method of coping with crisis. As I parked myself in the middle of the woods weeping copiously, Dirtman paced angrily on the edge of a ravine.
Dirtman: WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?
Me: I want Abby.
Dirtman: I’M LOOKING! YOU DON’T THINK I’M LOOKING? WHAT ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?
Me: I want Abby.
Dirtman (banging sticks against tree trunks and running blindly in circles screaming Abby's name): YOU SEE? I’M LOOKING? CAN’T YOU SEE I’M LOOKING?
Me: Abby. (at this point I’d lost all sense of pronouns and verbs).While all this is going on, Heir 2 is and his extremely patient girlfriend were trudging through the roughest terrain, probably rolling their eyes at will and swearing they'll never act like the couple of old twits on top of the cliff.
As night fell, we took to the phones and Dirtman sent out an e-mail to the entire subdivision. Hokie and Topper took a nap.
By midnight I was cried out and exhausted. We were doing regular watches and calls, but decided that we’d get up with the first light and start again. I let Topper, Hokie and the terriers out back to go to the bathroom and, as usual, Zsa Zsa out front (long story that has to do with her stomach problem).
Zsa Zsa barked to come in and when I opened the door, there she sat proudly with Abby next to her.
“Really, Dah-ling. You need to keep things in perspective. Sometimes a girl’s just got to have a night out!”
We think someone took her in, maybe even had her on their back porch while we were out screaming for her (which is why I heard her barking). When Dirtman sent a general e-mail out to everyone in the subdivision, they must have realized this wasn't just any stray. At least, that's what I want to think. I would hate to think they heard us out there calling her and purposely dragged her out of earshot...
Abby seemed none the worse for wear, though she smelled of heavy woodsmoke, which I guess is better than stale beer and cheap perfume.