Friday, March 28, 2008

Abby's excellent adventure

Now, I don’t know what else we can do to get through to people not to use our side gate. Usually, dogs barking at them like maniacs makes it a no-brainer. But if the dogs are inside, there is the sign indicating dogs and the fact that the gate is locked and wedged shut. For the past few years, this has sufficed. Our electric meter is clearly visible from the dog-less side of the fence.

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. At this point I’ll admit I’d lost it. I was quite sure she was caught in a bear trap and that the bear had come along.

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.


Me: I want Abby.


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.


Jane G. said...

First of all, I am delighted Abby is home safely. Second, I fully sympathize with your anxiety.

Meg said...

Ohmigoodness, I'd be acting the same way. I am glad to hear Abby made it home safe and sound. Clara Bow says to tell her that being a stray is No Fun and she better Not Ever Do That Again. Her experience is that when you are a stray nasty people take you in and chop up your ear, tie you up outside, try to make you fight other dogs, and underfeed you. And you only get away by slipping your collar, squeezing under the fence, and running away. It's really scary! It's not worth the risk, Abby! Take it from a Clara Bow who knows from experience.

JACKet said...

Oh, the emotional pain, I lost Leroy once, It was my 40th birthday, I was hysterical, and had to cancel birthday celebrations. I put a huge sign on the footpath, he was found wedged between 2 buildings just next door, a bit dehydrated, and happy to be home. I celebrated my 40th the next year.
You should rouse and threaten the meter guy, never to do that again. Jacky

Gwynne said...

What a relief! I would have been crying with you. It's so difficult to worry and think up all the possibilities (like what Meg describes!) Been there, done that, don't want to do it again!!

Sisiggy said...

jane:Thanks. You'd be surprised how many people are amazed that anyone can get that upset.

meg: That's one of many scenarios that when through my head.

jacket: Bad tradition to start. In my family -- we hit deer on our birthdays. Seriously, me and both my brothers hit a deer on our birthday, two of us in brand new cars.

gwynne (who I assume is raising her head only briefly from endless tax forms): Yeah, and you'd think Abby would have the decency to come home at least a little traumatized about the separation after all the tears shed on her behalf.

Janie said...

Wow. I'm glad Abby made it home.

I would absolutely freak.