23 September 2008
I woke up at 3 a.m., dreaming that I had found Chico -- in the freezer. It was a place I hadn't thought of looking. He was whiter than usual, and obviously very cold, but he was alive and I warmed him up and gave him dinner.
I couldn't get back to sleep after that, wondering again how he'd gotten out and where he could be--and did he find someplace comfortable to spend the night.
It was the weirdest thing ever. We've been doing this -- taking in foster dogs -- for three years now and have had dozens of dogs and puppies in here, many of whom were much more likely to escape from the yard than Chico. Chico literally spends 95% of his time sleeping in the recliner. He goes outside to pee, but has never shown any interest in trying to get out.
So how did he get out?
We can't find any likely spots that would appeal to a dog who wasn't really frantic to get out.
But the evidence was clear -- he had gotten out.
Walt went off on his bike and rode around for about an hour. Ashley came over and walked the neighborhood. I made a poster
Walt kept checking outside every so often until he went to bed. I began to wonder if he was really out, or had he somehow died and was hiding under something in the back yard. Even the dogs knew something was wrong and were very attentive to me. Lizzie even came in to sleep with me in the family room when I got into the recliner, which she doesn't usually do. Every time the dogs barked at the front window, I raced outside to see if it was Chico.
But there was nothing. All we could hope was that someone would see the posters and bring him back--or that he would be picked up by Animal Control and end up at the Shelter (where one of the SPCA volunteers works).
Around 8 a.m. this morning the dogs started their barking at the window again and Walt started yelling "Bev! Bev!" from upstairs. We both raced outside and there was this lovely young woman with Chico on a leash. Chico was back.
She had apparently first met him down by the high school (2 blocks away) yesterday afternoon. He had followed her home and spent the night with her and this morning she had him on a leash and was walking around the neighborhood hoping he'd act like he recognized one of the houses. She hadn't seen the "Lost dog" poster yet.
We took her information so we can send her a reward for finding him.
As for Chico, I was amazed at how happy he seemed to be back. He's not a jumper, but he leaped and leaped, just like Lizzie, to get to me. He raced into the house, into the recliner and rolled over and over as if to say "Oh...it's still here! I'm HOME!" He scarfed down breakfast as if he hadn't eaten since yesterday (though I'm sure he got something for dinner last night.)
Now we just have to watch him. It's possible that he got out while Walt was going in and out of the back fence, though he doesn't remember seeing him. But that is the only thing that makes sense to me. However, he could have found a way out of the fence that no other dog has found yet and if there is such a hole, we need to fix it to keep Chico in and to keep in any other foster dog who comes here.
But the most important thing is that he's finally home and maybe I can sleep tonight.
MILES TO NOWHERE: 70 miles