Sounds kind of dramatic, yes? Dramatic, yet true.
Some of you know that The Hubster and I don't have any human children, but we have two of the canine variety. Chubbs is our 10-year-old grumpy, German Shepherd/Husky mix, and The Hubster has had him since he was a pup, long before I was ever around.
And then there is Chloe.
Chloe is our little Yorkie/Daschund mix and she just turned two this month. We've had her since she was about 4 months old, so she's been our "baby" ever since and completely LOVES being the baby of the family. If you'll let her, she'll milk it for all it's worth. And we let her because, well, because she's our baby.
Last week Chloe decided to give us quite the scare. I had just come home from work, and the typical routine is one in which the dogs spaz out and bark until I get inside the house, where they'll continue to spaz out until I let them out in the backyard to do their business. Now, typically they'll go outside, sniff, squat, run, do whatever they needed to do, and then they'll come back in the house to love on me and give me hell for leaving them all day. It's usually one of my favorite times of the day, minus the incessant barking at the onset of the greeting.
Well that particular day was, apparently, different from any other. It started out normal, dogs went outside, I went inside and decided to sweep the kitchen while I was waiting for them to come back in. In comes Chubbs, smiling his little doggy smile that I can never seem to catch on film. So we play and love and scratch and lick (he licks, I don't), and then I notice that Chloe isn't inside partaking in the lovefest. Instantly my heart fell into my stomach and I just knew something was wrong. She never misses a chance to one-up Chubbs, or to sneak that little tongue of hers up a nostril or in an ear (I swear, she knows exactly what she's doing), so I dashed outside to find her.
She's not on the deck, not under the deck, not in the yard, not behind the BBQ pit, not behind the garage, not in the garage. Okay, she's not outside. Did she come inside when I was sweeping? So off I dash into the house to check under the bed, in the closet where she likes to sleep, on top of the bed under the comforter, and... NO CHLOE.
I just knew that she had gotten out of the yard, or that someone had taken her. I walked the streets calling for her, searching and hoping she'd come running up to me and tell me about her big adventure outside of the backyard, a story that would be punctuated in exclamation points since that's how Chloe talks. Forty-five minutes later I returned home a deflated, sobbing, hiccuping Chloe-less mess. By this time I had talked with The Hubster who was doing all he could to get his shift covered so he could come home and help me look for her, and he's just as upset about it all as I am, only he's handling it without all the crying, snot, and wadded up tissues. So off I go to the Humane Society of Southwest Washington to see if they have her, where I can't even get out the words "We lost our dog" without breaking down and crying. The staff there was wonderful and took me through every dog room, even ones Chloe wouldn't have been put in, just to ease my mind. I didn't see Chloe in any of the kennels, but I did find a bunch of really cute puppies that I would have loved to take home with me on any other day. Except it wasn't any other day and they weren't Chloe. They weren't my dog. I fill out the necessary paperwork and they say they'll call if they find her, but I leave feeling as lost as Chloe probably felt at that moment.
I get home and get busy posting an ad on Craigslist, checking the Lost and Found too, and making fliers to put up around our neighborhood. I just felt like I had to do something, even though it felt like what I was doing was not enough. It's been about 3 hours at this point, and I'm starting to feel completely hopeless in it all. I'd only received one response to the ad I post on CL, and it was some woman telling me I "really shouldn't be leaving my little dog outside by herself, it's not safe". Yeah, thanks for that, Mrs. Helpful. I'd wandered around the neighborhood putting up fliers, talking to neighbors, calling for "Chloe Girl" and still gaining no ground. Feeling helpless, I settle down in front of the computer to "refresh" my computer screen as many times as I can to have an up to the second list of lost and found pets in our town. And then something hits me. I've been checking the "Pets" section on Craigslist, looking at their lost and found animals. BUT, there is another Lost & Found section, not related to pets. I decided to check it and WHAT DO YOU KNOW!!! This is what I found...
Found small dog. brown and grey. looks like a terrier or yorkie. i dunno im a cat person. due to the high # of small dog theft. you must provide papers or photo's. please come get it. ###-2904.
This just HAD to be her! I called the number and this woman answered. The Cat Lady had my dog and I KNEW it because the only thing I could hear was Chloe in the background "talking" in her whiny little voice. What a wonderful sound! I never thought I would ever say that about her constant whining when something isn't right, but it's how I knew they had our girl! Instantly I'm sobbing, rambling on saying "Call her Chloe, she'll respond to it!", but hell, she would have responded to anything at that point because she was so distressed. So I find out where this woman lives and, get this, it's 5 BLOCKS away from our house! 5 blocks!
So, I hop in my car and don't even take the time to fasten my seat belt (which I always do!) so I can get to our pup as quickly as possible. I find the house, park, and before I know it I'm on the Cat Lady's front porch where she is waiting for me. She opens the screen door and out flies a wiggly, whiny, oh-so-happy-to-see-me Chloe! Of course I'm crying, can't even keep it together as I'm going on and on to Cat Lady, saying "I can't believe you found her!" and "It's nice to know there are nice people out there!" and, my favorite, "Can I just give you a hug?" It just didn't seem like any other act of gratitude or thanks could convey what I was feeling at that moment.
Cat Lady, in spite of being a cat lady, was a wonderful babysitter for Chloe. In the four hours that she was gone, Cat Lady got her a new collar, food, and doggie treats. They had planned on keeping her if no one came for her, and I know that they will be great dog owners if they decide to get their own. We're just so thankful that someone nice found her and gave her back to us.
For the next couple of days Chloe didn't go out of our sight when she was outside. I could tell she was irritated for constantly being checked up on, and she started giving me the "Aw, Mom!" look anytime I called her name. I figure she could suffer the injustice of having good pet owners while I nursed a throbbing headache and burst blood vessels around my eyes from crying so hard while she was off living it up with Cat Lady. Sounds fair, yeah?
Fair or not, we love her and hope this never happens again!