Friday, July 16, 2010
Daisy's brief but glorious life of crime
I have a small back yard with a largely decorative, three-foot-tall wrought iron fence around its grassy area. The whole time we've lived here, which would be nine-plus years, Daisy has never once tested the fence's integrity. The visual boundary was sufficient -- this area was her yard and she had free reign within it. But she never went outside the little fence without her leash -- never even tried to.
The guy who cuts my grass came today, and sometimes he doesn't close the little iron gate into the back yard when he finishes. Often I come home on Friday afternoons and it's half open, so I know to check it on Fridays in particular when I let Daisy outside when I get home. Today was no different -- the first time I let Daisy out after he left this afternoon, I visually checked the gate. It was closed; out she went.
Except it wasn't closed, because after a while, I realized I'd lost track of time and went to let Daisy in -- and she was gone, the iron gate swung fully open.
The next few hours were not great. Crying. Hyperventilating. Combing the neighborhood. Berating myself for not putting my cell number on her tags. Designing and printing and hanging fliers. Calling Shu! and freaking out. Walking and driving around, calling for her, listening for her, watching the sky getting darker and darker while realizing she is 15 stinking years old and a slightly feeble inside dog, not some sort of young outdoorsy creature, and the best case scenario was that she was scared and lost somewhere.
Shu found someone on Craigslist who'd seen her at like 6:30 near the park by my house, and he talked me in to the area via Google Maps, and then as I was walking in that area, a couple said they'd seen a small dog running but didn't know what color is was. Adding to the fun -- I have no answering machine at home since I switched to cell for my main phone service. So I kept coming home every little bit and dialing *69 (like a creepy teenager) to see if anyone had tried to call while I was out looking since they couldn't leave messages. Finally at almost 10:00, pay dirt -- *69 gave me a number to a guy, Nathan, who had Daisy at his house! Which was almost a mile away in the opposite direction to where the Craigslist lady had made her sighting. Daisy Mae Clampitt had covered some ground.
With Shu! on the speaker phone I drove over -- to find Daisy drinking bottled water out of a cute little bowl surrounded by gang bangers (complete with scary tattoos and shaved heads) sitting in lawn chairs in a circle around her on the driveway. I ran to her -- she was completely unhurt, a miracle in itself -- and she looked at me puzzled, like she had no idea who this sweaty crying lady was. The guys were very sweet about the whole thing, and she hung over my shoulder, looking back at Nathan longingly as I carried her to the car for the drive home. Halfway through which she seemed to remember "Oh, right, the lady who feeds me," and climbed into my lap.
So, to sum up, Daisy is out on her own a matter of hours and manages both to join a gang and find herself a boyfriend. She is a little tender footed from her adventure (it was 103 or something crazy today, so I'm sure the the texture and warmth of the pavement have made her feet sore) but otherwise just fine. I, on the other hand, may need a little more recovery time.
Thanks to everyone for their prayers and concern. And to Shu!, for his cool-headedness and rapid operational strategy. It takes a village.