Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lost, Found, and Homeward Bound

My puppy, Chloe - Look at that sweet face!
I don't even know how to start this post.  Everything I think of sounds cheesy, so I am just going to jump in.  For the past week, I have been a complete wreck.  I was administering and grading finals for my five ENG classes (times that by five essays, paragraphs, and short answer exams; then start hyperventilating); I stayed up for almost 30 hours on Friday/Saturday (Friurday?) for Relay for Life (and anyone who knows me knows I am the world's grumpiest person if I don't get my eight hours at night...), and my dog has been missing.  Yes, while I was grading those finals and raising money for the American Cancer Society, my sweet one and half year old rescue puppy, Chloe, was frolicking in the fields, woods, and roads(!) behind my in-laws' house.  Anyone who has a pet, especially one that lives indoors, can testify that it is like a child.  When it hurts, so do you.  Up until Tuesday, my husband and I had absolutely no idea where she really was.  We had posted over 700 flyers in the area and had received calls about sighting her, but these calls never came from the same area.  So we would drive around, canvas the neighborhood, talk to people, and post more flyers.  I would wake up every morning crying and come home from work or searching for her every evening crying.  Being at home, where she was supposed to be, with all her toys and her food bowl and her chair (yes, she has her own chair) was absolute torture.  Tuesday afternoon, my dad and I decided to return to the scene of the crime - my in-laws' house from whose fence she escaped - and drive around the surrounding roads.  We hadn't had any luck and were about to return to town when one of my husband's friends called me.  "I've got her," he said, but there was a catch.  She wouldn't come to him.  No problem, I thought - I told him to keep an eye on her, figuring as soon as I arrived and she saw me and the box of treats I was shaking, she would come running.  But no, once I confirmed that was my baby way out in the field and called her name, she looked at me and trotted off in the other direction.  I was distraught, but I didn't want to scare her further, so I not-so-patiently waited for my husband to arrive.  Chloe could not ignore his deeper, more authoritative voice, but she did.  She disappeared into the woods, and we didn't see hide nor hair of her for the rest of the afternoon.  Yesterday morning, my father-in-law was driving around and spotted her on a road a few miles away from where she was Tuesday although this road was closer to their house.  He stopped and got within 15-20 feet of her before she turned and wandered into the woods again.  I immediately left work and met him.  He sat at one end of the road, and I sat at the other waiting for her to emerge from the woodline (I have never felt like such a stalker in my life), but she never appeared.  Frustrated, exhausted, and angry, I went to my in-laws' house to wait for my husband.  When he arrived later that afternoon, it had been raining, but we set out to search for Chloe again.  Suddenly, we spot her in a field - this is the first time my husband has seen her - I don't think he believed I had really seen her until this moment.  He called her, and she turned and darted into the woods.  We quickly reached a private lane by the woodline and flew down it - cutting Chloe off just as she emerged on the other side of the woods.  She lifted one paw, turned, and darted back into the woods.  Rob called and called; we drove back to the field we had seen her in; nothing.  We stopped and talked to some people who lived by the field and confirmed that they had seen her in their yards Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.  We gave them flyers and drove home totally dejected.  My husband was happier because we knew where she was.  I was worried that we had scared her from the area and terrified because the hard part was supposed to be finding her, not catching her.  My husband takes a night class on Mondays and Wednesdays, so he went to class, and I pulled myself together and went and had dinner with my mom
Chloe helping me grade papers.
and sisters.  Rob called earlier than usual to say he was on his way home.  He asked me to meet him there.  Worried that the events of the day had finally caught up with him, I made my way home and met him at the door.  He insisted he was alright, and we were sitting at the table talking when I noticed headlights turning into our driveway.  "Who's that?" I asked.  "It's my mom," my husband replied.  He paused.  "She's bringing Chloe."  I screamed, "Are you serious?!"  He was.  My baby was home.  The people we had spoken to earlier that day saw Chloe again in their yard and called my husband.  He called his mom, who was in church down the road, and she drove over.  She knelt in the yard with a treat; Chloe came and took it; she opened the car door, and Chloe jumped in.  I could not believe it.

Chloe snoozing in her cozy chair
now that she's home!
Although this has nothing to do with books, I feel compelled to share my story because I am brimming with gratitude for everyone who saw the flyer and called just to offer advice or check on us, for the people who spent hours looking with us and consoling us when we did not find her.  The kindness I saw this last week is astounding.  The miracle of Chloe's return - safe and uninjured - is even more astounding.  I don't know why she wouldn't come to us right away.  Maybe she was afraid, but watching her sleeping in the chair beside me right now is the best feeling in the world.  Maybe God was trying to teach me a lesson about faith and trust.  Whatever the case, I am so blessed today.

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