Today i lost Zack and Belle, for a brief frightening few minutes. They weren't wearing collars or tags. I was very lucky. I got up this morning as usual, let Belle out of the kitchen, let the dogs out in the backyard, then fed them, made my breakfast, sat down and ate it while the dogs were playing. I was writing an email after i finished my breakfast when i noticed that the dogs seemed too quiet and were not in view, which is unusual. I called them and got up to look for them and they were obviously not here. It's not that big of an area. The door to the backyard was closed because it was kind of cold, and the gate to the upstairs was closed. Then, i looked at my front door and it was ajar.
I had no idea why my front door was open in the morning. I had not been out. I had not been out the night before after coming home from work. Zack was here this morning, if the door was open he could've gone out. And when i let Belle out of the kitchen i was in the hall just a few feet from the door, i would've noticed if it was open. It's never open, there's never any reason for it to be open, and the dogs will definitely run out if not watched, so it's like a second sense to always make sure the door's closed.
i put on some garden shoes and ran down the stairs to the outside, which is a parking area. i looked around, calling Zack, i really didn't know how long they had been out there, it could've been up to maybe 5 minutes, plenty long enough to disappear. When i'd turned on the water at the kitchen sink this morning, i found the water was turned off, a very rare occurrance, and when i saw a workman outside, my mind wondered if because of a plumbing emergency, they had opened my door. I couldn't think of any way the door could've gotten open, and the workman that was outside is not one of my favorite people, once he was painting the garage and spattered white paint all over my dark green car, and then had a "so what?" attitude about it. I asked if he had seen the dogs and it's not clear that he understood me, English is not his main language. Then i went and got the car and started driving down the street, hoping to see them but they weren't in sight.
A block and a half away, I saw a large group of people, maybe 20, standing in a circle on the sidewalk, kind of odd at 11 o'clock in the morning, it's a residential street. I asked if they had seen two dogs, and they said yes!! They said they had the dogs. The dogs had gone running by, and at first they dogs ran right by them, i could just picture it, like Milo and Otis off to see the world, then they said the dogs ran back to greet them after they had run past. So they grabbed them and put them in this man's truck.
A woman mentioned that they had no tags on them. I said they never go out, they just go in the backyard, but they are microchipped. She then said "Cavalier King Charles?" and i said yes. A couple of people said "Sweet dogs." They were smiling. Someone said "turn your car around and go get them," as the man went walking toward his truck. It felt like Christmas morning. He said they had planned to take the dogs home with them and put signs up in the neighborhood. He said "I'm a dog lover too." I asked if he lived around here and he said no, he said "i'm a real estate agent," and he laughed.
Whew. That sure could've turned out worse.
My theory now of what happened is, the lock on my front door has a problem so that it's hard to turn the knob. I've never had the door not close all the way but that's what i'm guessing happened, because i have no other reasonable theory--maybe when i came home from work last night, when i pulled the door closed it didn't pull all the way to, or it didn't latch, although it appeared to be closed. It was turned to the locked position so i obviously thought i was locking it when i closed it.
I'm guessing that this morning, when Belle and Zack were playing while i was writing, Belle (Zack would never do such a thing ) must've jumped up and pushed on the door with her feet, not sure why. She always does that when anyone goes out the door and leaves her behind, you can here her little toenails going "scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch" really fast. The door must've been unlocked all night, fortunately no ax murderers noticed it, and it appeared to be closed, until Belle opened it and Milo and Otis went running off into the World.
I could not live without them at this point. My mom, age 89, suddenly has developed extreme needs, dementia, deep vein thrombosis, falling, head injuries, and in the past two months, i've been doing all kinds of things trying to take care of her and figure out how to take care of her, i don't have any siblings and she doesn't have anyone but me, so i moved her a couple of weeks ago to a board and care facility near my home, she was too far for me to see before. But she got very focused on "why can't i go home," naturally, but to a point where she wouldn't sleep for days at a time and would just walk around and try to get out the doors,
I used up all my paid time, dealing with everything, and i only scratched the surface of all the stuff that should be done, it's like over night i suddenly got a helpless dependent child to be responsible for, and one in increasingly poor health, and one that can't live with me in my home--unless i quit my job and move in to her house--but i'm getting toward retirement age and can't afford to quit my job.
and my job is normally very very demanding, a caseload of kids i'm responsible for, all kinds of decisions and things i'm responsible for that can effect their whole lives, and i'm the only person, in many cases, who can do various things they need, and if i'm not there, then no one does those things for them, the job is normally like that, where we're spread thin. And now, my mom has become a full time thing. I'm feeling very bad about my job and about my mom, like i'm not doing anything well, i'm letting everybody down. and i am. there's no way to do all this stuff.
So. I have been feeling really sucky. But the dogs...the dogs have been my salvation. They make me laugh many times a day, they put things in perspective, they are happy, affectionate, easy going, funny, and it's a small price to pay to care for them, cleaning up poop and stuff, even when occasionally it gets into the house. If i had lost them today, i think i would've had to go right out and get two more. Otherwise, what would i do? not that they're replaceable, i can't imagine the pain if i hadn't found them. but you know what i mean...