Duchess on the Run

originally in Abilene Families

“Ugh. Fine. Run, Duchess, Run.”

Why is it that a dog that deems it too cold and drizzly to go out in the back yard (where one would argue large dogs belong) is perfectly okay with bolting out an open door into the front yard where the weather is equally cold and drizzly?

It didn’t matter why, the fact was that my dog was on the lam AGAIN and one child was about to be late for school. I glanced at my dog happily frolicking in the neighbor’s yard, knowing that I had a choice. I could go try to get her back, watching her continue to bolt and run, (a game I don’t enjoy but that she could play for hours). Or I could get my daughter to school and let her run.

Either way, it would be a while before I secured my dog again. Off I went to school, knowing my dog hates yukky weather as much as I do, and that she would likely be waiting for me upon my return, pouting at the wait to get in.

Gone about 20 minutes with no Duchess waiting on my front doorstep when I returned, I went inside to check messages on my machine. I have met at least 50% of my neighborhood starting with a phone call alerting me that a kind person had grabbed my wayward dog and would hold her until I could come get her.

When I saw there were no new messages on the machine, my heart dropped with a new realization: Duchess lost her tags this summer and we never replaced them. I started to get physically ill as I realized that my dog was out playing freely in the neighborhood,  trusting that I had it under control to get her back when she decided she was ready to come home. Misplaced trust equaled misplaced dog, perhaps for good. Very sad me.

All day I periodically walked outside calling her name. I drove the neighborhood, scanning all bushes, allies, and alcoves for my Duchess. I called the pound. Nothing.

My daughter and I left on a previously arranged trip, leaving my husband and son to welcome Duchess home when she found her way back. I held onto that hope, but that didn’t happen. Days went by, and no Duchess. We became very familiar with the personnel at the pound, calling daily to hear, “No, I’m sorry.”

With every passing day, my hopes of recovering our furry family member grew more and more dim. Even the free ‘Lost’ ad in the “Reporter News” classifieds brought no result.

The fifth day, I finally got a different answer at the pound: “Yeah, you may want to come check.” Walking the cages, there were 12 dogs I wanted to take home, 3 that looked just like Duchess, but no Duchess... until... she heard my voice and came inside, jumping and wriggling, ready to be through with Duchess’ Grand Adventure of 2009. Oh, if that muzzle could talk.

With Duchess returned to her rightful throne, I have repented of my irresponsible pet owner ways. I immediately got her a replacement tag. That was only $8, compared to the $20 it cost me to get her out of the pound, not to mention the days of heartache and guilt (and gasoline driving around).

Please learn from my mistake: if your furry family member doesn’t have a tag, please get one today. If s/he hates a collar, consider a micro-chip. Your animal is trusting that you have it all under control. Do you?

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