I’m terribly sorry for having missed yesterday’s post. I have the biggest excuse though: my daughter’s brand-new-to-the-family, three-month-old, Chihuahua-mix puppy, Kahlea, went missing. Mind you, she had only been with us for a matter of hours and had no idea where she was.
The “went missing” part is too passive. I made a crucial new dog mom mistake: I took her outside without a leash. She took off running, and my German shepherd, Remy, ran after her. She sailed right through the little squares in the fence and kept going. Getting Remy in the house took less than a minute, but when I went back out to pursue, Kahlea was gone. This was at 5:00 p.m. By 7:00, there were at least a dozen of us out looking for her — including several people I had never met. By 9:00, darkness was on us, and we called it quits for the night.
I was a bit of a wreck, but I kept it pretty well together until I heard Story calling out for Kahlea in her sleep. Then the thunder erupted. All I could think about was the skeleton I had found while searching of some poor creature that met a terrible end, probably at night in a thunderstorm, in our neighborhood. I slept in the bathroom with my head propped up on the windowsill and the window open so I could hear her if she cried.
The next morning, Story was inconsolable. She begged and begged to stay home from school. Every time I tried to set her down, she scrambled back onto my lap with the desperation of a drowning victim. She did, finally, calm down enough to propose a compromise: she would go to school, it would be an online school so she could do it from home. It was rough, but she did get on the bus.
I immediately went out searching again with a dear neighbor friend, Shawn, who had already been out and about looking. We combed the neighborhood, which follows a mile-long circle. Everyone was quite gracious and allowed us to search their yards and outbuildings. With still no hint of Kahlea, I went inside to make phone calls to local shelters and other such organizations and create posters to hang. Shawn went out for another loop.
After all the phone calls, postings to websites, and poster designs, I hit print and the shower (it had been awhile). While rinsing my hair, I heard Remy barking her “there’s someone at the door” bark. Shampoo in my eyes, I rinsed as quickly as I could and ran to the door in a towel. Nothing. Then the phone rang. Shawn said that Kahlea was spotted on the other side of the neighborhood heading toward the woods. Though I can’t remember the actual actions, I’m pretty sure I put clothes on and sprinted out the door. Shawn was already there searching by the time I came panting along.
We spent quite some time searching, and my hope began to fade as I looked out on the expanse of woods before us. Then Shawn shouted my name. She had found her! But Kahlea took off running again, and boy, she’s fast! Following several curse words and thorns in my legs, I made it to Shawn. We surrounded the section of brush Kahlea was in and called. Still nothing. I got down as low as the tangled branches and vines would allow me and finally spotted her. When she saw me, her little body trembled and wiggled, and she came to me as fast as she could.
I learned a lot from this experience. Love at first sight is possible, at least with a puppy. I have the best and kindest neighbors in the whole world. I have the best and kindest family, friends, and online strangers in the whole world. The list of what to do when a dog goes missing is permanently etched in my mind. And sometimes the biggest trouble comes in the smallest packages.