Last October I installed a doggie door for my dogs, and they love it. Last night I went to a friend's birthday party for three hours. Unfortunately, I didn't add up (doggie door) + (4th of July fireworks) before I left for the party. My little beagle Abby is usually the sort to stay put, but the fireworks spooked her last night, and I came home to just Sam, no Abby. She had monkeyed her way over the fence.
I wasn't too worried for the first hour or so. I figured she was just running around the neighborhood and would turn up on my porch before long. But by 10 p.m. I was starting to panic. She was wearing her collar with her rabies tag on it, so if someone found her all they had to do was call the vet and we'd be reunited. Unfortunately, the vet is, of course, closed for the holiday, so that wasn't going to be a very speedy way to find her. I still hoped she would find her way home on her own. I left the front and back porch lights on and slept with the front door open -- just the glass storm door closed. I scooted my bed over so I could sleep looking directly out the front door. I got almost no sleep, although I know I snoozed a couple times because I woke up hallucinating that Abby was at the door.
This morning I called the police, who also serve as animal control, and made a report. The dispatcher I spoke with was as sweet as he could be. I spent most of the rest of the day alternating between walking around, driving around, and sitting in my living room worrying.
At around 3:00 the police dispatcher called to tell me that some folks had found Abby, had decided she needed a bath, had taken off her collar to bathe her, and had then proceeded to lose her. Un-frickin-believable. Thanks so much, folks, for taking off her one form of ID. But at least then I had a new place to search, 2 MILES south of my house. Sam and I started walking up and down the neighborhood, and then hallelujah! A nice young gentleman called to say he had Abby safe and sound in his living room. Sam and I sprinted back to the car and drove over, and there was the nice young man standing in his front yard with Abby on a leash. She was so exhausted she was wobbling. That nice young man is totally getting a gift certificate.
Once home, Abby ate her dinner, drank a bucket of water, and has been sleeping ever since. I, myself, am totally crashing. I haven't slept or eaten in almost 24 hours. I feel like sticking Abby in a papoose carrier so I know where she is at all times. Both dogs are getting deluxe ID tags and microchips ASAP.