I find it utterly amazing and somewhat amusing that of all the inspirational, thought provoking, humorous, and insightful things I have posted on this blog--or at least that was my intent--by far the one that has gotten the most response is the one about the dogs!
All of you want to know what happened and have begged me to tell you the rest of the story. Well, beg no more. But the truth is, when that posted, I didn't yet know the rest of the story.
The dogs had been missing since 9:00 that morning. Jay and I had both driven around looking for them. Jay canvassed the neighbor- hood on foot, talking to many of our neighbors, including one old fart with whiskey on his breath who said, "Yeah, I see the little shits all the time. They are always getting out and getting into my yard. I went up to your house a couple of weeks ago and took my dog so your wife wouldn't think I was a pervert and told her they were getting out."
I remembered that encounter with the pervert and thought I'd found where they were escaping and secured the yard.
When it started getting dark and there was still no sign of them we drove around again. There was no sign of them anywhere and I told Jay to take me home. It was like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Both of us were pretty frantic by this point.
We got ready for bed and Jay decided to look on Craigslist under the lost and found section. Sure enough, some woman had a post up saying she had seen two dogs of Callie and Hobbes' description on I-44! She and another woman had stopped to try and get them off the road. They got Hobbes, but they couldn't get Callie. No surprise there since the only person she will come to is me, and only then if I am sitting or laying down. Earlier in the day Jay kept saying he just knew they had gone into someones home, but I knew there was no way, since Callie won't even come into our home if she can see you near the door.
Jay called the woman and she told him the whole story about seeing them and stopping and trying to get them off the road. She said she'd taken Hobbes to the pound. So at least we knew he was safe, but this bit of news made me even more worried about Callie. I was sure she would be lost and frightened without Hobbes, wasn't sure she could find her way home, and was afraid she'd end up a slick spot on the highway.
I left the back door open a crack "just in case" and went to bed and cried and prayed for the Lord to keep her safe and help her find her way home.
It's just amazing to me how attached we humans get to our little pets. And I knew Hobbes would be heartbroken if he lost his little wife and the thought of that made me cry even harder. There was no way we could explain things to him!
Then, unbelievably, about 3:00 in the morning, Callie jumped into the bed with me! I couldn't believe it! I grabbed her and hugged her so hard she yipped and woke Jay up to tell him she was home, her feet wet, but none the worse for the ordeal. He couldn't believe it! "Oh, Praise God!" was all he could say.
The pound opened at noon and we left in time to be there when they unlocked the place. We took pictures of Hobbes, his outdated shot record and his collar. The drone at the front desk told us to sign in then go on "the dog side" and see if we could find him. I was shocked at how many pens there were. We separated and went up and down all the isles looking for Hobbes and calling his name. I finally spotted him and called to Jay.
Needless to say, Hobbes was beside himself and was yipping and jumping, wedging his nose through the fence and trying to stick his head through the space under the gate.
Jay told me to stay with the dog and he'd go pay his bail. It took forever, but he finally came back and asked for the checkbook.
I noticed that Hobbes' pen didn't have a padlock on it like the rest of them, so I lifted the latch and reached in and grabbed him then stood by the pen and waited for Jay.
A bit later one of the workers came by, looked at me, looked at Hobbes, looked at the gate tag, looked at the paperwork in his hand and said, "How did you get that dog out?" I explained that it didn't have a lock on it and I got him out so I could hold him. "That dog belongs to somebody," he blurted. "I know," I said, "He belongs to me!" I explained that it was my husband who was up at the front trying to do whatever needed to be done.
Finally, one rabies shot later, we were headed home.
"How much did it cost?" I asked.
"You aren't going to believe this! I got ready to write the check and the guy said, $275!"
Of course, twenty-seven years of marriage has convinced me there is NO WAY Jay would pay that kind of money to spring Hobbes. Heck, he probably wouldn't spend that kind of money to spring me!
I nearly drove off the road. "What on earth for?" I shouted.
"$150 fine for not having him neutered, $75 fine for being loose and $50 for a rabies shot. I tried to reason with the guy but he kept saying his hands were tied. I finally said, 'He's not neutered because we are trying to breed him.'"
Barney Fife didn't skip a beat. "There's no provision for that in the city."
Poor Jay! He was getting really exasperated yet trying to be respectful. Then, a revelation. He yelped, "He's sterile!"
Barney: "Can you prove it?"
"Look," Jay said, smiling through clenched teeth, no doubt. "We bought a female who we know can get pregnant because she'd had a litter before we bought her. She's been through four heat cycles and despite Hobbes' best efforts, he hasn't been able to impregnate her." (And we can all thank God in heaven for that, this blogger adds.)
Barney said he'd have to talk to his supervisor. He took three steps and peeked into a doorway. Out comes the supervisor and Jay repeats his sad tale of woe.
The guy says, "They're really cracking down on us. For all I know you work for the Mayor's office." Jay managed to stay in his skin and says, "Oh my gosh! You're kidding me! I work for American Airlines! I can prove it."
So, thinking he had the trump card, Jay said, "Fine, I'll just wait three days and come back and adopt him."
"Probably not," Barney chimed in, "You'd be second on the list."
(Okay, stop right here for a minute. Who could have possibly decided they wanted to "adopt" him between Friday evening and us getting there when the door opened on Saturday? Hmmm? Sound a little fishy to you too?)
Then, right before Jay reached his tipping point, he said, "Look, all I knew was that my dogs were playing in our yard, we couldn't find them and I checked Craigslist and some woman had posted that she'd found our dog and brought him to the pound."
This seemed to change everything. "We didn't pick him up?" the supervisor asked?
"No, some woman brought him in."
At that point, compassion raised its lovely head, the guy tore up the paperwork and redid it, only charging us the outrageous sum of $50 for the rabies shot, though by that time it looked to be a bargain.
On the way home Jay said, "It will be interesting to see what kind of impression this had on him." I can tell you exactly what kind of an impression it had on him.
The minute we put him in the yard he made a bee-line for the spot where he'd been getting out and tried to nudge the chicken wire up so he could slip out again. We looked at each other and shook our heads. Then we secured the fence.
It made me think again of what I'd said in the previous blog. We have a nice, safe yard, full of all kinds of bushes and tress--just right for peeing on; all kinds of rabbits and squirrels and birds to chase; even the occasional turtle or possum to bark at; a mailman and UPS guy they alert us about; fresh water; all the dog food they need; the occasional treat, etc. and all Hobbes does is whine and skulk around like a P.O.W.
I want to explain to him the dangers of 31st street one block to our north and of I-44 and the logical outcome of a collision between a one ton steel car and a six pound dog.
I want him to understand how much we love him and how heartbroken we would be if anything happened to him.
I want to tell him he owes us $50, and he's darn lucky he doesn't owe us $275, not to mention all new carpets and a more than a few pairs of shoes and jeans and underwear, but that I knew there was no way he could pay us so we'd will gladly let him off the hook. I want to beg him to just stay in our nice, safe yard where we can meet all of his needs and we can laugh at his antics and enjoy watching him and Callie run and play and tussle together.
And, of course, all I can think about is all the times I've left God's yard of protection and provision and wandered into unknown dangers. Of all the times He's rescued me from my own rebellion and stupidity. Of all that I owe Him that I will never be able to repay. Of all the times I've resisted His kindness, rejected His help, ignored His voice and His pleas to obey.
But I'll tell you one thing. I GET IT NOW in a way I didn't fully appreciate before. And it breaks my heart and floods me with overwhelming gratitude to our great and compassionate God all at the same time.