Last week, I had the pleasure of being in Arkansas to visit with my daughter and soon to be son-in-law. They just bought their first house and are getting married in 6 short weeks. While there, I had the opportunity to help with a little planning, meet with the wedding planners and just get a few things done for them around the house. Their lives are super busy and hectic with Drew being an ER nurse and Alex working as a surgical PA. Between surgery schedules, night shifts and being on call, they often don’t know which end is up. That being said, when it comes to helping out a friend in a similar situation, they are the first to volunteer.
Last Thursday evening, one of her friends from the surgical team, Shannon, came over with her husband to drop off their 9-year-old wiener dog, Isabel. They were leaving the next evening for Africa. The husband is originally from Zimbabwe and they were traveling back to visit with his family for a couple of weeks.
While at the house, Shannon was called to the hospital for an emergency and they quickly left. Listening to how much they still had to do, the fact that she was on call through the night and still had a full day of surgery ahead of her before getting to the airport, stressed me out and I was happy I could help out just a little by watching their dog.
On Friday, Alex had to leave around 6 a.m. for an early procedure at the hospital and Drew left about midday for his shift in the ER leaving me home with their puppy, Sage, and Isabel. We had an easy afternoon playing in the fenced-in backyard and inside often to cool off. Around 5 p.m. Alex called to say that she had just dropped her friends at the airport and was on her way home. I was mindlessly picking up the kitchen, outside with the dogs, and back in again when suddenly I realized Isabel was not there. I started looking around, went back inside and then told Alex I didn’t know where Isabel had gone and had to hang up. Guys, it had been approximately 6 minutes since I had picked up the phone and she had just gone outside with me. I knew she had to be close. I started to panic as I ran around the house opening doors and screaming her name. I ran back outside to the backyard looking behind the shed, under the grill and under the table when I noticed their large gate was ever so slightly ajar. A storm was rolling in and the wind had picked up dramatically and had blown their fence open just a tiny bit. The gate is heavy and it seemed impossible that fat, little Isabel with her short little legs could have squeezed her body through that space, but also, I couldn’t find her anywhere. I was having a full-on panic attack at this moment thinking that I had just misplaced someone else’s dog. I made the necessary phone call to Alex as I put Sage on a leash and left the house to go look for Isabel. Alex was obviously very upset with me and said she would try to call Shannon to see if Isabel had a microchip. Not only did this sweet little dog NOT have a microchip, she did not have identifying tags of any kind. Her collar was sitting with her things and that meant there was no way for anyone to even reach us if they found her.
I ran outside to begin my search and as luck would have it, a roughly 85-year-old woman with a walker was outside with her daughter and to say these women were well-connected was an understatement. Within minutes, this elderly neighbor had called the farmer who owned the field behind Alex and Drew’s house to alert him that there could be a wiener dog roaming amongst his cows. She also called the HOA president, the nearest vet, and posted on the community Facebook page! Her daughter started driving around the neighborhood and as I yelled for Isabel other neighbors emerged from their homes. The family across the street took to their truck, bikes, and by foot and said, “we will find this dog.” Another guy drove around the neighborhood on his motorcycle while his golden retriever followed behind.This search went on for over an hour to no avail. Isabel was nowhere to be found. I just couldn’t understand how a dog who waddles from place to place, could have gotten far enough that we couldn’t find her.
Meanwhile, Alex returned home and also began searching the neighborhood while I walked the perimeter of the cow pasture with Sage. After another 20 minutes, Alex called my cell and told me she had found Isabel. I started to cry because I was so relieved. Alex said she had gone back into the house and started yelling for Isabel and she heard her bark! It turns out that when I was “mindlessly” picking up around the house, Isabel had followed me into the closet where I put some wedding supplies and I had not realized it. I don’t know why she didn’t bark and I don’t know why I didn’t look in that closet. I felt like I had opened every door in that house looking for her.
In the end, we were just relieved that Isabel was safe and sound and so were her parents whose plane was delayed long enough to hear that she was never really lost. I’ll admit it did take us a bit to get over the idea that Isabel could have been lost, but after a little wine and pizza we recovered.
The next morning Drew greeted me with a smile and said, “I heard it was a rough night.” I assumed Alex had filled him in, but no, he had gotten an alert from the neighborhood watch that said something to the effect of, “a wiener dog has been lost on Tumbleweed. Our neighbors are watching her for friends that just left for Africa and her name is Isabel.” Thankfully he saw the alert after the update that she had been found. I guess news travels fast in the South. I am not sure I will ever be trusted with their dog again, let alone any children they might have.
On the bright side, Alex and Drew live in an AMAZING neighborhood with some of the kindest, most generous people and I am glad I was able to break the ice for all of them. I hope they will all be good friends.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G