Last week I'd gotten "the call" which turned the entire neighborhoods worlds upside down for a couple of days. Little did I know what kind of crazy misadventure I was in for.........
Our neighbor "Perch" was apparently in a pickle needing to leave town in a hurry. He asked me if I would watch his dogs for him. Being the neighborly girl I am, I agreed right away, though I really didn't know him or his dogs all that well. He said I would be contacted later on and hurriedly hung up the phone.
That afternoon, while I had kids being home schooled at the table, eggs frying on the stove and pitas flipping in and out of the oven at an alarming rate of speed, Perch's friend "Smosh" popped in with the dogs. Smosh thought the eggs looked good, so he enjoyed some while scrawling down a few details on the doggies.
Meanwhile, chaos erupted. Homeschooling for the day was a memory while kids and dogs ran amuck in all directions. We were already watching 1 dog for a friend, had 2 of our own, and the neighbors lap dogs brought us to a grand total of six!!
As eggs continued frying, Smosh handed me a check saying something like "it might be a while" and "please take it". It was around then, that I noticed Momo, the geriatric and incapacitated white fluffy lap dog. She stood there, staring at the wall shivering, wearing a Martha Stewart sweater. She hadn't moved since she arrived. Smosh explained that Momo might be blind and crippled and mostly incapacitated. She needed food or water to be placed in her face in order for her to find it. I gulped. With a busy home like mine, that might be hard to remember.
Momo was still staring at the wall when Smosh left. Tinkles was walking all over my porch lifting his leg on every inch of house he could find. I gulped again. The kids informed me that Pedro, the Mexican pup had taken off at an alarming speed, ran under an operating logging skidder and disappeared over the hillside of the neighbors property. Apparently the logging operation was not happy about kids being around and shooed them away (thank goodness).
Since I'd never formally met Pedro, I thought it best to give him some time to make it back to the other dogs. I also had pre-arranged weeks ago for my girlfriend to come over that day for prayer. She'd driven from an hour away and arrived almost as soon as Smosh had left. What I didn't know was that Pedro had the gift of gab. Being the debonair gentleman that he is, Pedro had apparently ran several miles, met up with some friendly passersby and had finessed his way into their vehicle. All the while the entire neighborhood was on the verge of being turned upside down, Pedro was in a nice, comfortable holding cell.
After an hour or more, my girlfriend departed and I realized things were beginning to deteriorate. Pedro had not returned. Momo had moved away from the wall, but didn't want the food or water I offered her. As I paced around trying to decide what to do, Tinkles jumped all over my furniture. He would sit on one piece, I would shoo him off, and as I turned my back, he'd be up on something else. I was beginning to feel a little edgy.
Soon I dragged my 5 year old out the door without dinner and was out driving around looking for Pedro. I had called one of the neighbors and he was looking too. Then I stopped by several more neighbors houses and scouted around their yards. I also drove down the road a ways, but he was no where to be found. I even looked back at his parents house.
With great dread, I called Smosh. I had had no idea what I'd agreed to. Now I had this big disaster on my hands. Smosh was sorry to hear that. Next I called Perch. Perch was not happy, as I expected. He told me that Pedro made a strange barking sound and I should go back out and listen for it. I was leery. It was pitch black outside, a snowstorm was brewing, and I couldn't really hear that good from my car.
Before I knew it, I'd abandoned all hope of cooking my family dinner and dawned with a flashlight, I was out scouring the neighborhood by foot. I climbed across big log piles constructed that day, listening, in the dark and made my way around where the dog may have gone. In the end, I was tired, hungry, and frustrated. How was I to possibly keep this dog herded in the first place? I listened in the dead of the night for the telltale yipping, but heard nothing but eerie silence. I hoped if the thing had any good instinct, it had holed up some place until morning.
Upon arriving exhausted into the door, the phone was ringing. It was Perch wanting us to go out looking again. Ringing in on the other line was Smosh. This time Perch didn't want to talk to me and appealed to my better half. Soon my dear husband, past his bedtime, was out looking for the wayward pooch. After getting off the phone, I called more neighbors who promised they'd look around their places. My husband returned much later, very tired and irritable. Just as he was trying to go to sleep the phone rang again. This time it was the hospital, wanting me to work the next day. I hated giving up the opportunity for work, but I soon explained the situation to my co-worker who told me "I always knew there was something wrong with you". Laughing he hung up. I rolled my eyes and fell into a fitful sleep. All night long I had nightmares about angry neighbors and chihuahuas in logging accidents.
In the morning my husband informed me he had not gotten any sleep, was sick and was calling in sick. The snowball rolled on. I was beginning to lose my sanity. Pretty soon a tiff between us erupted and I followed him down the stairs into a giant puddle which I guessed may have come from Tinkles. Tinkles eyed me warily from his position on the couch. I shooed him off. Then I carried Momo over to the water bowl. It made a drinking sound. She hadn't been willing to eat anything up until then except for hamburger and bacon. I was relieved she was drinking.
I continued the tiff with my husband as I sopped up the gigantic lake in my living room. I shooed Tinkles off the chair. Finally, after cooking my husband breakfast, I convinced him that since he was calling in sick that he may as well come back to bed. This put us both in a much better frame of mind, that is until we were all snggly and the phone rang..........................
A detailed message went off on our answering machine. Apparently Smosh had driven up in the middle of the night, braving a 6 inch snowstorm to search for the missing pup. He only had a PT Cruiser and was now stranded at the top of my driveway. He was hoping to come down and prowl around our yard.
Eventually, I made it down the stairs, feeling like I'd reached maximum mental capacity. I didn't know what more I could do, but whatever it was, it wasn't enough. I filed a police report, and left messages with the pound and boarding kennels. Surely someone had seen the runaway. I also called a nearby elderly recluse who loves our family. He normally covers many miles each day and promised me that he would be out early that morning scouting for tracks. Smosh popped in and my boys went off searching with him.
I hurriedly gave my 5 year old breakfast, bundled her up and was about to head out driving down the highway when the phone rang. It was one of my neighbors telling me the other neighbor had Tinkles. He informed me that Tinkles would prefer to stay there until his owner returned. I was not at all pleased. It was bad enough I couldn't keep track of one dog, now this?!? I drug my 5 year old back down the trail to the adjoining property and knocked on the door. The neighbors inside eyed me accusingly. They informed me that had they been home, the neighbor would have chosen them to watch the dogs. His girlfriend held the shivering Tinkles in a towel telling me he had ice balls all over his underside. Now I was really losing it. I'm delinquent with Tinkles too? I scooped up Tinkles and marched home. I put Tinkles inside cringing at what he might be doing to my house while I was out looking for Pedro.
Miss Moonbeam and I boarded the vehicle and plowed through 6 inches of snow up the road. We saw Smosh and the boys trudging through the deep powder. "Do you know there is a cat riding on the roof of your car?" Smosh asked nonchalantly. I thought maybe Smosh had hypothermia of the brain. Then the boys agreed. I began to think I had no pride left whatsoever. Sure enough, our cat, was indeed, riding on the roof of the vehicle. Please insert the "Green Acres" theme song here as you pause and calmly think of that. Smosh told me not to worry. Perch had booked an emergency flight back home so he could call for his pooch "with his own voice". Surely Pedro would respond to his owners voice.
Upon arriving home after another yet unproductive search, the phone rang. It was the pound. They notified me that Pedro was there and that his owners would be picking him up later on that day. I militantly guarded Tinkles and frequently assisted the geriatric resident with her dietary necessities. I never heard from Perch until he stopped by for his dogs that evening. He was tired and nonconversative other than to tell me I should have looked on the highway and that he would be needing his check back.
It took me a few days to recover from the incident. I was thankful that I had been invited to a Hard Cider making class that week. Since then, Miss Moonbeam has frequently pretended to be Perches beautiful wife looking for her wayward pup. Whenever she does this, The "Green Acres" theme song resounds in my brain on repeat mode.