My heart stopped for about three minutes last weekend.
I was marking at the kitchen table, as per usual on a Sunday afternoon, when I decided Sherman had been outside long enough to work through whatever didn’t belong inside the dollhouse. I finished the paper in front of me, opened the back door, and called.
I whistled, which is one of the more pathetic sounds I make regularly.
I smacked my knees with both hands and hollered his name.
I raised my already high voice to a level slightly above Catholic choir boy, and used Sherman’s panic call, “Pup-pup-pup-pup-pup-pup-pup-pup-pup-pup-pup!”
Then I walked out onto the wet back deck in my socks and realized the gate from the front sidewalk was wide open. My heart lurched behind my ribs. I couldn’t believe it. I always check before I let Sherm outside, in case the guy from the gas company or the pizza guy who brings food to my tenant has been by and neglected to close it. Apparently I was asleep at the wheel that Sunday and missed the open gate to the big world and to freedom.
The Electrician was in the bathroom, and I flung open the door, privacy be damned, to tell him Sherman was on the lam. Then I shoved my thick-socked feet into the nearest shoes, a pair of cheap flip flops, and
ran clomped for the back yard, intending to retrace my steps. Because I know my dog, I doubled back and grabbed some “come home” incentive: a bag of his favourite dog treats. The package says they taste like cheese, but they smell like fermented evil with a light dusting of cat fart.
I felt truly sick inside, and not just from the stink of the treats. Our little street is quiet, but it’s not far at all from a major route; that distance could be covered in moments by a swift spotted dog with four long legs. The pooch is also ridiculously friendly and would think nothing of going with the first new “friend” to offer him a snack or an ear scratch. Sherman has never been out alone before, and his recall off leash is less than reliable. I decided to go out the front door to hopefully save precious time, dreading some sort of mildly famous dog ransom plot, or finding poor Sherm injured or worse on the main road. I also had visions of him darting away from me as I tried to entice him to come back, just like he does when he really, really doesn’t want to leave the dog park.
Sticking out from behind the trunk of one of the big trees on my front law was a skinny white tail. It wagged slowly, curled up a little at the end. I called, “Sher-man!” in my best happy to see him voice. “Come see your momma!” He turned, spat out the pinecone he was chewing on, dashed past me and trotted back around the house and into the back yard. The Electrician was out back and immediately secured the gate. My heart started beating again, thankfully, but my stomach still felt queasy.
What does this guy do on his grand adventure the day the gate gets left open?
He eats random crap on his own front lawn.
I imagine moving those pine cones and whatever else he ate through his system was less than pleasant, but I suppose a little roughage is a good thing. There have been no more gate incidents, and we are being even more diligent than usual to ensure it’s closed at all times.I’m just so grateful no harm came to my dog. If something had happened to Sherman, I would have been utterly devastated.
I would hate to have to rename this blog The Late Blue Speckled Pup. Sherman is irreplaceable, like all good dogs, and I’m looking forward to at least another decade of his shenanigans.
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