Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sally's Big Break--Part 2

Note: Despite the complaints of certain readers, the author stands by his use of the word "stupid" to describe the dog in question. He points to the fact that the dog becomes hopelessly lost when she drifts more than 30 feet from her house--editor.

One Friday afternoon, I invited my buddy Mike to stop by after work (he works just down the street at the old folks' prison) to show me his new motorcycle. At about 3pm. I got out my motorcycle because Abbie decided she was going for a run to my mom's house about a mile away (she has since moved, again). I hopped on the Suzuki so I could check on her throughout her route to Grandma's house. I then rode back home, parked the motorcycle in the driveway, and waited for Mike to stop by.

When Mike rolled in a little after four, Paula, Emily, and Sally came out front to join in the fun. I set out some chairs, so Paula, Mike, and I could relax okie-style and examine Mike's Kawasaki. Mike and I also enjoyed a tasty adult beverage. Emily played B-A-L-L with Sally in the yard. Abbie called not long after Mike arrived to tell us that she was going to run home from Gran's house. Paula suggested that Mike and I use our bikes to make sure Abbie was safe on the way home. We caught up with Abigail as she headed north on Viader Street in the deluxe neighborhood of "Dutchhollow." We rode alongside her, which she loved (not really), and then we tooled around the neighborhood a little while before meeting up with her again. Later, Mike and I realized we were lucky that no one in Dutchollow called the police about the two old guys prowling around on motorcycles and bothering a young girl as she tried to jog down the street. So Abbie returned home safely, and we sat around admiring our motorcycles and visiting.

Around 5pm., we decided that Mike should go home and return with Linda, his taller half, after she got home from work. We would have a barbecue at the Schmidt House. Mike rode off, and I put my bike away and closed up the garage. As we, all of us, headed inside to get ready for dinner, I heard Paula ask, generally, "Where's Sally?" My attention was directed elsewhere, so I guess I assumed that Paula or the kids would account for the dog. Later, we would learn that Emily thought the dog had gone back in the house earlier--which would have been Sally's typical behavior.

I went to light the gas barbecue some time between 6:30 and 7:00pm. Since it was dinnertime, I called out to Emily to see if she had fed her dog. Right then, someone, it might have been Linda, asked the fateful question: "Where is Sally?" A quick search of the house and yard revealed that Sally was not at home, and suddenly our peaceful evening of sipping wine and eating good food was disrupted.

Seven people (me, Paula, Mike, Linda, Emily, Abbie, and Abbie's friend Sabrina, who was spending the night) went looking for the mutt who went missing. Emily and I set out on bicycles. Mike and Linda went in style in their Acura. Abbie and Sabrina walked, and Paula tried to talk to the neighbors. I knew that the last time she drifted off I found Sally down the street, east of our house, by the duplexes. Unfortunately, just a little farther in that direction is the very busy Dale Road. We looked all over the neighborhood for that stupid dog (!), and we asked everyone we saw if there was any sign of Sally. Finally, some of the extended clan of the Indian people across the street came out of their house and said that earlier in the evening they had seen some people trying to catch a stray dog over on the other side of Dale Road, near the parking lot of the Kaiser medical office. I hopped on my bicycle and searched that area, but there was no Sally there at that point.

We eventually ate dinner, and then Paula and the kids began the process of making lost dog signs and placing a lost dog ad in the newspaper. Throughout the evening, I was impressed by Emily's calm demeanor and her confidence that Sally would be found. There is a lesson to be learned in losing a dog, but I resolved not to make a big deal of it. I remembered, actually, that when I was about Emily's age I took considerable blame for the death of a dog (who was hit by a car) because a backyard gate apparently wasn't latched securely.

Paula and Emily were up early the next morning. First, they worked on the lost dog signs, and then they left for the dog pound (I know there's a fancy word for dog pound, but that's what it is.). When I got up and around, I posted the lost dog signs in the neighborhood. Mostly, I went up and down Dale Road, putting signs on light and power poles. Even though at that point I was beginning to wonder how much easier life would be without our peculiar dog, I rode my bike home and printed a few more signs. After those were posted as well, I returned to the house--just in time to get a telephone call from Emily: "Sally's here, Dad. Someone brought her to the pound last night."

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