Saturday, March 14, 2009

Search Party Over

My sister Rachael and her family are in FL for Spring break, supposed to be having a great time. Thanks to me their trip has not started off great. I agreed to watch their sweet little Stella, a Chiwawa/poodle mix they got last summer, who apparently is so spoiled she has to stay with someone who is home a lot because that is what she is used to. Since I don't work much these days, and am home a lot I volunteered to watch her. Plus I totally understand, cause my dog is the same way. The only small problem (which turned out to be a really big problem) we thought we might have is that she would run off because I don't have a fenced in yard. So I got a long tie out that I had for my dog, tied it to my porch and when I let her out during the day for potty breaks I put her on it. Worked fine all day Friday.
Friday evening we went to dinner and left Stella home alone with my dog Brewster for the first time. They seemed to ignore each other most of the day so I figured they'd just keep doing the same and be fine while we were gone. When we got back around 9pm Todd was opening the door and I was slowly coming too with the baby and the diaper bag. When he opened the door Stella jumped off the couch and made a bee line for the door, I grabbed the tie out and tried to grab her to hook it on her collar but she was too fast. I handed off the baby to Todd and took off after her (as fast as my 38 week pregnant self could go in the dark). She ran across the field at lightening speed and I lost track of her.

***This is the point where you scroll to the end to see the pictures if you don't want to read all the dramatic details.***

We got grandma to come and stay at the house with Anthony and I called my friend Kim who'd gone to dinner with us to come back and help. She brought a spot light with her and Todd, Kim and I drove around for 2 hours looking for Stella. Meanwhile my sister Rachael, who'd I'd already called and given the news to, was pleading that we do everything we could to find her and not to give up. While I understood her feelings and knew I would expect the same of her, I was beginning to think it was a lost cause, at least in the dark, so we called off the search party for the night. (And Rach, just so you know, they even call of search parties for lost humans after dark.)
About midnight I finally was getting to bed and of course I couldn't sleep I was so worried, and I was supposed to work in the morning at 7am. I was planning to call in so I could continue the dog search, but wanted to wait til morning to do so in case she showed up during the night barking. I also happened to be on call for any sexual assaults that came in to the ER during the night. It's a new program at our hospital to provide one on one care for these patients 24/7. I have been taking tons of call time and have yet to get called in. Last night of all nights the pager went off at 12:15am and I had to go. I was at the hospital till 5:30 am, then came home drove around again in the dark for a while looking for Stella to no avail. The only good thing about getting called in was that they let me have today off, which was a huge relief. I took a short nap from 6am till 9am and then my sister Francie came over and we continued the search.
We had pictures developed and drove them around to all the neighbors with our number on the back, walked all over as far as we thought necessary on foot. Mind you we are out in the country and there are acres and acres of farm land all around us, she could have been anywhere. Neighbors were out helping us, I had picked up Betty, Rachael's housekeeper to come and help since Stella loves her and might come to her if she heard her voice, Rachael's in laws came over with Rachael's other dog to see if they could find her too. We all wandered around the area on foot looking and calling for Stella.
Around 12:30 the neighbors came yelling for us saying the spotted the dog in the field below our house. We all took off running but by the time we got down there she was gone again. No sight of Stella. The neighbors were very certain it was a little white dog though, so at least now we all had a little hope. I called Rachael and Derrick with the news that she was spotted alive, but ran off again and we were still looking. They sounded a little relieved but not completely. We searched the area for quite a while on foot, then I called Todd to come down in his truck and drive around the huge 100 acre plus field they farm that goes down a hill to the river. So Todd, Anthony and Francie drove down around in the truck while the rest of us walked back up to the house to try to figure out what to do next.
A few minutes later Todd calls and says they spotted Stella down by the river bottom in a muddy area before the river, but behind a big flooded area where it was going to be difficult to get to her. Francie got out on foot to get her, slipped and fell in the mud herself, but eventually her and Stella met in the middle and Francie was able to grab her.
We all breathed a huge sigh of relief, called off the search party, then called Rachael and Derrick in FL and offered to Fed Ex their little baby down to them. Unfortunately for them, they still don't have many options at this point, so they are still going to trust me with their dog for the remainder of the week, so everyone keep your fingers crossed that she stays safe and sound for the next 5 days. Francie took her home for the afternoon to give her a bath, get her some food, water and a nap which she badly needed all of. I did the same for myself, food, shower and a nap.
The only thing that could have made for a better ending to this story would be if all that walking around had put me into labor. No such luck.

Okay, now for the pictures:

The happy reunion
Francie's shoes.

P.S. I think I'm officially off the hook for ever having to dog sit again for anyone!
But just to cheer me up one of my friends asked me to watch her kids next time she goes out of town.


Tina in CT said...

Thank goodness you found her. Can you bring her to a kennel for the rest of the week? She'll not like it but at least she'll be caged. Do you have a crate at home that you can keep her in when you are going to be going in and out of the house?

Poor Stella. She must have been terrified. She looks so pathetic covered in mud. Thank goodness a coyote didn't get her.

Elle J said...

I agree with Tina ... crate her when you are not home/in & out. It is to her benefit until she gets back to her own house. Well done on the search party and being determined to find the pup. Maybe labor is coming this evening after you relax a bit, it might put something into motion.

Francie said...

Hey, ya think Rachael will buy me an new pair of tennie's??? Ha-ha! I'm just so glad she was alive and unharmed! And by the way, you run pretty fast for being so pregnant! I had a hard time keeping up with you!

Shannon said...

Where were you when Cooper jumped the fence?

Rachael said...

I feel horrible that you were up all night on top of everything else, and esp. 8 1/2 mo. pregnant! But, I'm glad you found her & I sure hope she behaves from now on. And, I'm glad you didn't go in to labor. (sorry, but I still want you to wait for me.)

Kristin said...

the mental image of you waddling around made me smile! so glad the dog is home safe!

Natalie said...

oh man that sucks! I got the full audio version from Francie earlier.

Shanna said...

Goodness! What a great sister and animal lover! I can't believe that did not put you into labor. Maybe it brought you that much closer though?

Amy said...

The poor little thing looks so pathetic! I'm glad you found her.