Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ruff, Ruff, Ruff (sing to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Let me start by saying, hey, it's less than 48 hours till holiday kick off time (24 if Christmas Eve is your big thing), and it is naturally a busy, hectic, unorganized, harried time of year. At least at OUR address. And I don't even do any baking, and my dear heart does most of the holiday cooking. I am our designated shopper (Shoes my specialty!) I do the decorating inside, and dear heart strings the outside lights. I complete the wrapping, although he DOES make out the tags, and we inevitably have the one unmarked gift that must be opened (without ruining the wrap job) and relabeled. So needless, to say, our house has been as hectic as all of yours, I'm sure.

So, how would you think we should spend our last Sunday before the holiday bustle REALLY kicks off? Considering we had a wintry mix of sleet and rain all Saturday night and Sunday, a hot Toddie while watching the tree would have been nice. A few last minute errands, even better. How about just catching up with a book nestled under a thick blanket? Sounds great. But, this is the house that WE built, and trust me, nothing is as simple as it should be.

We awoke Sunday morning, and I decided to put the dogs out for a few minutes in their pen. They had been cooped up nearly 24 hours, and even though the weather was lousy, I figured a five minute stretch would do them some good. Well, Rusty, our female, made a bee line for the doghouse, where she would stay until I climbed in and pulled her out. Bruno, our feminine male promptly buried himself in his crate under two blankets, and was having none of that outside crap. Mickey, our miniature Alpha male, bounded into their pen enthusiastically. Squirrel hunting is fun in any weather.

Not ten minutes later, I donned snow boots and coat, and went around back to retrieve my two albatrosses. I reached the pen, and oddly, Mickey was not jumping gleefully at the gate. I climbed into the aforementioned dog house, and dragged Rusty out from the farthest corner possible. Mickey was nowhere to be found.

I threw the one dog into the house, and Mountain Man, whom I've mentioned before, just adores these little buggers as much as an orphan loves lice...well, he donned his hat, coat and boots, and we set out in this miserable weather to go up and down the block uselessly calling Mickey. If this wasn't a testament to the limits of his love for me, I don't know what would be. Of course, Mickey is the one of the three dogs that NEVER answers when called. Much like our human (?) children. Great hunter that he is, my honey is able to find the half inch tracks of little doggy paws in the snow, and I foolishly think, this will be a snap. Two blocks later, the tracks abruptly end, and we spend the next hour and a half alternately looking, calling, and yes, cursing the damned dog.

We continue to look by car and foot for the remainder of the afternoon. It is still raining. I am wearing soggy clothes, my feet are wet, and my hair resembles that of a wet ferret. Great. Still no sign of Mickey.

Now, at 8 inches tall full grown, and a pedigree to boot, I'm thinking the worst of human nature. There is no way he wouldn't have come back on his own by now. Someone has decided to pinch our pooch and make an early Christmas gift of him. Wonderful. I am devastated, my 12 year old is continuously asking if he's back yet, and my hubby is acting like a little kid who just got his birthday wish fulfilled.

By the next morning, I am printing out one hundred flyers to pass out around town going door to door. Another productive holiday task to come. Yea, me. I call our local animal shelter, on the outside chance someone brought him in. No luck, but they did ask if I was sure it was a miniature red dauschund I was looking for and not a full size multi colored llapso apso. With very little confidence, I filled out a missing dog report, which apparently can be done in less time than a missing persons report. That should tell you something about this nation's care of animals over people.

I ruefully settle in to work, when not ten minutes later I receive a call from a woman from the next town over. Apparently her husband caught sight of our wet noodle of a pet two blocks from our home, and picked him up and brought him to his wife, who coincidentally has a full sized dauschaund. Seeing as his identification tag had come off, she dried him off and settle him in to their home, where he proceeded to mark his territory. Loyal little thing, ain't he?

He snubbed his nose at her dog's dry food, which is ALL he eats at home, so this angel of a woman COOKED for him. Chicken and rice for dinner, and then scrambled eggs for breakfast. By nine fifteen, she had called the same animal shelter I had just hung up from, whereas they kindly gave her my number. Profoundly grateful, and almost a little weepy, I thanked her over and over again. She agreed to hold him until my hubby to grab him on the way home from work. "Not to worry," says she. "After his catered breakfast he snuggled in to a spare crate she had gotten out for him and was resting comfortably."

Of course he was. He wasn't battling a cold like yours truly from having been out in a blizzard all day before. The kicker? Her husband had picked the little bugger up not ten minutes after he squeezed out of the pen.

Looking more than a little depressed at the prospect of having brought our dog quota back up to three, dear heart obligingly ran over and retrieved our third missing mongrel and then was rewarded with loads of hugs and kisses.

Oh. So was dear heart. Thank you, once again, big guy. Don't worry. I won't tell the dogs that you are an old softy at heart!

Oh, and will someone tell Mickey that he may as well eat that dry dog food in his bowl. I am NOT scrambling eggs for him, and it's a pretty good bet dear heart isn't either!

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