Monday, February 27, 2012

Thinking about turning it into an opera - ?

Hi, Dad. Hi, Mom.

Sorry about the lapse in blogging... again. You always did have to bug me to get anything done... remember?

Anyway, Bo ran away last night. It was the third day in a row. I blame it on Brian, though it's happened under my watch in the past so maybe I should just call it even.

Last weekend we lost the remote control to his electronic collar, which allows us to give him a friendly little 'beep beep' when he gets too far and we want him to come back. So since I have no way of controlling his behavior off-leash, I take him on leashed walks around the lake. More effort for me, but that way I get exercise and he gets to pee on everything. But what Brian does is... trusts him. Takes him out off leash and expects him not to run. And most of the time this works (Bo listens to Bri much better than me) but this past weekend Bo was in a runnin' mood. Boom! gone Friday. Boom! gone Saturday. After about 45 minutes each day, I got a phone call from a neighbor who saw him barking at another neighbors dogs through the fence. Off we trot to fetch our pup.

(Incidentally, we live in a fairly forested area and think Bo just enjoys chasing squirrels while he's out. Not cars. He'll pull this little trick where he hangs around for a good ten or fifteen minutes, being a good boy, and then sneaks off in 30 seconds.)

Both times, I said: "Babe, you can't trust him to stick around without his collar." "I know.... I should kick his butt." (Brian never kicks Bo's butt. Bo has Brian wrapped securely around his paw-knuckle.)

So Sunday evening, Brian took Bo into the backyard (unfenced) to chop some wood with his new ax. As I left for the grocery store, I heard, "BO! BO!? BO, COME!" Yup. Gone again.

When I got home, he was still gone. "Did he at least have his collar on, with the tags?" Nope!

So at this point, we're the world's worst pet owners. At least he's fixed... at least he's not aggressive... at least I can find a few excuses to not make me feel so bad. 

Only, he didn't come back in a couple hours. At 10:30, it was bedtime, and he still wasn't back. "Should I drive around?" I asked Brian. "No," he replied, "he's fine." "But it's cold tonight," I said.

"Serves him right. He can sleep outside for being such a punk."

We've had this conversation once or twice before, and it's always turned out fine, so I said, "Okay, I'll trust you."

But in my head, a million thoughts crowded in: He's lying by the side of some road with a broken leg. He's been captured by animal control and they're going to euthanize him. He's lying dead by the side of the road. He's in the middle of the road about to be hit by a car. What will I put on our "Lost Dog" signs? Which picture will I use? How many will I have to print at Kinko's, and how much will it cost to get them laminated so they hold up in the rain? What will I do if he's not sitting on our porch in the morning? How will I bear the sight of his food bowls, his dog bed, his half-eaten bag of kibble, or his box of toys? What will it be like to vacuum dog hair and not see it come back? What will I do if Bo's not around to smush his wrinkly, fat face between my knees for petting, or to throw his Kong at my feet each morning? "Fill this!" What will I say to my parents? His pet-sitter? My friends? The people who love Bo? "We let him run away and he never came back"? Will my baby grow up never knowing the Bo that mama was always yelling at during the pregnancy?

I asked Brian, "Do you mind if I get up a few times in the middle of the night to check for him?" His reply was, "Yes, because I need to work tomorrow! Let him sleep outside."

It took me a long time to fall asleep. The litany of worst-case scenarios kept rolling through my mind. Brian was not worried about Bo at all - he put in his earplugs and was soon sleeping peacefully. Brian's not worried, I reminded myself. Everything always turns out fine when Brian's not worried.

When I finally fell asleep, I dreamed about Bo. I dreamed that he was sitting on the front porch the next morning with a tub of hand-picked wild raspberries as an apology to Brian. Brian ate the raspberries and forgave him.

Around 2 AM, I heard whining. I crept out of bed, gently closed the bedroom door, and checked the front porch. Empty. Had that been my dream? I walked to the back deck and there he was, sitting petulantly at the door and whimpering. I cracked it open and he shoved his way in: it's cold!

Without a word, I toweled his feet off and he shook his coat exuberantly. He smushed his face between my knees for some petting, but I was in no mood to do more than pat his head. I made sure his water bowl was full, shut the basement door so he couldn't sneak downstairs to sleep on the couch, and tiptoed back into the bedroom. I drifted off again to the sound of Bo vigorously wolfing down the bowl of kibble mixed with bacon bits that Brian had saved for him from dinner.

The next morning, I told Brian, "Bo came back." His face lit up. "He did? Did you let him in?" "Yeah, he woke me up with his whining. I hope you don't mind."

Of course he didn't.

Brian walked out of the bedroom, saw Bo lying exhausted on his bed, pointed to him and yelled, "'Pologize!" Bo was so tired he could barely stand, but he stiffly walked over to Brian and wagged his tail. Sorry.

He'll be out cold on the living room floor until about eleven or so, I would guess. Then we'll take a short leash walk around the lake. I do not need to learn this lesson again.

Bo's secure in the house. All's right with the world.