I ended early today and so got back home early afternoon. As i drove into my driveway, i saw the gardener and his wife standing out front looking perplexed. I saw my side gates wide open. I felt an immediate sinking feeling in my stomach. In the second that i took to switch my car engine off and to force myself to calmly open the door and greet the gardener, a barrage of panicked thoughts sped through my head.
WHERE IS MY DOG?
They (the gardener and his wife) probably have her tied up somewhere in the backyard so they can mow the lawn in peace.
With what? I never provide a leash, and they never used to tie the dog up.
Maybe the housemate is home, and she let the dog into the house.
The housemate never lets the dog into the house if you are not home.
Ok fuck, the dog is gone.
No, the dog is not gone.
She’s microchipped, has a tag with your address and mobile number, the council’s tag, a country-wide tag and the obedience club’s number on her, she will be found.
What if she gets run over?
What if someone finds her and decides not to return her?
I smiled at the gardener, not revealing the conflicting and burgeoning emotions threatening to erupt under my tight expression.
“Hi, where’s my dog?”
“Oh good, i am so glad you are here, we just discovered your dog is missing.” The gardener was horrified.
I did not wait to hear anymore; i strode out of my driveway onto the street, mentally running through the route that i usually take when i walk my dog. That’s the greatest probability where i will find my dog – she’s probably out visiting the other dogs in the neighbourhood. I started whistling, and calling out.
“Does she always run out?” the gardener’s wife asked urgently.
I barely walked one metre from my house when i suddenly saw a black dog sitting calmly on the pavement, staring at me. It was my dog. How on earth i managed to drive past her without noticing is beyond me.
I called out to my dog but she just stared at me in confusion, not recognizing me. I was puzzled and surprised. Something must have frightened her. I walked nearer to her, calling her name, urging her to come. She actually stood up and was preparing to bolt away from me. I stopped immediately.
“Hurry up and get over here, i am waiting. Faster, what are you doing??” i said.
I glanced up and down the street to make sure there was no oncoming traffic and encouraged the dog to come to me. I kept talking, not because she understood what i was saying but so she can recognized my voice and knew it was me. She took a few tentative steps towards me and i did the same. When she finally recognized me, she bounded up in disbelief. I patted her.
“What’s wrong with you? Heel.” I commanded as we walked slowly back to my house.
The gardener’s wife reached out to pat my dog but my dog shrank away. I have seen my dog behave in a similar fashion to complete strangers, but the gardener and his wife have certainly been tending to the garden and backyard for the past three years; they are no strangers. I shrugged. I found the dog, and that is what’s important. Maybe she got scared by the loud noises or got hit by a flying debris, but i made a mental note to remind the gardeners to be more careful the next time they come to my house and to observe the dog over the next few days for abnormal behaviour.