“Poppi! Buddy's gone! Wake up.”
The words don't quite register but I struggle from sleep and swing my feet to the floor.
“Hurry. He's not here.”
Has that blasted dog jumped the wall again? How can he get over a 7 foot wall with an additional foot of fencing atop that? And why?
I manage to get my sweats on and slip my feet into a worn pair of slippers. As my wife gets ready, I have time to slip a coffee container into the micro to heat it up. I don't care that it was last night's brew. While it's being nuked, I grab my cane and slide open the door to the patio and call his name. “Buddy! Come here baby.”
No response. No wriggly body with wildly wagging tail and slurpy tongue to greet me.
I walk around to the back, still calling.
It's still an hour before dawn and too dark to see how he got out. As soon as my wife's dressed, we prepare to leave. I step out onto the driveway and call.
Still no response.
We spend the next hour driving up and down streets search for a brown Pit Bull mix with a white blaze, white paws and a white tip at the tail. Up and down streets on both side of the main avenue.
We finally give up and return home. My wife calls one of our boys and, when he has a chance, he also checks the neighborhood.
No luck. No sign.
It's 24 hours since he left and another search this morning came up empty.
You really don't appreciate the spot in your heart that four-legged creature holds. He can't speak but he's just like a human child. He understands you and looks to you for nourishment. He gives unbridled love. He lets you know when someone approaches the house and warns when he thinks it's necessary. Especially such dangerous creatures like the blackbird that spent all last summer tormenting him. Or those darned cats that come to tease him. [That's probably why he went over the wall – chasing a cat.]
What are we gonna do without him?
We're off to check the shelter, praying he's there.
If he isn't?
And, he wasn't.
So, now what?