Bailey’s scream was horrible. I could hear it two blocks away, coming from exactly where I feared it would. Orange Street. I thought I knew what that sound meant, but tried not to think about it as I reached into my pocket for my car keys.  

They weren’t there.  

As I ran back to the house to get them, I realized I couldn’t.  All of my keys were together inside the house, and I was locked out.  In my haste to get Bennie inside and join the hunt for Giselle, I had left the house with nothing in my pocket.

The neighbor’s lights were on.  I knocked impatiently at her door, hoping to borrow the spare key we had given her. Shirley was a great neighbor and a true dog lover.

“Bailey’s dog ran off.” I explained when she open the door.  Seconds later, I was in my house trying to mentally prepare for the possibility that Bailey’s dog, Giselle, had been killed by a car.  Bailey would be wrecked. What would we do?

I grabbed my car keys and a bag of turkey to use as a bribe, but before I got out of the kitchen, the door jostled.  It was Bailey.  She had Giselle.  Whether the dog was dead or alive, I didn’t know.  A very long moment passed.

“I have her.” Bailey said. “She’s Ok!”  

Bailey came in holding Giselle.  My other daughter, Ally, was only a step behind.  They were winded and exhausted, but very relieved.  Both had sprinted about three quarters of a mile in pajamas and stockinged feet, chasing down Giselle.  It was the day after Christmas, Pajama Day in our house- nobody gets dressed.

As Bailey ripped into Giselle for her disobedience, the last member of our search party returned.  Tammy had been about a full mile away, in the park, running around in her socks and pajamas, looking for Giselle.  In the heat of the moment, everybody ran out with no phone, so we had no way of telling Tammy that the dog had been found.  In 29 years of marriage, I had never seen Tammy so stressed.

I couldn’t believe how fast the whole thing had happened. We knew Giselle was a “flight risk”. That’s why I was holding the screen door closed from the inside, while Tammy was outside fixing a light on one of the Christmas decorations. Something distracted me, and when I looked back into the kitchen, I must have relaxed my grip on the screen door handle. That’s when Tammy yanked it open from the outside, coming back in after the repair.  

In the one, full second that the screen door was open, both of Bailey’s dogs ran out the door.  Giselle was across the street and down the alley at light-speed, but fortunately, Bennie stood frozen on the front porch.  He too had recently escaped, but from another house he was visiting.  His adventure ended quickly, in an aggressive encounter with the neighborhood dogs. He wasn’t hurt, but the experience may have shaken him enough that he thought twice about following Giselle.  I scooped Bennie up and put him back inside while the others took off after Giselle.

Tam was so exhausted and upset that she could barely stand up. It wasn’t just the dog she was chasing. It was the trust and respect of our daughter who, against her first instincts, came home during the pandemic to spend a few days of Christmas at our house. 

Fortunately, everything worked out ok, and we all sprawled out on the kitchen floor like cross country skiers after an Olympic race.  Spent.

Giselle & Bennie at home a few weeks after their nerve-wracking Christmas adventure.

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