First he’s HOME! HE’S HOME!
When we arrived in Waynesville after about 13 hours of driving, we were dog-tired (pun intended).
We came in through the neighborhood where people said they had seen our dog. We rolled down the windows and while John drove, we started calling and whistling.
All the dogs in the neighborhood started howling and barking and yelping. People flipped on their lights and others who were out taking a nighttime stroll stopped to watch us.
I’m sure they thought we were halfway to the nut house.
I didn’t care. I didn’t care that it was pitch black outside, that people might have been sleeping or that perhaps we might end up violating some noise ordinance – we even passed by a policeman’s house. Hello Mr. Policeman, my dog is at large.
I kept thinking we should get on up to the house – I just had a feeling, you know?
Finally, forty-five minutes later, we pulled into the driveway at my mother-in-law’s house.
I kept telling my husband all day long as we drove through Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and finally North Carolina that we were going to find our dog – that he’d be on the front porch and come wandering from the woods after he heard our car.
In fact, I didn’t even post that he was missing for the first 24 hours because I felt – I felt – that he wasn’t really lost.
I swear it wasn’t denial. It was more like a dull knowing.
We walked into the kitchen and the mood was subdued. No sign of Hash Brown.
My sister-in-law told us everything that had happened since we last spoke. “Such and such neighbor saw him and played with him. Such and such business saw him pass by, two days ago. I posted flyers, went to the police station, and I’ll call the newspaper tomorrow.”
I couldn’t believe how much she’d done in the two days he’d gone missing. I’m forever in her debt.
We concluded that Hash Brown was on his way to Marshall – 35 miles to the north, near to where our house is.
We sipped more wine and figured out our next plan of action: hang fliers on every post in town, place an ad on Craigslist, go search the mountains near where people said they had seen him, call into the local radio show that talks about missing animals.
Then we heard something. It was a dull thunk, thunk. We didn’t know where it was coming from. I looked at John. “I’ll check the front door,” I said.
“I’ll check the basement,” John called back.
I opened the door and only saw blackness. Not a sound.
I walked back into the kitchen and started talking to my sister-in-law again. Moments later, we heard the pitter-patter of paws climbing the stairs from the basement.
We looked at each other; both of our jaws dropped.
In came John with a very happy Hash Brown.
“OH MY GOD!” we yelled. “WHERE WAS HE!?!”
John told us that he was holed up in a storage room in the basement. At first, we thought that he was coming and going as he pleased through an open window – but upon investigating, a whole other scenario became apparent.
The storage room is separated by old particle board. The door was shut tightly.
Apparently, Mr. Brown (as we affectionately call him) found a way to get in through the particle board. It acted like a one-way door:
This happened sometime Monday afternoon.
The thing is, the dog didn’t make a sound for two whole days! In fact, my sister-in-law stood only a few feet from the door as she fed her dog more than a few times!
Her dog didn’t give any indication that Hash Brown was behind the storage door, either.
Immediately, John grabbed a hammer and nails and started hammering the particle board back onto the framing.
This would not be happening again.
We went back upstairs and my mother and sister-in-law were both shaking their heads.
“That dog did not make ONE SOUND the whole time he was down there,” they cried.
We could only guess as to why. My husband and I have a few boxes down there from previous relocations of residence. We are storing a few things down there to avoid the risk of mold taking over our stuff at our own house (that is a whole other story). We think HB (our shorthand name for him) smelled our scent on the boxes. He’d been in that room a few times before with us, too.
He loves comfort. If you read the previous post, you’ll know that he loves couches and fluffy things to lay on – not the cold, hard floor.
In any case, the only time he made any noise from that room was when he heard our voices. But he still didn’t bark.
We let him outside and the poor guy peed for a full five minutes – and that is only a slight exaggeration.
I have to chuckle – he’s such a good-natured dog and tries to be good. He really does. He didn’t make one single mess down in that basement room.
I can’t imagine “holding it” for two days.
In any case, I think HB was not only glad to see us, but I think he was even more glad to get back to a more normal life of peeing and pooping as needed. Food would be good, too.
We usually take Hash Brown with us wherever we go. But since our trip to Colorado was going to be a whirlwind, busy trip, we decided that he’d be happier staying with Murphy, the other dog of the house.
Now that we know he was at my mother-in-law’s house the entire time, we just can’t believe he didn’t give any indication he was behind the brown door.
The only sign that there a canine presence was when HB shook and John heard the familiar jingle of his collar as he checked the basement. We also figured out why no one called us.
You see, our dog has Obsessive Compulsive Fetch Syndrome. He never really wanders far and when he does wander away from the house, people always call us within five minutes. He bugs our neighbors who are all, unfortunately, trained to throw stick (I’m sure they’re all very tired of it, too). When you see Hash-Mess (another name we have for him), he always has some twig – small or large – and will bark to make you throw it. We try to warn people that it’s not a good idea because he will.go.on.for.hours!
This was why we were worried, too. People always call us. There are so many good people out there who try to help us out. I’m also sure they want to get him off their hands once they realize he’s like the Energizer Bunny and will play and play and play and play and then flop – but only for a few minutes until he regains his energy.
We love him, though, even if he has a one-track fetch-that-stick mind.
Of course, now we can resume the more affectionate-but-annoyed nicknames we have for him. One of them is Ass-Brown. I called him that once or twice since we found him already.
Thank you to all the wonderful people who shared his photo and for looking out for him. Apparently he has a twin out there somewhere because a few people called to let us know they’d seen him. But, we are so thankful for the outpouring of love. Our four-legged kid is home.