Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My dear, dear doggy

Must you insist on being so brainless?

Junior Jazz was being so good today while Al the builder was here. I had to keep grumpy old lady Pep behind bars on the deck (she's always had it in for strangers, particularly tradies) but Jazz gallivanted around the backyard, being ever so good and friendly. She's winning his heart already, I'm sure, despite him being reserved about having to share his work space with two dogs. I heard him talking to her on and off during the course of the past two days, he's not fooling anyone. She'll win him over, even if Pep wants to gnaw his leg off (just in case he's planning on harming any of her family).

I worked into the afternoon, stopping only to collect the LGBB from occasional care and calling out to Al that I'd be back by 3.30. Didn't even notice that Jazz wasn't bounding up to me, so caught up was I in my hurry.

And then, just after I got home and wondered why we hadn't been greeted, I realised I hadn't seen Jazz all afternoon. The building inspector came today. We're GO for stumps (BOO-YAH!). And I think that's when they left the gate open.

She got out. I was quietly freaked when it hit me, as I thought she would be under the house. Our little Jazz can be annoying, demanding, the most "me first" dog I've ever met (they're supposed to know they're at the bottom of the household order.... not Jazz!). But one thing she's not is a strayer. She would velcro herself to me if she knew there might be a way. Forever a two year old in *that* phase, that's what she is. I knew instantly that if she'd gotten out and had hung around at the neighbour's, the only explanation for her disappearance was that she'd become distracted, probably by any number of passing members of the public and/or their dogs on leads (it's a very fluid and friendly street, this one, something I really love about this place).

So I was worried. I surprised myself at how alarmed I was. And when I phoned Steve and said she was "definitely gone, I've gone inside and called out to her and stamped in all the usual floor places in case she's under the house and can't hear me", he surprised me too by racing home.

"I'm on my way," he said. I didn't think he cared that much for her. Of course he does. She was our 'replacement baby' of the '04 Christmas/New Year period, let's not forget.

I popped the LGBB in her (grossly undersized now) pram and headed next door.

"The builder left the gate open, the dog.." I started.
"OH! I should've known it might be yours, I'm so sorry!" the neighbour said, before I could even finish. "She was here for ages, playing with me on the lawn and drinking my water bowls dry. I don't know which way she headed..."

I gave my mobile number to her asking her to phone me if she saw a brown streak racing past again. Jazz loves to run. Nay, she bounds. Lopes even. Like a horse. I began to think of all the times we've been stopped in the street, ever since she was a puppy, and told how beautiful she is. She is such a melting-moment of a dog, seriously. And I did that old bargaining thing I do so well: "If she'll just come back to us, I promise I'll walk her more, I'll pat her more, I'll... I'll try better to love her more, even when she chews my thongs and jumps on me with muddy paws. I don't care, I don't care, she's our baby girl! She's supposed to grow up with Lolly!"

I sprinted down to the corner of the street, the LGBB gleeful at the fast ride. There was no sign of her. The streets around here a busy. With a capital BIZ. Especially at peak hour. There's a 3-lane highway an easy horse-canter from here too, so my mind was trying not to go there.

Al had left just before me, telling me he'd "do the block" and I tried to play down my rising dread. I could see him reading my face and I thought I was hiding it, especially because I kept saying I was sure she's just under the house... but he looked concerned too. He couldn't remember if he'd kept the gate closed. I think we both knew he hadn't. I felt bad for him, not angry at all (uh... you just have to see the awful, awful mess he's dealing with in our backyard to know why I feel so sheepish).

When we got to the corner, a man was walking with his two little terriers. I called out and asked if he'd seen a dog (a crazy-ass, probably spit flying with joy, brown dog with a gait like a Clydesdale-Thoroughbred, I wanted to clarify). He had.

"She's up there," he motioned towards the local huge parks and sports ovals a stone's throw from where we were standing. "She looks happy, she's playing with the boys."

I was confused. My curiosity piqued and Lolly asking, "Da boyth?? That man thaid Jathy wath with the boyth?", we headed in the direction of the park. I was pushing 20kg of flat-tyred weight in front of me and my lungs were screaming like I was a smoker (never have), but I pushed through it. That bloody dog, I thought. And then, we reached the park. Oh, fark. I'd forgotten how vast it was. It wasn't quite as simple as "finding her at the park" with whoever the boys were she was apparently seen playing with.

And then, it made sense. I heard pitch hitting. I saw a crowd of cars. She was with the baseball team.

Spurred on again, I raced across to the other side of the park and then heard the bark. It was echoing around the nearby hills and bouncing off the houses. D'oh. Jazzy's calling card. We rounded the corner and there she was, sitting in the pit with "the boys". Grown men. Not entirely amused that she had apparently been racing onto the field and attempting to catch their balls. Uh, the ones they were pitching and hitting with, ladies.

So, we got her back. In one piece (I don't have the foggiest clue how). She was wide-eyed, panting like crazy and looked really quite spooked. By the time we got her into the backyard and settled her down a bit, she was back to being her lovable, annoying, kooky, beautiful self.

Al phoned me on the walk back home.

"Oh thank *bleep*" he said, relieved. "I felt like a real prick!" Spoken like a true tradie, huh. Old softy.

She's won him for sure now. Fer sher! He'll probably turn up tomorrow with a treat for her. Atta grrrl.

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