So, I was spending a lazy morning composing a post for you all, and delaying the inevitable cleaning up that must be done after the Weekend of Partying, when Mr. Ashley asked me where the dogs were.
Probably out front, I answered, completely unconcerned.
He looked out front, looked out back, looked in our bedroom, the bathroom...went back out front and called them again...NOWHERE.
So I run out in the yard, screaming and whistling...NOTHING.
Instant panic. Lily, the white German Shepherd NEVER leaves our yard. She also doesn't let Murphy leave our yard and he never really seems to want to. Only once have I seen him wander towards the neighbors', and Lily quickly cut him off and herded him back to the house. The two of them will spend hours lying in the shade near the bushes in the front, never to wander off or cause a problem.
So their absence was instantly alarming. Mr. Ashley jumped in the car and I shoved the kids into clothes and into a stroller and ran down the driveway towards the canal. There was no sign of them. I walked up and down our almost mile long street, yelling and whistling, before running back to the house and calling my parents.
They were also instantly panicked, knowing that this is not something our dogs would normally do, and jumped in the car to come over.
I was in the house, frantically typing up lost dog signs (only to later find out there was no ink in either printer), when Mr. Ashley pulled up, with Lily running up the drive ahead of him. He yelled that he didn't know where she came from and there was still no Murphy.
I should have been grateful to have her back, but I didn't think she would leave him unless hope was lost. She was soaking wet and exhausted. She is an accomplished leisure swimmer, but Murphy is not and fears of swimming pools or alligators overwhelmed me.
I revised my sign to only include one dog, and a handsome reward since that one dog is much easier to steal than a German Shepherd would be, and then discovered my lack of ink. I race to the garage, begin ripping open cardboard boxes, grab a kid's chubby paintbrush and red tempura paint and frantically begin creating "LOST WEINER DOG" signs on cardboard.
My dad takes the signs and a hammer and nails and sets off to notify the area that we're on Murphy Alert. As he pulls out of the driveway, the rain begins pouring down. I realized that the chances of finding one skinny, camouflaged little weiner dog puppy in acres of predator-filled woods that he is not familiar with, were slim to none. Despair pushed through the permanent Effexor fog and I became certain that we wouldn't be seeing him again, at least not any time soon.
I look out the window and see my mom soaking wet, running up the driveway, and hear the phone ring.
"Your dad found him?" I heard Mr. Ashley say through the sound of rain.
"No, he did!" he yelled. At the same time my dad's truck rolls in the driveway and I hear my mom screaming that "HE HAS HIM! HE HAS HIM!" and went out to greet a wiggly, soaking wet Murphy, who was happy to see me, but 100x happier to see Lily. He licked her from head to toe, rubbing his face against hers and licking her rear (injured) leg lovingly and repeatedly.
I guess my dad had decided that it was pointless to put up the sign in the pouring rain and pulled down the road he was on so that he could turn around, and lo and behold, there was Murphy, stuck in someone's fence, the next street over. He was thrilled to see my dad, and I'm sure the feeling was mutual.
So, the Ashley house is back intact, hearts still beating hard, dogs wet and stinky and Lily's poor hip sore as hell.
Mr. Ashley is on his way to the liquor store right now.