Once we finally got our stuff moved out of our old house and into storage, we slept for a couple hours and then got up at 5am so that we could get our UHaul returned by 7am (again, thanks for nothing UHaul). We had forgotten our cat’s food at our old house, so we took her with us that day, since we were going back to the house to gather up the remaining stuff and clean. But we left our dog with my brother, who lives in a town near our new house.
We spent the day cleaning and tying up loose ends. We cleaned out the fridge and filled three coolers with food. We stopped to say goodbye to some neighbors, and finally headed back to my brother’s house at about 6pm. We were looking forward to going to bed early, since the two hours of sleep from the night before was catching up with us. But when we arrived, we found my sister in tears and my brother looking like he had just run a marathon. Our dog had escaped from his backyard 45 minutes before we got there, and although my brother had spotted her several times, he wasn’t able to catch her.
In an instant, I realized how unimportant everything was that I had been concerned about the day before. Rental trucks, stuff in boxes, money… none of it mattered. We searched for our dog on foot until dark. Then we headed out in the car, driving slowly and calling to her until midnight. Neither of us slept much at all that night, even though we were exhausted. We think of our dog as a member of the family, and knowing she was outside, sleeping alone somewhere, made it tough to get comfortable.
We searched all day on Sunday. We posted an ad on Craigs List, had 100 color fliers made and plastered them all over town, talked with the police and animal control, and went to the humane society to fill out a report in person. It was a long, sad day, followed by another long, sad night.
We closed on our new house the next morning. We went out to do a final walk through before closing, but we did it with heavy hearts. The house had lost its luster for me. I walked through it, and saw all the same things I had seen when we first saw it, but none of them seemed as good anymore. The fridge was missing, and our realtor discovered that it hadn’t been listed as an inclusion or an exclusion on the contract (we had seen that the washer and dryer were excluded, but since the fridge wasn’t listed as an exclusion we had assumed it went with the house). Normally, that might be something that would have upset me, but it didn’t matter at all that day. Our dog was missing – who cares about a fridge?
We went to closing, and I sat down, determined to hold myself together and get through it. We made small talk with the sellers and the various people in the room, and completed our paperwork. The excitement we had felt about the house was gone, but we knew that we still needed a place to live. Just as we were finishing with the closing, our cell phone rang. My husband answered it, and I heard him say “you’ve got her?! Where are you?” and I just lost it. He took off at a sprint, headed for the car, as I explained through my tears what had happened. Before long our realtor and our lender were wiping away tears too.
Our beautiful dog was at a rest stop near the interstate, about six miles from my brother’s house. She was headed in the direction of our old house, but still had about 45 miles to go. It would have taken quite a while! She had crossed several major roads, including one that has six lanes. She was so exhausted that she could barely walk, but she wagged her little butt when my husband got to her. She was a bit beat up, with several cuts and a limp when we got her back. She recovered within a few days, and on Monday I took her for a run for the first time since we moved. She’s back to her old self, but with a few extra scars.
So June 29th was a darn good day around here. We got our new house, and we got our dog back. When we got back out to the house after closing, it had all of its original charm back, and then some. We got a new fridge, got our internet hooked up, and started doing battle with the weeds in the backyard. We’ve been moving our stuff in slowly, and setting up our life in our new town.
Whenever some little thing goes wrong these days, one of us will point out “but we’ve got our dog.” And all is good.