My wife and I met at a New Year’s party, so New Year’s Eve has a special meaning to us. We’ve rarely been able to get out on New Year’s Eve, though, because finding a reliable baby sitter for that night has proved impossible. But this year was going to be different: our niece Michelle was coming to stay, and she kindly offered to watch the kids. I bought tickets to a local show, and arranged a ride for the night – we were set for a good time.
But the night didn’t turn out as I’d planned.
Shortly before our ride arrived, we let our dog Gypsy into the back yard to take care of business. Gypsy was a stray who lived off the land for a couple of years before we took her in, and apparently she’d been shot at a few times – so she’s terrified of loud noises. Well, our neighbors decided to celebrate the new year a few hours early by shooting off fireworks, which freaked out Gypsy so much that she bent one of the bars to our fence then squeezed through the opening and ran off into the night. Which meant that instead of partying like teenagers, we wandered all over looking for our lost dog.
At first I wasn’t worried – I figured that since she used to be a stray, she’d find her way home when she calmed down. But the fireworks continued through the night, and we feared that she was miles away, completely lost and scared. We spent several hours looking for her, but at 2am gave up the search and hoped she’d come back once the sun came out.
We awoke a few hours later – and Gypsy hadn’t come home. At this point, my wife thought she was gone for good, and she was heartbroken about it. Gypsy is one of those dogs with a soul – she has a big heart, and despite living in the wild, she’s a very gentle creature. When our kids were babies, Gypsy would sleep outside their room, and she’d come get us whenever they cried. She made herself part of our family, and my wife loved her for it. So as bad as I felt for Gypsy, I felt worse for my wife.
At about 6:30am, my wife went around the neighborhood calling for Gypsy (which I’m sure endeared her with everyone who partied too hard the night before), and we phoned all the local animal shelters. Our best friends Kevin and Shima (thanks!) helped us plaster the area with “Lost Dog” flyers, and we continued searching all over the place. But as the day wore on, we were less hopeful about finding her, and had to trust that a kind stranger had found her and would see one of our flyers.
Shima and Michelle went around the neightborhood that afternoon handing out flyers, while I sat down with my wife and helped her put together a doll house for our daughter, hoping that the activity would get her mind off her concern for Gypsy. Then the phone rang: it was Shima and Michelle, saying that they’d found Gypsy!
She was wet and tired, and her side hurt where she’d squeezed through the fence, but otherwise she was fine. We brought her home, gave her the best meal of her life – and blogger that I am, I took her picture with Shima and Michelle so I could add it to the end of this post.
Now, of course, I’m torn between hugging Gypsy and strangling her. After I get over the relief of having her back, I’m going to sit her down and teach her how to baby sit our kids, so my wife and I can make up for our lost New Year’s celebration.