Those who know me well know how much I care for my dogs . For all intents and purposes – Boss, Hobo and Ollie are treated as our kids by my wife and I .
And today morning all three of them disappeared – on my watch !
My dogs have a tendency to lock me out of the house . They did that today too – while I was in the backyard , Ollie knocked the latch from inside . So I went around to the front of the house and my wife let me in. In the process, I forgot to latch the gate from the yard to the street .
My wife left for her work, and my daughter went to school – and the dogs and I were in the house by ourselves. Then came the handyman to help me with some odd jobs . To let him in – I left the dogs in the backyard. About five minutes later – I went back to get them in, and they had disappeared . All three of them had gone some place – and left no trace.
In sheer panic, the handyman and I started driving around the neighborhood but we couldn’t find them. My wife came home to help me search but no result . I sent her back to office and started systematic scanning of every route we have walked the dogs before – but no luck.
I posted on twitter and Facebook that my dogs are missing – and my friends amplified it quite a bit . I also got a ton of great advice on how to find them. I ran back home and printed flyers to put up on every place I could tape one on in the neighborhood.
I advertised in Craigslist and also reported the incident to the county animal control . A volunteer of an online forum in Facebook for list pets in AZ helped me put an announcement in their page. Still no dice . I came back home dejected fearing the worst and thoroughly angry at myself .
Few minutes later , my pal Mani Sreenivasan pinged me to say he saw an online ad saying a dog was found in my zip code . I checked out the link and was shocked (in a good way) to see Ollie’s photo. He looked like he was having a good time too. I called the number on the ad – and a guy picked up immediately . And after checking details – he confirmed he has all three of the dogs
Apparently he was walking back from the bus stop seeing off his fourth grader daughter when he saw my three guys roaming the street . He took them home and let them play in his backyard and pool with his two Goldens . Apparently from 9 AM to 5 PM – while I was within an inch of having a heart attack , my three fur kids were having “the best Friday ever” playing non stop with new friends 🙂
My daughter and I went to pick up the dogs and after thanking Rich and his family as much as we could – we got the guys home. All three are tired , and Hobo seems sore from all the hard playing he must have done today. But everyone is happy now and tucked in. It will take a lot longer for me to calm down – and even longer for me to forgive myself for not being careful with the gate when I let them out
It is amazing how much social media – or in general, internet – helped me in getting my boys back. Google, Facebook, Fidofinder.com and twitter came together to connect many different people to eventually trace my guys . The irony is that the guy who found my dogs lived about 3 minutes away from our house and his kid and mine go to the same school .
There is only one villain in this story – that is me . But there are two Heros – my buddy Mani, who checked online a thousand times tirelessly till he got the link to the advertisement , and Rich and family who found and took great care of my fur kids all day. They are not just Heros – they are angels in human form. They have my eternal gratitude.
And a huge thanks to my many friends on Facebook and twitter who helped me by spreading the word, keeping me focused and finally celebrated with me when we found the guys . Many of them are physically thousands of miles away from AZ – some stayed awake through midnight to give me support. I can’t thank them all enough.
All is well that ends well – and thankfully, it did end well this time. But I will be a lot more careful in future – I don’t have it in me to face this nightmare a second time .