I’m going to start this blog post with a massive caveat…do not judge. I’m sharing this story because someone out there needs to feel better about themselves this morning…and I am here to do that for you.
Let me set the stage a bit for you first. We have two dogs…Olive and Lambeau. Olive is an 8’ish pound Morkie (depending on how shaggy her hair is) and Lambeau is our 100+ pound Golden Retriever. Our new house has a walk out basement with a fenced in backyard. However, for whatever reason Olive has become incapable of going up and down stairs. She’s a quirky dog and I think this has more to do about her quirks than it does about a hip problem or something health related. Because of that, we let her out to do her business through the front door. Well last night as we were finishing dinner and heading down to our basement to play for a bit before bed, I let her out the front door.
Bedtime around here is basically a sh*t show. Putting four kids to bed all under the age of five at the exact same time is literally like herding cattle. Most nights the event requires more than one person…some nights it requires all three adults that live in the house. After said event we usually collapse on the couch and retreat to our phones, computers for some work, or for an episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (side note…fantastic show – check it out)…and last night was no exception. As we were starting our second episode last night, I noticed that Olive wasn’t sitting above Josh’s head on the couch cushion and this terrible feeling ran over me as I said to Josh “where’s Olive?” Panic set in. She was nowhere to be found. In that moment, I remembered letting her out around 6:30pm. It was now close to 9pm. Josh went to the front door, opened it…she wasn’t there and wasn’t anywhere in our front yard area. My heart sank and my mind went to the worse place possible. Living in Minnesota, it was 15 degrees at 9pm and there is plenty of wildlife around. Josh immediately put on a jacket and took Lambeau (praying his retriever instinct would kick in at some point during his life) on a search for Olive. We searched backyards, bike paths, frozen ponds, under trees, decks, etc., all through the neighborhood. I ran downstairs and asked our au pair to go look as well. I went to social media and posted on our neighborhood Facebook page, called the local police station (thanks to my mom for reminding me to do that!) and then sent a quick text message to my neighborhood mom tribe to ask them to search their yards. About 60 minutes after our search started, my neighbor texted me back saying that Olive had wandered over to their porch and was barking outside the door and because they didn’t recognize the dog, the husband called the police department and they had just come to pick her up. After a few phone calls, we found out Olive was at our local PUPS (Puppies Under Police Supervision…UGH, I’m the worst dog mom EVER!) and we could pick her up the next day.
All of this could’ve ended so much worse. I am so grateful this ending is a happy one. And the amount of guilt I feel right now is awful. Dogs are such a core part of our family. They sometimes get lost in the shuffle (as much as they try not to), but our kids love them like family, and they were the first part of our family. I had gotten Olive 2 months before Josh and I met and our 4th date was actually picking up Lambeau from the breeder. This cancer thing has affected me in many ways. My brain feels like it’s on overdrive while at the same time feeling like it is in slow motion. As I said, I am so grateful the outcome is something we can just laugh off right now. Olive got to spend a night and toddler free morning away from home. But it is another important reminder to slow down. Take a breath. Focus as best you can. And for Gods sake, make sure your dog doesn’t wander in the arctic cold!