I went out last night, and when I came home — Raymond was missing! He wasn’t in the basement, or in his crate, or in the yard. He was gone! Owen was home, wagging his butt and licking my leg as though to say “I don’t know where he went! He’s gone!”
I’m not sure how he got out of the yard — sometimes the front gate doesn’t close properly, but it was closed when I got home. And the back gate was also latched. My hunch is it was the front gate, and then Owen somehow closed it by jumping on it looking at Ray who was on the wrong side of the gate. It was a mystery, as was Raymond’s conspicuous absence in my yard. He wasn’t there. I kept looking, but he was really not there.
So I put in a few phone calls and started walking around the neighborhood. I thought I heard him barking, but I wasn’t sure where he was or whether it was just wishful thinking on my part. It was my friend Bill, and his new dog Seamus who found Ray — he was a block away in a woman’s yard, barking. She said she found him in the middle of the street in front of the Baptist church (which is at the end of my alley) — just standing there, refusing to move, as though he knew he needed help.
Our Raymond is not the smartest dog in the world. He’s been known, for example, to try to jump in the closed back window of various vehicles in wild anticipation of a promised walk, only to splat against the window glass like one of those stuffed Garfield dolls with the suction cups and then fall into the street with a look of utter befuddlement. But my Ray did hear me calling from a block away and he kept barking until we found him. The nice neighbor said she fed him half a can of Alpo and he humped her leg all evening (bad dog!) but that he’d been a good boy and she was glad we’d found him.
I am too — I wrote an entire novel about a beloved child who suddenly disappeared. And especially after Patrick, it’s a sensation I’m all too familiar with — someone you love is here and then they’re gone. That sinking feeling in the bottom of your stomach.
So it was a great relief to wake up this morning with my goofy Raymond sprawled across the foot of the bed, hogging all the space and snoring …. as though it had all been a bad dream.