So last night I let the dogs out for a last pee around 10pm. I was looking forward to going to bed early because I hadn’t been getting much sleep with the two puppies. The dogs were outside for less than ten minutes.
I opened the door and everyone came in as expected, except for little Zamora, a cute little fluffy black and tan mixed small dog. I wasn’t too alarmed initially because sometimes Zamora likes to hang back and trail in last, after she’s had a few more romps around the yard.
After a few minutes, I opened the door and called for her, but she was nowhere in sight. I grabbed my flashlight and went out in the yard and started poking around. This wouldn’t be too big of deal, except that my yard is .5 acre with lots of trees and shrubs, and it was pitch black and really cold!!
I called my friend Diane while I walked around seaching the yard with my flashlight and told her I was worried that Zamora hadn’t come in with the other dogs because she almost never wants to be away from Maybelle. I stood still and listened to see if she was moving around, but heard nothing.
After more than half an hour of poking around my yard with the flashlight and two other dogs, I started walking the fence line. I couldn’t believe there was any area she could get through!
I eventually wound up behind my shed and realized there was a small gap along the bottom of the chain link where the earth had eroded away and at least my boot could fit through. But could Zamora fit through?
By now I was convinced she was not anywhere in the yard, so she had to have somehow gotten out. PANIC! It was nearly an hour since I had let the dogs back in and realized she had disappeared. This is a little black dog missing in the pitch black and cold, late on a Saturday night!
I quickly jumped in the car and drove to the neighborhood behind mine so I could see if maybe she was stuck in the yard of the house behind mine. I realized as soon as I got there that they have a huge gap at the bottom of their gate, and she could have easily gotten through there and kept going…it was now 11:30pm. No!!
I drove around and around the neighborhood looking for her until just before midnight, and all the while my friend Diane had stayed on the phone with me.
Diane finally convinced me to go home and try to get some sleep so I could get up early and start searching again. I felt sick with worry, but agreed I couldn’t do anything more in the dark.
I went ahead and called the sheriffs department and reported Zamora as a lost dog just in case they got a call from someone about a found dog (they have access to the kennels at the county shelter for after hours stray dog drop-offs).
I clung to the hope that I would come home and somehow find her in the yard waiting for me, but unfortunately, she was still nowhere in sight. It was a very surreal experience. You can’t believe they could really be gone so you keep checking, but they definitely aren’t there and your heart sinks every time. Still, I went to bed and kept the light on the porch on just in case she somehow made her way back.
I finally slept for about three hours, then got up at 5am so I could make flyers. I went through my backyard in the dark again, then made a LOST DOG flyer with a picture of Zamora, and drove around in the dark hanging them on posts and at every place where you can enter or exit the neighborhoods.
My hope was that as soon as people were up and leaving home, they’d see my flyer and hopefully have seen Zamora, too. I hung flyers in my neighborhood, too, just in case she’d figured out how to get back into my yard from someone’s backyard in the other neighborhood.
By a little after 7am, at sun-up I was done. I took one more slow drive around the two neighborhoods and then went home to wait and see if someone would call.
At 7:40am I got home, and on auto-pilot I walked back to check my yard one more time. I opened the door, and what do you think? There was Zamora walking toward me with a sheepish “Am I in trouble?” look. I looked back at her in disbelief. Seriously?! Were you hiding in the yard the entire night, or did you get out and come back?
It was freaking 34 degrees outside and she’d been gone nearly ten hours! I reminded myself that I had told myself during the numerous loops I’d made around the neighborhood looking for her, that as frustrated as I was, if I found her alive I would be so grateful that I wouldn’t be mad at her.
I scooped her up and she gave me a few chilly licks. Poor little girl was cold! Brrrrrr. I have NO idea what in the hell was going through her little head when she pulled that prank, but she definitely lost her off-leash-in-the-yard rights, at least at night. I also pulled a railroad tie and three cinder blocks over and blocked the weak area at the bottom of my fence. I definitely rained on her parade!
Sigh…I got back in the car and drove around pulling down all of my flyers and walked around in a bit of a coma today, but I guess all’s well that ends well…little angel.