There And Back Again: Lexi’s Tale

Lexi broke out of our yard and went missing for approximately 18 hours.

I have never been so scared.

I shoved my emotions aside and dealt with trying to find her and bring her home, but really, I was a mess. The idea that we might never see Lexi again haunted me last night, especially because I knew she did not have a microchip. Admittedly, it wasn’t a new discovery, but it didn’t change anything. I’d suspected it for a while, but since I didn’t have it 100% confirmed, I waffled. So, at first, I held on to the hope that Lexi had her tags. My number and address were on there. Surely a neighbor would find her.

Well, they did. Something about their dog set her off though. It may have been because they were trying to remove a tick from their dog’s neck when she happened upon them during her little adventure. I’m not sure what it was about this dog or the tick or anything else that may have caused it, but regardless, Lexi reacted to something and grabbed this dog by his cheek skin. A loud fight ensued.

I heard it from inside the house. I sent my daughter out to look for the dogs, just in case.

Every other time I have heard this noise, and I do hear this noise about once a week, I have sent my daughter out, the dogs have come in and everything was fine, but this time I had a bad feeling that everything was NOT fine. My worst fears were confirmed when she found the gate had somehow come open and the light and the dark side that binds this little family together had escaped the confines of our yard. We would later learn that Lexi had to have head butted the gate until the nails in the board holding the latch popped just enough to allow the gate to open, but we didn’t bother about that then. We went out in search of our troublesome twosome immediately.

Jazz is still here, she’s still thumbing her nose at cancer, but she doesn’t DO the backyard anymore. Stairs are hard for an old gal. She’d rather not deal with them if she doesn’t have to, so she was perfectly content to hang out in the kitchen during all of this. She was never in any trouble at all. And people wonder why I tell them that old dogs are the best dogs. No really, they do.

Finding Jet was almost as easy as finding Jazz. His recall is something you can count on, like death, change and taxes kind of count on. When Manda called, he came running and planted his skinny butt right at her feet. Good boy, Jet.

Lexi, however, did not. So, I ran into the house to grab her favorite stinky dog treats and a squeaky toy.

Meanwhile, our neighbors tried to grab Lexi by her collar and bless them for realizing that sometimes, dogs scuffle. It was loud and it sounded scary, but their dog was unharmed, my dog was unharmed. Everyone was okay, but somehow, Lexi must have gotten spooked. Lexi slipped her collar on them and bolted across the street.

When I got a portion of this story from the neighbors’ kids, and I didn’t get the full story on what had happened until almost 24 hours later, the only thing I could think about was that they had Lexi’s collar in their hands and she had no ID. None at all. My heart stopped when I saw that collar that I had been thinking would be her ticket home. Lexi had no microchip. I had planned to correct that soon, but wasn’t overly worried. She never escaped the yard. Well, at least she’d never escaped the yard, before.

I spent the next three hours searching for my girl. I took Jet with me and we looked until he finally got tired. I got blisters on the bottoms of my feet from my inappropriate for hiking through suburbia shoes and then it got dark and it began to rain. I posted flyers at the grocery stores when it was too late to look for her, never knowing that Lexi had gone in the exact opposite direction from where I thought she’d gone. By midnight, Jet was finally sleeping after I’d doped him with Benadryl so that he would stop chewing holes in his feet and then I fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. It was raining last night. Lexi hates the rain. So, I think she found a dry place to bed down and napped until it passed, then started trying to find her way home. Only she ended up heading in the opposite direction instead.

While I was sleeping and failing to get any good out of it, a couple of good samaritans picked Lexi up at the side of a dangerous road. The road is curvy and isn’t well lit. It’s not a road I like to drive along in the dark. So it was lucky that these dog lovers happened along and got Lexi into their car. They took her to a friend of theirs, who took her to work with her this morning and found a posting on Craigslist with a picture that looked a lot like the dog in her custody.

She emailed me. As soon as I got her email, I called her and was able to identify Lexi and drove straight to there.

I cannot tell you the kind of joy that blooms in your heart when you find your missing dog. It was a beautiful thing, but I hope that no one else ever has to live through this nightmare. When I saw her through the shop window, I had no doubt that this was my girl. I walked in and said her name and when Lexi saw me, oh my did she wag! I bent over the gate that she was behind and put my hands under her ears and rubbed them and kissed her nose. She kissed my nose back and the look on her face was deeply apologetic and I totally forgave her for being what she is. It’s her nature. She can’t help being a dog and I wouldn’t have her any other way.

I am so glad that I put that post up on Craigslist. Of course, I posted everywhere I could think of and in fact, inasmuch as these things do, Lexi went viral. I have never seen anything like it. Everyone, everywhere pitched in however they could to help bring our girl home. I was honestly surprised that it wasn’t Facebook that led her saviors to me. Craigslist is a lot of things, but I have gotten more dogs home using Craigslist to find their owners, and in this case, I’m calling it a force for good. Lexi is back and she is safe, but she might have been home much sooner if she’d been microchipped.

Dog groomers often have microchip scanners on hand. It just so happened that the samaritans took Lexi to spend the night with a friend of theirs who is a groomer.

I cannot thank the ladies at Top Knot Groomers enough. Lexi will be their newest customer the next time she needs a nail trim or gets covered head to toe in mud. They took wonderful care of my girl. Things could have turned out very differently and I am so grateful to them for keeping her safe until we could find each other again.

The rescue that we adopted Lexi from told me that she has a guardian angel that watches over her. It has kept her safe from home to home, town to town, shelter to shelter and family to family. I was starting to believe in that and then I posted a comment on Facebook about every rainbow having to have a cloud, because my neighbors told me they were concerned that Lexi had swallowed the tick.

After I posted that comment, I stepped out onto my balcony and the sky opened up with rain, but the clouds parted and the sun came through and I saw an actual rainbow. I cannot make this stuff up, okay, maybe I could, but I’m not. So, Today. Right now. In this moment, I am completely convinced. I believe in guardian angels. Something about Lexi is incredibly special, but then, I already knew that. She is the dorkulus retrieverus, after all. Does it get any more special than that?

Lexi will be getting microchipped tomorrow. I never want to lose her again, but if I do, I want her to always be able to find her way back to me. Even if she gets lost and especially if she’s scared. I know that I would never stop looking for her, but there’s no sense in not helping both of us along in the event that this horrible thing happens again, now is there?

Thank you to everyone who helped in the search, shared her on Facebook and prayed for her. I have always believed in the power of prayer. These fine and wonderful folks have proved its power to me all over again.

Now, I’m gonna go watch my dog sleep on her back and snore because it’s absolutely about the little things.