If you’ve read any of Aussa’s posts about the happenings at her previous job, you know that the mental and behavioral health field yields a multitude of stories worth sharing. There are mothers who claim their child is the next Jeffrey Dahmer, kids who swallow screws, and all sorts of fun. So there is a kiddo on my case load who is borderline “normal.” When I do home visits we basically hang out and play racing games, race cars, play catch, etc.
And then I lost his dog.
This kiddo’s home has 4 cats and 2 dogs living in it and it’s not clean to MY standards, but it’s not dirty. The day I got there, we went in and out of the house a lot – we went outside to race cars and then came back in, we went outside to play catch and came back in. On our way outside, I said goodbye to all the animals:
Bye Cat! Bye Cat! Bye Cat! Bye Cat! Bye Dog! Bye… wait, where’s your other dog?
We did a search of the house. No dog. We did a search of the yard. No dog. We did a visual search around the front yard and street near the house. No dog. Mind you, this is a big-ish dog. Imagine a chow and a lab combined, but a little smaller…
So…not really an easy dog to lose. Kiddo didn’t seem too concerned though, claiming that the dog often jumps the 8 foot fence (I’m calling 100% bullshit on that) and runs after cats and then comes home when he’s bored and will sit outside the front door until someone lets him in. Kiddo was so calm, that I was…slightly…less…freaking out. You all know I was freaking out. I allowed a kiddo’s dog to go missing!
Yet, here’s this kid, all “let’s go play catch!” So we go. And we’re playing catch, and I’m impressing myself again with my ability to catch a softball every. damn. time. A few minutes goes by and the kiddo says “hold on” and runs home and runs back. I figure out that he was checking if his dog came home yet, and when he didn’t I asked if he wanted to go find his dog and we head back to the house. After checking the house and the yard again, I grab my keys, unlock the car, shout “just get in the car” and we go looking for a lost dog. Mind you, this dog ran out sometime in the last 30 minutes…and we’re near a main road, so basically I was a mess but trying to hide it as well as I could.
After driving around this kids entire neighborhood at 5 mph, windows down, shaking a container of treats and calling out the dogs name, I start to worry that the dog went across the main street and we were…for lack of a better term… fucked. Then a lightbulb goes off…for the kid. Not me. I’m a closeted mess. The dog might have ran to the canal and is playing in there with the water and wildlife. So we drive over to the canal near the house and hope out. Kiddo hops the fence to get into the canal area, and I walk the perimeter on the other side of the fence…when we see a group of dogs running back and forth about a quarter mile away from us.
I call the dog’s name and one stops and stares at me.
And then he bolts.
And so does the kiddo.
And so do I.
We catch up to the dog, the kiddo grabs him by the collar, then picks him up, hands him over the fence to me, and then hops back over to lead the dog (as a group) back to my car.
Success! We had located and gotten the dog back in the house before my home visit was scheduled to be over.
But then I thought, I wonder what this was like for the dog.
Imagine you’re this dog… and you finally got the opportunity to FINALLY get out of the house and hang out without having to tell your humans where you’re going. And you meet up with your friends in your little dog gang. And you are running around terrorizing cats and creating mischief (I assume.) And then two humans come and outrun you, pick your ass up, and drag you back home. I mean, talk about being embarrassed in front of your friends… we totally ruined that dog’s street cred.