December 18, 2014

Jail Breaker

One might think we don't care about our Clementine.  We do, we really do.  We love her, but lately, she's been driving me batty.  She seems to think we abuse her and she always finds a sympathetic friend in the next neighborhood.  When we aren't paying attention she sneaks out of the backyard and tries to find her new best friends.  Normally, she's a pretty quiet, low maintenance dog, so we don't notice for a while that she's not sleeping in her usual spots on the living room couch or on her bed next to Tim's desk in his office.

A few weeks back, we were at a birthday party and I got a call from my neighbor.  While all the neighbors were raking leaves and getting their yards ready for winter, she was wandering around introducing herself to everyone.  It was below freezing and we were going to be gone until really late that night because Luke was playing hockey in between periods at the Spokane Chiefs game after the birthday party.  We wouldn't have noticed she was gone until way too late.  Thank goodness my neighbor grabbed her and knew who she belonged to.  Freezing weather and bulldogs aren't a good combo.  Plus, her sniffer absolutely does not work, so she would have never found her way home.

A few days ago, I got a call from my neighbor again.  Yes, the same  neighbor.  She probably hates us and is going to report us to the authorities for not taking care of our dog.  Then again, last night she gave us a Christmas card and homemade fudge and caramels.  Maybe there's hope for good neighbor relations.

She called me and was giggling and telling me that Clementine was in her car.  There was a lot of laughing and noise in the background.  I guess she was taking her daughter and another girl home from gymnastics and she spotted Clementine just trotting down the sidewalk.  She opened her van door to get Clementine but her dog Lexi jumped out and started running the marathon with Clementine.  Who's kidding, she's a bulldog, it was probably more like a 100 meter slow sprint.

Well, after she wrangled both dogs into her van, I imagine things got a little crazy with two girls, two VERY excited dogs and a super helpful mom inside.  You see, Clementine is in love with riding in the car and she's in love with pretty much every new person.  They are a potential new best friend.  My neighbor's daughter had never met Clementine so she was probably getting her face licked off or worse.  Our dog has a very embarrassing behavior that shows up whenever she's really happy.  She was extremely happy so I'm sure it was happening in the midst of our phone call.  Embarrassing.

It turns out, somehow, someone (me) wasn't paying attention again and she wandered out of the backyard.  I will blame the fact that we don't have side fences yet and I cannot be held responsible for waiting and watching for her to sniff around for 20 freaking minutes to find the perfect spot to take a dump.

Most likely she keeps trying to find the man who befriended her in Grand Forks.  When we were moving into that house, someone accidentally left the front door open and she wandered out.  We didn't notice because we thought she was doing her normal activity of sleeping the day away.  This man was out for a jaunt on his bicycle and saw her chatting it up with a couple walking their own dog.

He'd had bulldogs in the past so he knew they weren't the wander-around-the-neighborhood-alone kind of dogs.  He grabbed her and walked her around the neighborhood to see if anyone was looking for her.  We hadn't realized she was missing yet, so we were no where to be found.  He headed home with her and called the animal shelter.  They were closed.  He called the police station to report it but no one had called in to find their dog yet.  I told you, irresponsible pet owners.  Otherwise known as stressed out parents who are trying to move into a new house with toddlers who leave the front door open.

He told us later that he was going to let her sleep in his garage that night, but she looked so lonely that he let her sleep in his bedroom for the night.  In the morning, he didn't have any dog food so he whipped up some eggs and bacon and she ate like a queen.  After breakfast, he took her to church because bulldogs love Jesus too I guess.

Meanwhile we had been frantically searching the neighborhood all evening.  The animal shelter was closed so that was no help.  I went to bed crying, imagining Clementine shivering down by the river, wondering why all her loved ones had deserted her. At church the next morning someone mentioned that they saw a white dog running through a park all the way on the other side of town so we raced over there.  She was nowhere to be found.  We kept driving around town, yelling out the window.  "We loooooooove you Clementine.  Come hoooooooome Clementine.  CLEMENTIIIIIIIIINE!!"

Then a small voice piped up from the back seat.  Luke suggested we call the police.  Ha! We brushed that off.  Police have way more important things to do than search for a rogue bulldog.  He was quiet for a few moments but then he brought it up again.  I guess one little phone call couldn't hurt.

BINGO!  They gave us the address of the kind man who had scooped her up and we ran over there.  IT turns out he only lived a few blocks from our house.  Every few months after that he would drop by to check on Clementine.  They had bonded.  Bacon, eggs and Jesus will do that for you.

Here she is.  This is the look she gives to all the neighbors to try to convince them to take her in.  She has it so hard at our house.  We only feed her twice a day and only let her sleep on the couch for 12 hours a day.  We dare to get up at 6am when she wants to sleep until noon.  She huffs and puffs when we stay up late and she wants to go to bed.  She is appalled when we suggest she go lay down on the pillow beside our bed, by herself.  Sleeping alone?  That's abuse, I tell you.

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