The house was blissfully quiet aside from the gentle hum of the air conditioner. I peeked outside to check on Coco, the dog.
Minutes earlier, she was dozing on the front porch, her black head resting on her paws. Now, there was a brown magnolia leaf, a desiccated spider, and a pile of sand (a hallmark of the boys) but definitely and absolutely no dog.
She wasn’t around the back or in the grass, hiding behind a tree or romping in the woods. I called and whistled and shouted, all with a growing dread in the pit of my stomach.
It was still nap time. I couldn’t leave and I didn’t want to wake up the boys early. So I waited and paced around the house, checking the front door and then the back porch.
I ticked off the list of things we would need to do if she didn’t reappear within the next few hours: create a flyer, make copies, post flyer and wait.
“Boys, we have to find Coco,” I explained when they woke up. “She ran away, again.”
They took matters into their own small hands, went outside and began shouting in squeaky voices for their beloved dog to return. Pleas that went unanswered.
Little Legs held his pointer finger up in the air, Einstein style, and said, “I have an idea.”
“I’m listening,” I said with the keys in my hand.
“We should get in the car to look for Coco,” he said.
“Great idea! Let’s do it, guys.”
We were off on a Coco rescue mission to the tune of Mission Impossible, with a fully rested squad and three quarters of a tank of gas, we were set.
After driving up and down side-streets for an hour, yelling out the windows, we had to call it and accept that we might not find her.
“Coco’s gone,” Little Legs told his brother.
Baby Brother said, “Car go, Coco,” unwilling to end the search.
“Who wants cartoons and a snack?” I asked and was answered with unanimous support.
It took Daddy Longlegs, after a long day at work solving other people’s problems, to say, “Did you check on the nextdoor app?”
And there she was, in all her floppy eared, tongue hanging-out glory, never lost at all, just passing time in a neighbor’s garage, eating milkbones (which later would wreck havoc on her GI system).
The post said, “Here until the owner claims her.”
In spite of every trash bag and diaper ripped open, toy destroyed, mud tracked in the house, she is a good dog. She guards the yard from nothing and steals the boys’ snacks, through it all, she is ours, home and officially reclaimed.