Ok, so Kya went back to preschool today after being out for almost a month. I rushed around the house getting the kids ready this morning, getting dishes done, fixing lunch for Kya and filling cups, snack bags and bottles. I finished the final stitches on a diaper bag I had to deliver, and as I finally buckled Wyatt into his carseat, Jake, our beloved Border Collie, jumped into the van with us. It is not uncommon for him to do this and it doesn't bother me to have him travel with us, so I didn't think much of it.
We drove to preschool, a lovely lady's house just a mile or so up the road and around a few corners. I opened one of the van sliding doors and unbuckled Kya, all the while trying to calm Wyatt, who was beside himself, whining about getting out and going with Kya (who he calls, "Deddy"--who knows why.) "Deeeeeedddddy!!!! OOOOOOuuuuut!!! Me!!! Me!!!!" All the while he was flailing and kicking his little legs.
As I unbuckled Kya, I vaguely remember scooting Jake out of the way to get her out, but only very vaguely. After all, Wyatt's special almost-two-year-old whining symphony was blaring in my ears. Caden slept peacefully through all this thank God!
Usually I walk Kya up the long walkway to the door, but today I just stood by the front of the van and watched as my little girl marched proudly to the door and thanked her preschool teacher for the kind get well cards before being ushered in. Thoughts of time passing and children and motherhood filled my mind as I backed out of the drive.
Off we drove to deliver the diaper bag. Wyatt now wanted to get out and go to this house too! "Oooouuuut!!!! Meeee!" Oh geez, here we go again. We went home after that and Wyatt fell asleep promptly, his symphony having apparently exhausted him as much as me. I sewed and cleaned, and talked on the phone. Rossie came by and we talked about sewing. Caden slept peacefully in his carseat for two hours. Fed Ex brought a package of radial arm saw replacement parts (don't ask.)
We picked Kya up from preschool and went home around 12:30. I moved a chair into the sunshine to nurse Caden in the backyard while Kya and Wyatt played. Then the doorbell rang. It was Fed Ex again. Something wasn't right--never mind the fact that we NEVER get Fed Ex deliveries, much less two in one day, but something was amiss--no barking. THERE WAS NO BARKING! Where was Jake? My mind raced. I thought back to the morning and when I had last seen my collarless, tagless dog (before you judge me, the jingle jangle of his tags and collar had annoyed us so much at night that we removed it years ago and since he never runs away, it never seemed necessary). And then my mind jumped to the conversation I overheard from the other moms at preschool pick up time about animal control picking up "that dog."
COULD IT BE?????
Tears burned in my eyes. My heart raced. Had I let Jake out of the van at preschool this morning without knowing? I called the preschool teacher, no answer. Called again...no answer. Eight times later, I got a call back from the teacher's daughter assuring me her mom would be home soon and return my call. Meanwhile, I called my hubby in tears screaming, "I lost Jake!!!!!! I lost him! I have to go look for him!" He reassured me, apparently sensing my guilt, fear, and complete irrationality.
"Get in the car kids! No, I don't care if you have shoes! GET IN THE CAR--our dog is lost!" Panic registered on their little faces and they hustled to their seats in a manner to which I am not accustomed. But I did not praise them sufficiently for their obedience because I was the dog loser!!!! and could think of nothing else.
Moments later, a call came to my cell phone as I drove through the neighborhood. It was the preschool teacher. Our dog had apparently jumped into another mommy's van and refused to get out. Without tags, there was no way to identify him so they had called animal control--he sat in there for almost an hour until animal control carted him off to jail. I was assured Jake was the picture of politeness (all but his refusal to leave the van). Jake just wanted to come home I explained.
"KYA, why didn't you tell the ladies that was our dog?!" I asked. "Well mommy, it looked like our dog, but I just thought Jake was at home." I guess that's fair.
OK, so off to animal control headquarters I went with three small children, two of whom had no shoes. Oh, and this was neat--I gave my driver's license to my husband this morning to copy at school so I could send in my seller's permit application--surely I wouldn't need it TODAY!
I arrived at animal control after the deadliest U-turn experience of my life outside the surprisingly busy Bakersfield Adult School. "What's my plan?" I asked myself. I will carry Wyatt, Kya can wear her too small boots from the giveaway bag and I will carry my wallet and keys, and I will carry Caden in his seat with my other arm. Surely the people will see my plight, my mascara stained cheeks, and take pity on me. I entered through the door marked "pull" (I only note this because pulling open a door with a load of children is hard work--if you EVER see a mom in this predicament, give her a hand will ya????.)
Anyway, the lady asked me if she could help us. I sobbed in reply, "We're looking for our dog." She said nonchalantly, "Go walk through the FOUR buildings of dogs and see if you can find him...." "Uhh, I have a four month old, a one year old with no shoes...and..." She apologizes (sort of) but tells me she has no records of what dogs are out there. So, carrying my entire family minus the dog, is the only option. We trudge through the aisles of dogs. Pit bull, pit bull, mutt, pit bull mix, pit bull....small runty dogs,...JAKE! Wait, is that you Jake?
He was wet, and dirty and totally bewildered by the small frantic mutts and piles of poo at his feet. But, yes, I finally determined it was him! Glory!!!!!
Back to the office I went with children in tow. "We found him!" I declared to all who cared (or didn't care) to know. The office lady asked me for my paperwork. Paperwork? Apparently Jake had some sort of paperwork on his doggy jail cell that I neglected to acquire. Back out to the doggy jail buildings we ALL went. Jake was now barking loudly in frustration--"Just take me with you please!!!" he seemed to plead.
We paid our fines, but the office lady needed a picture I.D. After more panic, more excuses, more tears, the lady accepted my Costco card with the black and white picture of me nine months pregnant and a verbal recitation of my Driver's License number. Thank you animal control lady!!!!
While I wait, the man at the front who has brought in a stray cat says, "While I have been waiting, the cat gnawed her way out of the box and ran away. So, never mind." AND HE LEAVES! Seriously?
Now I'm worried this is gonna take a while. The lady radios to somebody that the border collie in "A as in apple" ten should be released and brought to the front. Minutes pass...she tells me to go ahead and go to the van and wait. (By this time, Wyatt has attempted to destroy the credit card machine, written on her counter, and is sprawled on his tummy (no shoes and spaghetti sauce all over his hair and shirt) doing some sort of lizard slither on her counter (I couldn't put him on the gross doggy floor with no shoes!!!). Caden was squawking his displeasure at continuous confinement, and Kya was singing her own version of Beyonce's, "Put a ring on it." "We are usually so much more....together!" I wanted to scream. But no one really seemed to care about any of the madness. Just another day at animal control headquarters I guess.
Out to the van we went...After about three minutes, out came Jake, who jumped into the van without so much as a nod to me, the dog loser. He curled up at the kids' feet looking annoyed, but glad to be back with his crazy family again; and though he smelled like feet and sewer, he was ours, and we hugged him. I'm glad car wash day is tomorrow.
The kids were promptly dumped into the tub upon arrival home and Jake's new $76 hardware is now securely attached to his jingle jangly collar.
We missed you Jake! (once we realized you were missing.) Welcome home!