Jen and I were on deadline Thursday night and so the subject of dinner came up and smacked us in the back of the head at 6PM, as it often does these days. We punted and got some grilled cheese from the eponymous shop down the street and devoured it in the living room, spending some time together as a family. We like this restaurant because it’s tasty and because their sandwiches can be split into two meals. Hazel figured some of it was for her because while we were eating she snuck into the kitchen and pulled the other half of Jen’s sandwich down from the counter for her dinner.
This is not the first time she’s gotten up on the counter. The last time Karean came to visit Hazel ate about six muffins before I could stop her; it’s a miracle she didn’t go into a diabetic coma. She’s getting worse about it, too—but I’d be desperate for good food if I was restricted to the weird non-allergenic shit we are forced to feed her.
Even so, it made me mad, so I dragged her right out of the kitchen and put her on her lead outside while we finished our meal. She knew she was in deep shit because she was nervously licking her lips as I hooked her on the lead, but I needed to leave her outside for a while. I put the Scout in the garage about an hour later and she came up to me nervously as I locked the garage; I told her I wasn’t going to deal with her right then and went back in the front door.
Getting ready for bed about an hour later I went out to bring her back inside, but heard nothing as I stood on the back porch—usually she’ll come bounding up when someone steps outside. With a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, I picked up her lead and pulled it all the way in until I was holding the clip, still attached to the empty D-ring from her tac harness, with her tag jingling at the end. Oh, shit.
I walked up to Jen holding the tag and gave her the good news; we went back down and half-heartedly paced the sidewalk in front of the house, feeling pretty helpless. I was about to hit the local Nextdoor social feed with a picture and a plea for help when the front doorbell rang; a nice man Jen knows through school had a sheepish Hazel on a leash outside. Apparently she wandered over to the house where her evening barking buddy lives and the folks there were able to grab her. Because the D-ring still had her tag attached, there was no way to know who she belonged to. But somehow through the neighborhood grapevine they connected her with us, and she made her way home.
She made her way upstairs and curled up on the bed, presumably happy to be home with her pack. I felt horrible while she was missing, knowing that the last two times I’d seen her I was mad at her. Thankfully she was smart enough not to follow her nose to West Virginia, but I half wonder if she’d be able to find her way home when left to her own devices. Either way, it’s good to have her snoring on the bed next to me.