Sometimes it’s not the end of the world, after all.
Perhaps you remember Belle from the Birthday Cake post (here)? She is our bull-in-a-china-closet, adorable and adored Pyredoodle.
One night a few days ago she pushed her way under our back yard fence and started running around the neighborhood. It’s happened repeatedly, despite our best blockades. We have learned that chasing her is counter-productive. She sees us or hears us call, gives us a taunting glance then takes off for a new hiding spot. So this night we left the front door open and waited, busying ourselves with work we could do near the entryway.
It wasn’t 5 minutes after she almost came inside and took off again when we heard her get hit by a car.
Yelp, yelp, yelp!!!!!!
Aaron and I ran outside to see her take off behind our neighbor’s house and into the dark river-wood.
The poor driver never saw her coming. He felt horrible. I wish we could get ahold of him and let him know the rest of the story.
It was clear that we wouldn’t find her in the night woods so we headed home and lay wet-wide-eyed in bed. Aaron was sure she ran off to die. He thought through all of the should-have’s then fell asleep. Through a steady stream of sobs and tears, I thought through all of the could-be’s and eventually had a restless nap before morning.
What if a fox finds her?
The kids will be devastated when I tell them tomorrow morning.
I haven’t introduced her to my niece who is longing to meet her.
What if it were one of our kids?
What if it were a friend’s child?
Would I ever recover? I’m sure I would not…
The big black hole of catastrophising sucked me in and swirled me around. I subconsciously gave into it as a sort of punishment for letting something bad happen to my family. I needed to feel bad.
I told the kids what happened when they woke up. One child ran off in great sobs, the other sat on my lap with quiet tears, hoping she would come home. But after the initial moments of sadness, they became energized with hope that Belle would return home if they just
…put out a trail of bread
…call her name
…take the flashlights into the backyard and look outside the gate.
They spent about an hour coming up with ways to lure her home.
I kept crying when they weren’t looking.
Poor, naïve children. They don’t realize how horrid this situation could be.
They stuffed a bag with “dog snacks” for me to carry with me on my journey into the woods to search for Belle. I took them to school, then headed out on what I was sure would be a long, sad journey. I got as far as the back gate when Belle barked at me from the other side of the fence – at her escape spot. I’m convinced she would have run away again if I didn’t have the kids’ snack pack. Miraculously, she suffered only a broken leg and a couple of flesh wounds. She asked me to carry her (yes, she asked) so I heaved her up and forward a few feet at a time until we made it to the house and eventually to her sweet veterinarian, my friend Amanda.
You can imagine our relief.
Well, their relief. For the next few days I remained on edge. Fragile. Anxious. The black hole spit me out, but I was still dizzy.
Because I forgot.
I forgot that I don’t have to punish myself. I forgot that many things can’t be explained or prevented. I forgot that sometimes little naïve children know the way of Love better than their wise and learned mother.
And sometimes it’s not the end of the world, after all.