When we arrived home, a little after 8:00 p.m., following a birthday party, we discovered the open gate. And the missing Pugasus.
After thoroughly searching the yard by flashlight, driving a loop around the neighborhood with the high beams on (and Marcie choking back tears rather unsuccessfully), and scouring the front stoops of our neighbors on foot, we had to call it a night.
Where could Pugasus have gone? He's over 10 years old now. He has only one eye. He gets stiff in his hips. He's nearly deaf. And his "good" eye just isn't that good. He can't even make it on a walk to the end of the street. But he was, without doubt, missing.
So, this morning we set out to hang up flyers all over the neighborhood. About 20 of them. And they each sported this photo of Pugasus:
Just as we were getting ready to leave for the movies, to help their kids get their minds off the missing dog (Casey wrote Pugasus a note that read: Dear, Pugasus Please come back. Love, Casey." (Yes, the comma is in the wrong place; but I'm impressed he included the comma!)), the telephone rang.
"I know where your dog is," this sweet voice on the other end said to me. "Do you?"
"No, I don't. Did you see the signs?"
"Oh, I did," she replied. "I just wasn't sure if you'd found him yet."
"Well, I hung the signs, called the shelter, called Pug Rescue, and talked to our vet. Since he doesn't have a chip, there's just not much else I can do at this point," I explained. I admit it. I was a little defensive-- and irritated-- by the caller. Initially.
Then she explained that she'd taken him to a nearby vet. And they'd called animal control. And he was in the shelter. I thanked her for the information, and offered to come give her the reward money, which she graciously declined.
We called the vet to confirm they had not kept Pugasus over night (they hadn't). And, unable to reach the shelter people (still), we headed on up there anyway. It's about a 25 minute drive.
When we arrived, the first woman we spoke was downright mean. "There's no pug here," she began. "I was the one on call last night, and I didn't pick up any pugs."
"Well, the vet said a man picked him up."
"Well that can't be because I was the one on call," she said again.
"Well perhaps he wasn't picked up at night-- could you check the records?" I asked.
"You'll have to pay fees to get him out," she started.
"And we'll have to give him a rabies shot before we can release him."
"If you need to give him a shot, then please do."
"So you said. Please do whatever you need to do so that we can take him home."
She sort of growled some more at us, then finally went into another room and came back. "He's here," she said.
Finally another, much nicer woman, took over the case. She told us they'd put Pugasus in his own room because he was so mellow. And after we paid the boarding fees and the pick-up fees and the rabies shot fees, she went to get him.
He looked enormously fat to us, for some reason. We're guessing they over-fed him a little. But we had him.
As we were leaving, at least two other workers stopped us to tell us what a sweet dog he was, how much they loved him, and how they'd wanted to take him home for the night. (We could certainly understand that--we would have much preferred to have him in our home last night.)
We stopped and took down all our signs on the way home-- one of our friends' sons (a friend of Casey's), who'd been upset by the news of Pugasus' disappearance popped his head in the car to see the dog.
Pugasus certainly seems no worse for the wear. He's been sleeping all afternoon. That figures.