That was the magic question not too long ago.
No, I’m not joking. Yes, that’s a little scary. And, yes, I know it’s kind of hard to misplace a dog as big as The Mutt and not notice.
Somehow, though, that’s exactly what happened.
The Mutt is a creature of habit. Part of his nightly routine is going outside to pee before bed (yup, just like a small child). The Huzz generally takes him out for this and the two of them return to the apartment with The Mutt already off leash. Him being off leash as he trots through the door is as much a part of his ritual as going outside in the first place. We don’t worry about him hearing or smelling something and wandering off because he’s just too tired. The Mutt’s only real goal at this point is to snuggle the crap out of the closest pillow or blanket (or both…he really wants both) that he can find.
The other day was like any other and the routine was followed like clockwork. Things didn’t start getting weird until I heard a scratch and a soft whimper while I was sitting at the computer, puttering about the interwebs. I recognized the sound, of course; this is The Mutt’s go-to for wanting to be either let in or out. His original owner had taught him to lightly scratch at the door (or at least they didn’t dissuade the behaviour) when he needed to go out so it was a familiar sound. Most of the time it’s just a desperate attention grab because he thinks he needs all of it. Most of your attention simply doesn’t cut it with this dog.
Either way, I’d figured The Huzz wanted to be left alone for once (as he’d already gone to bed and, remember, The Mutt is a Stage Five Clinger) and so had closed the door to the bedroom for some well-earned peace and quiet. I thought The Mutt would get bored and would come pester me soon enough, so I ignored it. It wasn’t a big deal. I noticed it as abnormal but didn’t think much of it.
But ten minutes later I heard it again: another soft whine accompanied by a quick scratch.
I caved and went to let the poor sap into the bedroom but, instead, found the door wide open. The Mutt was nowhere to be seen. That’s when it happened. That’s when the question was asked. “Hey, have you seen the dog?”
He thought I had the dog. I thought he had the dog. Oh no.
The apartment isn’t that big. I could hear him, for pity’s sake! Ohhhhh no.
It was a frantic, and thankfully brief, search. I found him out in the stairwell. He had somehow managed to get locked out of the apartment and neither The Huzz nor I have a clue how this happened. The Huzz remembers the dog coming back inside with him as part of their nightly ritual. Admittedly, I wasn’t paying enough attention to say (I’m blaming those pesky interwebs). All I know is I was worried sick. What if I’d not found him? What would I tell Bam-Bam? What if I’d only found a note like this?
Luckily, that wasn’t the case. And, honestly, I’m a little proud of my Stage Five Clinger! For the first time since this move, he didn’t panic when separated from us. There was no howling, no clawing at the base of the door to attempt to open it, no maniacal baying in desperation, and he didn’t end up hurting himself in his frustration. He survived! He was fine! The only damage done was he wasn’t completely roasty-toasty (it’s a staircase after all) and he’d potentially been out there twenty minutes.
He definitely gave me a bit of a dirty look when I let him in. Though, maybe it was less a dirty look and more a shameful look because he seems to have done it to himself. Either way, there were quite a few pity-snuggles thrown at him in our efforts to let him know how much he was (and still is) loved.
[All imagery links back to the source where I found it through Google Image Search with the exception of my own images.]