Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Big Silly

This is Mabel. She belongs to our older daughter and her family. When they adopted her as a year-old puppy, the shelter folks assured them that she was a "beagle mix" and wouldn't get much larger. Mabel now weighs 65 pounds.

Mabel grew into a big, sweet oaf of a dog, with one major flaw. She was a"runner." If a door opened, she'd be gone in a flash. She'd dash gleefully up and down the street, through backyards, through puddles. through neighbors' treasured flower beds. She'd ignore the word "come." Sometimes she'd let you get close enough to nab her. Then a demon would peer out through her eyes and she'd take off with a grin on her face.  She'd  come home when she was tired, after her family endured 3 or 4 anxious hours.

One time, only once, did someone succeed in getting her back within 5 minutes of an escape. An estimator came to talk to us about a new chain-link fence. We opened the door for him, forgetting that Mabel was visiting, and she was gone. "Oh, a runner!" exclaimed the man, seeing the possibility of a sale vanish along with the dash-away dog. "Can I borrow a leash?"  He took it across the street, and sat down on the lawn about 20 yards from where Mabel was eagerly sniffing the shrubbery. Then he began snapping the clasp on the leash. Mabel was curious. She approached. GOTCHA! On went the leash and home she came.  Unfortunately, that trick never worked again. 

Her favorite destination used to be the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, which was close to her house. Squeezing through a gap in the fence, Mabel would run merrily back and forth inside the refuge, while her family stood helplessly outside. When she finally came home, her muddy fur would be full of ticks and burrs. She became notorious in the neighborhood. My husband was driving around at 11 PM one Friday night, when he spotted a man out walking a miniature poodle. "Did a big white dog come through here?" he asked the man. "You mean Mabel?" the guy replied.

Several years passed. Mabel got older and plumper. She no longer seemed hell-bent on slipping out the door. A couple of walks on the leash every day were enough. When the family moved from South Laurel to North Laurel in May, they assumed her running days were over.


At twilight on a Sunday night three weeks ago, the phone rang. It was our older daughter, panicked because Mabel had dashed out the door.  She was sure her dog wouldn't be able to find her way home after dark. Her husband, at the Redskins game, was not due home until past midnight.

It was completely dark when my husband reached North Laurel. He drove our daughter around. Sometimes they got out  of the car and walked and called, but all they heard was the sound of joyful baying in the distance. Several times they nearly had her, but that inner demon once again urged her to ignore them and take off.  Finally, around 11, they gave up, exhausted. Our daughter left the gate and back door wide open in case the Prodigal returned. My worried husband drove home. 

Before midnight came a welcome call. Mabel was home!


Sharon Qualls said...

Yep, the Big Silly! These fur babies can send us in circles, haha.

PipeTobacco said...

Wonderful story!!! Pets are a blessing... at least most of the time! :)

PipeTobacco said...

I hope all is going ok with you!

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