Thursday night I picked up Hailey, my second foster, freed from her death sentence by Half-Way Home Animal Rescue in Orland Park IL. They were worried that Riley, the basset hound mix that I was supposed to be getting that morning, would become anxious and hyper-stressed for the 8-10 hours a day he’d be alone while I worked.
So Riley went to a foster family with another dog for company.
Hailey was a last minute addition, and I agreed to both foster and sponsor her. She’s a tiny 12-lbs, cute-faced, silky-haired spaniel mix (now thought to be a dachshund mix). And when I picked her up Thursday, indeed, she was/is a cutie patootie.
I talked to Hailey all the way home, petting her from time to time. Hailey seemed at ease, napping peacefully on the ride home.
Sure she acted a bit reactive when I picked her up to get her from car to house. Okay, she absolutely freaked out at being outside to potty. Sure, Brittany did have to pull her reluctant (but non -shaking) body out of the kennel crate for the hand-off while telling me that Hailey was scared.
Of course, Hailey would be a bit scared out of her wits.
On foreign soil. Moving but stuck in yet another enclosure, surrounded by new strangers–some cats, some dogs, a human or two.
One day, you got a home. Maybe not the best place or the kindest humans, but familiar.
Then poof. Life upturned.
” WTF did I do to deserve this crap.”
Enduring a very long a** van ride from West Virginia. Surely a ride that must have felt like being kidnapped and wearing a blindfold (Can’ t see a da*n thing). Light turning to dark. Dark shadows. Then hands grabbing you and pulling you. Where now for god’s sake. Oh frack, thrust into the arms of another unknown human. Blurry shape: Oh heck, the one that’s taking me from the other human is ginormous. And she’s talking gibberish (though she knows my name). What accent is that? People don’t sound like that where I come from!!
H*LL. I’d be tired, confused, and scared as all get-out, too.
Where is an invisibility cloaking device when you need one?
Did I pack a ninja suit for disappearing into the darkness?
When Hailey jumped up on the bed, after the unsuccessful potty stop outside, I was encouraged. I praised her. Lavishly. Okay maybe overdoing it some. But she looked at me as if to say, Yeah I’m a beast. I got this.
We settle into bed (I decided to let her sleep there as a reward for her trials and tribunals). She lays (if not nestles) into my arm.
She falls immediately into sleep.
When I awake for my own 4am potty break, I stroke her fur and tell her we have to go back to sleep.
After which something goes terribly wrong.
Around 5 am I hear a thud and immediately wake up. Lift my ostrich pillow off my eyes. Pat the space next to me. No Hailey.
I call her name. No Hailey.
I get up and start searching room to room. It’s a very compact living space–an open concept or studio type design (though both the bedroom and bathroom are individual rooms).
I’m calling LOUDLY. Now SCREECHING.
No Hailey. NO WHERE.
I am thinking. OMFG@#%$@! this dog has disappeared into the night (okay early morning). Poof.
Disappeared into the proverbial thin air. While I friggin slept.
I panic. Sure, it’s barely 7 am where my daughter lives…and she often sleeps in. But this is an emergency. [Besides, she’s used to her crazy a** mother calling, panicky high voice about the latest thing to have me spooked.]
Daughter theorizes that Hailey must have gotten out of the house. Because I mention to her that the back door was unlocked all night. I thought it shut tight. But after going up and down the backyard, searching the landscape, birds in morning song, I come back in and notice that the door can get caught, not closing all the way. Egads.
Oh NO, I scream into the phone. Hailey, my new foster dog, a dog I have had less than 24 hours musta gotten out. Maybe the door was open a bit after all and she broke free.
Yeah, it sounds crazy now.
The dog is all of 12 lbs. Most of it hair. And the doors are very, very, heavy.
But you get crazy thoughts when you’re in high alert, panic mode. All you know is that when you went to sleep, there was a dog right next to you. You remember petting her throughout the night for reassurance.
But now, there is no dog.
Hailey is invisible. Cloaked from human eyes. OR, a ninja.
At my wits end, I think that I’m going to have to call my rescue and fess up. I know it sounds crazy, but Hailey went missing while I was asleep. I checked my closet. The bottom kitchen cabinet to see if she jumped aboard the lazy Susan.
For a thrill ride, of course.
My daughter asks me if I am sure she is NOT under the bed. No. Well. She can’t be. Hailey is as tall as Candy was, Candy, my spirited, very smart, first foster dog, who never once tried to go under that bed. And I figured could not get under there in a million and one years. The clearance space under my bed frame is small. Maybe a chinchilla could make it, but not a dachshund-spaniel mix dog. Besides that was the first place I checked.
My daughter suggests that I turn on the flashlight app on my phone and look again. So I do it. I so am dreading calling the shelter to tell them I lost their dog.
I think I see some movement this time.
Now, two eyes peering back at me.
Oh frack, she was under the bed the entire 1 hour plus time I was looking for her. Screeching. Near tears. Frantically calling “Hailey.”
Hailey must have made like a chinchilla to get under there.
And there she has been since early Friday morning.
The only evidence that she has living form is the empty bowl of food. And the left-behind evidence that the dog needed to go out. Not on the ga-zillon potty pads that dotted the house. NO! Hailey jumped the makeshift barricade I created to cordon off the living room to deposit a trail of poop on the carpet and a bit of pee (yeah, TMI) near the front door.
Hailey, my new foster. Obviously a master at invisibility. A ninja.
Which is why I have ZERO pictures of her, excepting the one below that the rescue sent me in hopes I would take her in lieu of Riley (or the border collie, Shadow, which I hesitated over).
It’s Saturday early evening. I haven’t seen Hailey not once. Okay I thought I saw a Hailey blur. Venturing out but scrambling back to her safe house upon spying me. She’s a stealth artist too. The bits of chicken breast I put out to lure her out are gone. Didn’t see her. Didn’t hear her. My best guess being that she went swoosh, roll, and land (like a ninja) while I was in the living room on the phone.
How did she know when to make her move?