There was a knock at the door. I was sitting on the couch, finishing up feeding the baby. I froze. I wasn’t expecting anyone. Whoever it was, I didn’t want whatever they were selling. If I stayed quiet, maybe they would think we weren’t home.
Cue the big girls. Wren and Adi came bounding down the stairs from their bedroom where they had been getting their pajamas on, squealing and laughing.
“Who’s knocking on the door?” they asked almost in unison as they ran to the front window, threw up the shade, and attempted to catch a glimpse of the visitor. I sighed. Cover blown.
Another knock at the door, a bit louder than the last. Whoever it was, they weren’t going away.
Reluctantly, I opened the door to see our neighbor. “Are your dogs home?” She asked.
I thought for a moment. Actually, no… One of them hadn’t come in after their evening jaunt in the yard. Now I remembered Wren standing at the back door calling for Otis. I had told her to leave him alone to do his business. How long ago was that?
“I just saw him going that way,” the neighbor pointed around the bend. “Do you need help?” she asked glancing at the baby in my arms and the other two girls peeking out from behind my back.
I assured her that I could handle it as I made a mental game plan. I settled the baby onto her play mat and instructed Wren, my five year old, to keep an eye on her as I threw on my sneakers and ran out the front door.
I walked quickly, praying to see a brown blob moving in the distance. I alternated between looking ahead and glancing back at our house where I had left the kids. No dog.I decided to head back home and get the kids.
“Quick, get your shoes on,” I instructed as I ran through the door and scooped up the baby. I ran to the garage and pulled the double strolled from the trunk of my car and managed to unfold it with my free arm. I ran back to the house to get the big girls. “Where are your shoes?” I asked Adi at the same time as I noticed her footed pajamas. “It’s fine,” I barked as I pulled her outside.
Once Adi and the baby were in the stroller, Wren following on foot, we made our way back around the block. We passed our neighbor’s husband on the way. “You didn’t find him? What’s his name? I’ll go this way.” He said, pointing in the opposite direction. We headed off.
“Otis!” Wren called. “Otis! Come home!” Meanwhile, I was on my phone calling my Dad for backup. What if Otis had headed towards a main road or what if we couldn’t find him on foot? No answer. I joined in the calling, pleading for Otis to appear.
And then, out of nowhere, a furry brown Otis came bolting toward us. As I knelt with the leash to embrace him, he ran right past us and back around the bend.
“We have to run,” I said as I grabbed Wren’s hand and pushed the stroller as we all ran after Otis.
As we came around the bend in the road, our house came into view. Please just go home, I pleaded once again with the dog. Please don’t run towards the main road. Just go home.
He heard my pleas. Otis ran straight into our garage. He was safe.
We slowed our pace, walking the rest of the way back home. “He heard me,”Wren said. “He heard me calling and Otis came home. We’re so lucky we have good neighbors,” she said, a relieved smile stretching across both our faces.