This afternoon, Danny let all three dogs outside for a potty break. Olivia was out and then back inside within a minute (she doesn't mess around when it's cold). Buddha came in a few minutes later. When Danny let Buddha in, he assumed Griffin was in the corner of the yard that you can't see from the back door.
A few minutes later, he looked outside again and Griffin was not in the yard.
When he told me Grif was gone, I looked at Danny like he was crazy, and asked if he was sure that Griffin was outside. I ran through my house, looking in every room and yelling at the top of my lungs until I was reasonably sure he wasn't inside. While I was doing that, Danny was walking around the alley and the yard next door.
I put on my coat and boots and ran outside. I have always assumed that if one of my dogs went missing, I'd be a hysterical mess, but my adrenaline was pumping, my senses were heightened and didn't even notice the cold weather as I power walked around the neighborhood, determined to find my baby.
In the back yard, there are three gates. Two of them are currently unusable, as the snow is so high it is over halfway up the gate. When I looked to the other side of both of those gates, the snow was smooth and there were no tracks, so there's no way he exited the yard from those points (seriously, adrenaline turned me into a crime scene investigator and I was noticing EVERYTHING).
The gate that leads out to the alley was closed and latched, so it was unlikely that he'd gone out from that point either. There was one area of the yard where the snow was as high as the fence, but Griffin has never been able to climb out the way Buddha does, so I just couldn't fathom him escaping on his own.
Danny and I both walked around the block and up and down the alley and didn't see Griffin anywhere. At this point, he'd been gone about 10 minutes and I was beginning to panic. I've heard of dogs being kidnapped from yards and Griffin is friendly enough that he wouldn't hesitate to go to anyone who called him. I didn't think it was likely someone drove down the dead end alley, in broad daylight and lured him out of the yard (because they didn't carry a 65 pound dog), but I also didn't think it was possible that he escaped on his own. I wasn't sure what had happened, but bulldogs don't just disappear into thin air.
Griffin doesn't wander, isn't smart enough to find his way and I just couldn't imagine my poor baby boy out on his own. I started to panic about someone having him and about him crying for me. And then started worrying about him being hurt or lost or confused. If someone kidnapped my dog, I would obviously have to sell my house and move away from the neighborhood I love in the city and into the suburbs. And I would always wonder if he was okay and being snuggled as much as he needs. I would never be able to sleep well again, wondering what happened to him. And I would never again be able to let Olivia out of my sight... I was verging on a full blown meltdown.
And then, as I rounded the corner for the second time and neared the front of my house, from a distance, I saw him halfway down the block trotting towards me. He didn't look scared, injured or concerned. He didn't appear to have just escaped from kidnappers or be upset at all. He looked pretty happy and maybe even a little proud of his brave, adventurer little self.
At that point, the adrenaline whooshed away and I burst into tears as I scooped him up and rushed him into the house, relieved to have him safely home. I went and found Danny and we shook our heads together, still unsure of how he escaped, both of us still panicky from the terrifying 20 minute ordeal. We still have no idea how he got out, where he was or what happened. Danny joked that Griffin was kidnapped but had gas inside the kidnapper's car and was let free after that.
I have a feeling I will be standing outside in the cold, monitoring their trips outside for a while. I am ready for winter to be over!!