Lost Peanut

Here’s a long story. It’s a true story, and we’ll say it ended a few hours ago… or at least the CHAPTER ended a few hours ago…Anyway, here goes. Saturday (11/2/02) we needed to take a run to Sam’s Club in Racine to pick up some groceries. My dad also wanted a few things, so we thought we’d pick them up for him, and because he has a new Chihuahua puppy (“Tiny”) we thought it would be nice to have him dog-sit for awhile so Peanut and Tiny could play together while we went shopping.

I called my dad and asked if he would watch Peanut and he agreed. We left Saturday afternoon after dropping Peanut off at my dad’s and went shopping. We got the usual bulk stuff, nothing special, then stopped at Best Buy for some CD-R discs. After that we headed home. It was close to 6:00pm, so we were anxious to get my dad’s, pick up Peanut, and go home and eat. When we pulled into my dad’s driveway at 6:00pm, we found him and my brother Clayton looking around the yard. They said Peanut had just snuck out “or something”. The kids were talking at the door, with the door wide open, and they assumed he got out, because he was nowhere in the house to be found. My dad said he was crying for me ever since we left (as he always does), and was only out of sight for a minute or two when he disappeared. No one saw him sneak out though, so we really had no idea whether he was stuck somewhere in the house, outside, or running home, or just running scared outdoors!

We searched the house, the yard, and a few blocks in every direction, but nothing. After several hours of searching we gave up exhausted and went home. My dad kept watch, and went out and looked around every so often. We were home a couple hours, everyone was very upset, crying, wondering if we should be mourning, still looking, or if maybe someone had walked off with him intending to keep him as their own. We know how special Chihuahuas are. They’re rare and expensive, and if someone found a nice one like Peanut they might just decide to keep him. He had tags–His rabies tag and ID tag which included his name, address, and phone number, so we had that going for us. After a few hours sitting around thinking I told Sandy I just couldn’t sit here when he could be out there somewhere freezing to death. It was a very cold night, and had to be below freezing. I went back to my dad’s and searched the neighborhood some more. Walking and searching in the cold, hundreds of possible scenarios went through my head. The worst of which was the fact that it was much too cold out for ANY dog to survive tonight in this freezing weather, let alone a PUPPY, and a Chihuahua for that matter! I searched a few more hours, until my feet were sore and hands numb from the cold. I went home depressed again, sure that there was no way he would be found alive after tonight IF he was out there somewhere.

I didn’t sleep much Saturday night, and I don’t think Sandy did either. I tried, but kept hearing Peanut’s whining or his tags jingling once in awhile and I’d jump up, check the front and back doors, and then try to go back to bed. I had left the back gate open, just in case. They say you never know…dog’s can find their way home even when it’s miles away. My dad lives only 9 blocks down the street, but for a Chihuahua it would have to seem like miles and miles, but I still harbored a glimmer of hope.

Sunday morning I searched again and turned up nothing. We had a birthday party for Jonathon Parr (he turned 4) at my sister Penny’s house that afternoon. My dad was there, and said a couple boys said they saw Peanut in the neighborhood just before my dad left for the party. My dad searched the area 1/2 block from his house where the kids said they saw him, but he turned up nothing. This new information gave us a little more hope, but we also knew that some kids can be cruel, or mistaken, or maybe they saw a cat or a different stray, it could have been a lot of things or even nothing at all. I couldn’t just let it go yet though, so after the party we drove around the neighborhood again and turned up nothing. We spent the evening at home again with everyone upset once again. The house just seems so empty without a dog in it now. Even when we got our first dog, Jayka, Carrie mentioned when she was first over to see him that our house seemed “so different” now that we had a dog. I now know what she meant. That evening I composed a classified ad for the Lost & Found section of the Kenosha News. I called them and they took the ad and said it’d have to start in Tuesday’s paper. I e-mailed them a photo as well, to run along with the ad. We sat around at home with everyone sad and depressed again, no one ate very well since the night before, and then it was time to take Matt home. Matt and I went, and Sandy stayed home to put Kevin down for the night. It was an incredibly quiet ride, for obvious reasons. About 5 times Matt broke the silence with the same sentence: “I sure hope we find Peanut.” I said nothing in reply. I didn’t know what was best to tell him–“Yes, he’ll turn up”, or “Don’t get your hopes up”, or “I don’t know”, so I said nothing. I was thinking about a classified ad I saw in the paper when I was looking for a sample in the Lost & Found section to layout my ad similarly. The ad was in the FOR SALE section. It was a litter of 3 Chihuahuas that was for sale. $300 each. About what we had figured, having priced them on the internet before and looked at prices when we were looking for a dog before we got Peanut. I was thinking if we had another dog it’d start the healing process and at least take the kids’ minds off of losing Peanut. My dad had said he felt responsible for losing our dog, and said he’d pay for us to get a new one. After dropping Matt off and thinking it over some more I called my dad on the way home. I asked if he meant it, and he said yes. I told him it’ll cost $300. He was shocked, and said he didn’t have that kind of money. I agreed. I thought about it some more and then asked if he’d pay half. He said sure, that’s fine.

I talked it over with Sandy when I got home and she agreed, maybe it’ll help. We knew it might be too soon to replace Peanut, but thought what the best (or “worst?”) outcome might be: We might end up with TWO Chihuahuas! I called immediately about the dogs in the paper. Two of the three were already sold. We knew they would go fast, it’s rare to even SEE Chihuahuas for sale, especially Chihuahua puppies. He said they had one male left. He’s in perfect health, was checked by a vet recently, and he’s a purebred. I took the digital camera, intending to take a few photos of him and bring them back to show Sandy. When I saw him though, I fell in love and knew Sandy would too. The other two Chihuahuas were still there, but were sold. He showed those to me, just so I could see the rest of the litter, and I swear that if all three were not sold I STILL would have chosen the one that was still for sale! The other two looked completely different! They were mostly white, with brown ears and a few other brown areas, and no black at all. They also looked almost exactly alike! I assumed later, but didn’t ask, that the same person had decided to take both of them and leave the “oddball” out. The “oddball” however, as I just mentioned, was much cuter and better-looking, in my opinion, than either of the other two! I feared if I left him without making a commitment he’d be sold before I came back for him, so I figured I’d better act now. I paid the $300 and took him home.

He’s mostly black, with white paws. It looks like he has socks on! That was my first reaction, and the reason we named him “Socks!” Afterward I thought that I should have taken a few photos of the other two dogs just to show off the “whole family”, since I had my digital camera with me anyway. But then again hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and of course I never thought about it at the time, and it’s too late now. Socks was introduced to our home and family last night, and is now getting used to his surroundings, his new bed, and the family. BUT WAIT! IT GETS BETTER! We had Socks home for a couple hours when the phone rang! It was my dad. He said “Jimmy! You dog was JUST HERE!” I said “WHAT?!?” He said “He was just on my porch! I went out to get him and he ran off again, across the street between the houses, and now I can’t find him again!” I said I’d be right there, and left in a hurry. I got there in a flash, and walked across the street to look. I saw him!! He was standing in the back of a long driveway right across the street. I called to him and he froze and barked at me. He started running toward me, got fairly close, then immediately looked surprised like he didn’t know who I was (it was pretty dark out), barked some more and darted away, running under a porch. I crawled under the porch, but he wasn’t there. He must have gone out the other side of the steps, which was open. I called and called, looking around for another two hours, very frustrated. It was like he vanished into thin air! I had heard his tags, so I knew he still had them, but after he ran I heard nothing any more. He couldn’t walk without jingling them, so after hearing nothing for so long my dad and I both figured he must have a warm place to sleep and he’s already curled up for the night. Reluctantly, I gave up again and went home without him. I wasn’t feeling so good, having been outside so much the last few days in the cold in only a sweater (I know, I’m an idiot–just can’t bring myself to dig out the winter coat and face the fact that winter is here). I had a bad cold now, head’s all stuffed up, and was so frustrated I had to give up looking yet another time! I did though, and again I left the gate open for him, just in case. Very little sleep again last night, thinking, wondering, and half-dreaming both good and bad scenarios.

I called in to work, intending on staying home to rest, but it bugged the heck out of me that he’s still out there somewhere. This morning was colder than the others, and there was a thick coat of ice on all of my car windows, I could tell just looking out the window. As the sun rose I thought about the kids in my dad’s neighborhood all walking to school, and that maybe Peanut would be rustled from wherever he’s sleeping and be walking around somewhere. I hopped in the car and drove to my dad’s again. I walked the neighborhood for about an hour, covering a block in each direction and Lincoln Park, on his corner. I was about to give up and I walked back to my dad’s house. I stood on his porch, worn out again, and losing hope one more time. I stood there, looking out off the porch and just yelled “PEANUT!” and heard a rustle in the leaves. I yelled it again, and again another rustle. I looked under my dad’s wheelchair ramp, where I had heard the noise. There, behind my dad’s backyard fence was Peanut!!! He was trying to get through, but the fence surrounds the yard and only opens on the opposite side at the car gate. Excited, I went around the house in the other direction calling for Peanut. He heard me the other way and ran around the house. I sat down in the driveway. He walked halfway to the driveway and stopped again, ready to change direction and run once more. I calmed him a little by talking to him, but when I moved in the slightest he became nervous and darted back where he was, around the back of the house, and back to the dead-end on the other side. He was in the perfect spot to catch though–it was only a path about 3 feet wide with only one exit–where I was standing. I walked toward him as he tried to claw through the fence somehow. I talked nice, and after a few minutes he seemed to give up and came to me slowly, as if giving up. I picked him up and petted him, and he seemed calm, and then switched to excited and started crying and whining in excitement. I took him into my dad’s house and he went for the food and water as expected. He was very excited, I imagine to be in a warm home again, and to be with family. I couldn’t wait to bring him home! He didn’t know it yet, but he now had a new brother to live with!! He’s home now, and he’s played most of the morning with Socks, and they get along just perfectly! Peanut’s showing him “the ropes” and Socks wants to follow Peanut everywhere, just like any little brother would. Right now they’re both passed out, Peanut on an afghan on the couch, Socks in the dog bed on the floor. Peanut is recharging from surviving in the wild for 2 ice cold days, but he looks perfectly healthy nonetheless. Socks is passed out from the workout Peanut just gave him, but he’ll be up and at him again in a little while, I’m sure. It’s been quite a weekend. We want to thank all of you who prayed with us for Peanut’s safe return, and those who offered to donate to the reward fund for his return. Thanks to your prayers and efforts he’s home safe and sound, and now we also have a new family member!