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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Apple's Grand Day Out

You may have seen this status update from me yesterday:  

"please prayers. we can't find Apple and we're in orange. she broke out of the yard. i don't know what to do"

Which was typed while I was slumped over, sobbing on the floor in front of a police car at a Mexican kid's birthday party at a park in Orange.

Yesterday was our Goddaughter's 2nd birthday, so we packed up Apple to drop off in Heather & Dave's back yard while we were about 10 minutes away at the birthday party.  We had done this before. They've got a nice back yard with heavy doors and an enclosed screen patio where Apple can hang out and stare out at the birds and other things rather than sitting in her crate alone while we're gone.  We never would have imagined that she could escape not only the patio, but the yard as well.

We were gone for 6 hours or so at the party and we left before Heather and Dave to go pick up Apple.  Our hearts sunk into our feet when we saw there was no Apple in the patio.  The screen door had been torn open.  We ran around their back yard to try and find her if maybe she was hiding or stuck somewhere.  Nothing.  Not a peep.


I was shaking.  I walked illogically up the street to some people that were outside playing with their dog to ask if they had seen a small 9 pound dog running around.  They hadn't.  But they asked what color she was, and I couldn't describe her.  Tears just started pouring out of my eyes and all I could say was thank you.

Mike got on the phone... I don't know who he was calling and then he got in his car to drive around the neighborhood. I just started ringing people's doorbells.  I don't remember much of what I said or what they said, although I know I was sobbing and they were compassionate.  None of them had seen my dog.

I had my phone out, but we don't live in the area and I didn't know how to call Animal Control.  I think I called my brother while I asked some kids sitting in the back of a pick up truck if they had seen my dog.  They hadn't but they told me they'd help look and ask neighbors.  I started crying again.

My brother overheard and called me back.  "Have you found Apple?"

I started sobbing "No... and it's my fault.  I don't know what to do."

He and Rhonda headed over. Mike called me, "where are you?"

"I don't know." 

I turned around and walked back up the same sidewalk back to the house.  I tried to pray, but I couldn't remember how. All I could say over and over and over in my head was "please God help" which I think was good enough.   Heather & Dave were back... they saw my face and Mike standing in their lawn and instantly knew something was wrong.  Our poor Goddaughter saw my face and became distraught.  I still feel bad that a 2 year old was worried about me.  I'm the grown up here.

I said I was going to keep walking and Mike came with me.

We asked every person we passed - no one had seen a dog and most of the people who were outside had been out for hours.

I saw a park in the distance where a huge party was going on.  I got excited thinking that if Apple had got out, she would run that direction and see people and maybe the people would catch her and would have kept her for the entire day.  I spoke to as many people at that party as I could - at this point with my mascara smudged around my eyes and my lips swollen from sobbing.  One guy would translate my question to ask others at the party and I could hear others ask in Spanish, "why is she crying?" and the response "she lost her dog."  

I lost my dog.

At this point the thoughts running through my head were the worst case scenarios. Apple has a license, tags and is micro-chipped. But no one at all had seen her. I begun to believe that Apple got out shortly after we left, was injured from squeezing her way impossibly under the gate and was found by some people who thought she was cute and sweet and decided to keep her as their own pet instead of calling the name on the tag.  Or that some thugs just happened to be driving around and saw a cute little 9lb dog that would make great training bait for their Michael Vick inspired dog fighting ring and that Apple would never be found again. Horrible things. And since no one had called us in the last 6 hours this was what I started to imagine. Someone would have called if she was hit by a car or found, right?  

I had been wandering around for over an hour and I was sure I'd never see Apple again.  

There was a parked police car keeping an eye on the festivities since it was a really really really big birthday party.  Mike walked over and was talking to the police officer about Apple and gave her a description.  I wandered around in circles and eventually slumped over onto the floor behind Mike next to the police car. I lost my dog.

I couldn't think of who to call for help.  I logged onto Facebook and posted.  Maybe someone saw her and then saw my post and would be able to give me a clue.  The internet moves faster than I can walk and at the very least someone would pray for me when I couldn't keep my mind in one place do to it by myself. And they did.  Good thoughts, prayers, vibes... whatever anyone sent out our direction... prayers were heard and the universe reacted to those feelings, because not five minutes later we got a call. 

Apple had been found.

She was running around the parking lot of the Orange Mall and two teen girls had seen her and chased her until they were able to capture her and get her tag information. Their dad called us and gave us his name, number and address so we could go pick her up.

I started running.

We got back to the house told Heather and Dave and hopped in the car to drive just a little ways up the street to get her.  We called my brother and Rhonda with the news.  They were at the mall because on their way over they had asked a couple of skaters if they had seen a dog. They had, and said it was a little while ago near the mall, but no one stopped to try and grab her.  

We pulled up to the house where the girls were standing outside with Apple on a leash.  I started sobbing and  tumbled out of the car while Apple frantically pulled towards us yelping like crazy with excitement.  Mike talked to them for a while - he was the normal one.  I was the crazy lady.  We tried to offer them a reward - basically all the cash we had in our wallets - but they turned us down.  Their dad came out and shook our hands and we thanked them over and over again. 

The girls explained that they were at the mall and saw the dog running around the parking lot.  They were worried that she would get hurt so they followed her and tried to get her to come to them and stop her from trying to cross Tustin Ave.  Instead Apple, trying to avoid them, jumped into another person's car while they were loading up their stuff.  The person in the car handed Apple to the girls, scared and shaking. They brought her home and had their dad call us.   They said they spent about 20 minutes trying to get her.   They saved our dog.

We went back to the house and our Goddaughter was happy to see Apple again and to see me smiling.   Dave was ready with a glass of wine when I walked in the door.  I needed it.  Heather & Dave filled us in on what probably happened from their investigation in their yard and phone calls they made while we were out looking.  Their gardeners came - probably 20 minutes before we did.  They opened the gate, and most likely left it open while they worked.  Apple, probably frightened by the loud blowers (she's scared of the vacuum) burst through a small tear in the patio screen and right out the gate, going back home the way we drove in through an unfamiliar neighborhood. She crossed a major street, but luckily didn't make it over to Tustin Ave.

As other people passed, or ignored her, these two girls went out of their way to save our dog.  And they said did it because they knew that that if their dog had gotten loose, they hoped that someone would stop and try to do the same.  We have, and we are so thankful for those two girls choosing to do the right thing even when it might be inconvenient.  So so so so so so thankful.

I'm so thankful for good people, so grateful to be blessed with good family and friends who are ready to help and comfort us, and so relieved to have Apple back home.


  1. I'm so glad this turned out happy. Our little Melvin got out of our backyard a few months ago and luckily a neighbor of ours was walking her dog and saw him heading for Peters Canyon. I was at work when this all happened and I heard about it when I got home. Luckily Melvin was found and home by then because I would've been a "crazy lady" too. Melvin's microchipped also and apparently I missed a call from the microchip company. I'm so happy that there are good people out there that chase dogs down because they know the heartache involved when they're missing. My heart always sinks when I see those lost dog signs every once and a while. I guess in the aftermath of this, chaining a 10 lb ball to our dogs when we're away or when they're being watched by someone else seems like a very good idea.

  2. Holy shit, I just cried my eyes out reading this... I cannot even imagine...

  3. So glad that everything turned out well. There are good people in this world.

  4. Melrose - Thank goodness Melvin was found too! Oy! Peters Canyon! After we got home I told Apple she was never leaving the house again. Also, I wanted her to be less happy go lucky... I just suffered through a major emotional breakdown over the thought of losing my dog, and yet here you are, dog, barking at a beetle outside the window. How about some contemplative meditation on the trauma we both went through? Huh! Dog!

    Kristin & Jess - thank goodness for good people.


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