Sunday, July 3, 2011

Don’t it always seem to go... that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone…

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  Really, it kind of was.  Before we left Kansas, Steve decided that we needed to pull our slides in & see what would happen if we stayed for an overnight at a place like Walmart where etiquette dictates you don’t put your slides out or stabilizers down.  Considering that the girls’ room consists of two slides, one on each side, and it is inaccessible from the inside of the rv with the slides in, we wanted to see if they could get in through the second entrance and make it work in a pinch if needed.  There was a lot of hasty preparation for departure (still working on smoothing out the whole process of moving).  Steve hadn’t considered the fact that it had stormed pretty heavily on our first night, and since we were level and he pulled the slides in before hitching, water had pooled on top of the slide.  When he hitched, the rv was no longer level, and all of the water that collected on top of the slides poured off onto the carpet inside.  Niiice…  We blotted it up with a towel and poured baking soda on it to help absorb the moisture, and we were off…Minnesota-bound.  We had a big day of driving, but Steve handled it well, and the kids really did well, too.  We arrived at my oldest sister’s place just before dark, right as Minnesota Mosquito Madness was peaking.  Boy, they are vicious!!
Upon arrival, much visiting & fun ensued!  And mounds & mounds of laundry, too!  Nonetheless, we have had an absolute blast together!  It has been so great to not be in such a big rush to visit with all of my siblings and their families that live around here, so much fun to see my kids get a chance to bond with all of their cousins from around here!  And Belle had a blast, too…she had so much fun pal-ing around with her brother (yes, she’s fixed) and making new doggie friends.  She played, and played, and played!  And got jealous when she saw us petting or holding cats. 
So here we are at my sister’s lake house for the fourth of July weekend, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather!  Warm & sunny during the day & cool at night.  All of my siblings that live in MN were able to come, and it has been just one big party, until last night.  After a full day of fun by all, there was an impromptu fireworks run and show.  The dogs were all inside, thoroughly whooped by their full day of frolicking with each other.  As the fireworks were going off, I kept thinking that Belle would be terrified by the noise, and asked several times if anyone knew where she was because I was nursing Jake.  The consensus was that she was sleeping in one of the bedrooms in the house.  I should mention that with all of us together there are 8 adults, 15 children, and 4 dogs…a whole lotta people, and unfortunately, there was a lot of traffic in and out of the house...and Belle is a 12-13 lb rat terrier, quite small.  Bottom line is that when they were done, we couldn’t find her.  She had clearly bolted at some point during the fireworks.  Even though we mobilized well and quickly, on foot, in Tim’s golf cart, and even by vehicle, calling & calling & calling for her & looking for her, we couldn’t find her.  We had no real option but to go to bed and assume that she had probably run until she found a place she deemed safe to hunker down for the night.   We slept with all fans off, so we could hear her, and left our windows and doors open, so we could hear her come home when she determined it was safe.  But…as soon as my popped open this morning, I realized she had not come home over night, and I had a sick feeling in my gut. 
This is the last photo we have of Belle

It’s been a full 24 hours since we saw her last, and we have searched, and searched, and searched.  Family has been awesome; they have devoted hours of their weekend of fun to help us look for her.   We have talked to every neighbor around here; everyone saw her yesterday but no one today.  And did I mention that her I.D. tags just fell off recently & we hadn’t replaced them yet??  Talk about feeling like irresponsible owners…can’t help thinking about how scared she must have been last night and how terrified she feels now that she can’t find her way back to us.  Rat terriers are super loyal; I can’t think that she is purposely staying away.  She must be lost…or dead.  Steve & I went out looking for her together at one point today, and we prayed together that God would lead her back to us but ultimately, we put it in His hands.  We both felt more peaceful afterwards.  It doesn’t look good, for sure, but it is still possible she could come back, and if she does it will be nothing short of a miracle.  And we will be grateful…  I did realize though that my tendency is to hand something over to God and then realize later that I have subconsciously decided that because I’ve given it to Him, He will reward me by giving me what I wanted in the first place.  Ummm…it really doesn’t work that way.  The situation is in His control, and should He bring our dog back to us, we will give Him all the glory, we will be much wiser dog owners, and she will be all the more cherished because of what we almost lost.  But, there are no guarantees here, except that God is good, all the time, regardless of what my circumstances look like, regardless of the outcome of this trial.  And I’m happy to say that in handing it over to Him, we all managed to choose to find some joy & happiness in this otherwise perfect day today, in spite of the fact that we’re aching a little inside for our loss of a member of our family, our fiercely loyal companion, our little guardian watchdog.   Still hoping…

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