So what's the biggest fear of moving to Michigan from Texas, where there's 4 feet of snow on the ground and you have 3 dogs that need to go outside to do their business?
Or should I say, what's MY biggest fear…
losing this guy?
this one running off into the winter wonderland behind the house?
being attacked by one of these guys?
not consciously. (remember this post?)
My biggest fear--forgetting the dogs are outside.
And it happened; not to Jonesee or Sandy, but to Justin, our big old loving bear of a dog.
Our no-eyed, 98lb husky/shepherd mix.
One evening, just past dark, Niles let him outside while I was doing something else and asked me to let him back in. Yeah, yeah. Then Facebook happened, a conversation via text, and there was some watching the snow fall in the light of the back porch light. So pretty… so sparkly… sigh….
And then I remembered Justin.
I hurriedly grabbed my coat and threw on my snow boots without socks. (I almost ran outside barefoot and in my t-shirt but the vast white reminded me to at least grab a coat.) I ran out the back door into 4 feet of snow, crashing and pushing through, not thinking to follow the paths shoveled for the dogs. I began to track Justin through the snow--he had stumbled through a covered patch of brambles and continued on his journey. So did I. He had crossed two backyards and finally down a driveway to the street. It was at this point I lost his tracks and began to panic.
All of this time I had been calling his name and at this point, I vaguely remembering screaming for him. Suddenly I heard then saw Sandy crashing through the snow where I'd just been. She was so excited about the snow falling and the drifts she could plow through--the smile on her face when she reached me was entirely readable. I'm sure my panicked yelling sent her to scratch open the back door and come find me.
I paced back and forth from the place where I'd lost his tracks. Sandy and I walked to the left towards our street and tracking the snow I could see Justin hadn't been down that way. We turned around and began walking up the hill. Near the top we caught up with Justin's tracks. He'd made a left and snaked his way a little ways and somehow crossed that street and tracked back to the street we had been on. There he'd made a left and as we began walking faster I saw a movement further ahead of us. It was a dark shape, almost like a trash dumpster, but wait, it was moving… was it? Yes, it was… I yelled Justin's name over and over and sure enough, slowly, Justin made his way towards us. I almost cried for joy but my face was frozen.
He didn't seem too terribly upset about wandering around. He was happy to 'see' us and we made our way back to our house.
By this time Jonesee had joined us and I'm sure we looked quite the motley crew walking down the middle of the street, at night, during a snow storm.
I wanted to gauge how long it had taken to find Justin. It felt like hours and I was sure it was probably just an hour. Only 20 minutes had passed since I jumped up from my chair to grab my coat. 20 minutes.
And Justin isn't going to forget any time soon. When he's let out to do his business, he always makes it back to the door and stands patiently until someone sees him and lets him in. And I'm hyper vigilant anytime any dog is let out, day or night.
So I guess with this, I can say I learned a huge lesson early on. Remember the dogs outside.
Also, just another tidbit of info--did you know Michiganders have a very unique winter sport. They put fat nobby tires on their bikes, find the nearest cross-country ski trail, and ride the trails. AT NIGHT. With lights on their baseball caps.