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  • Writer's pictureTina

Sometimes The Blog Just Writes Itself

Lately, I feel like I am struggling to find relevant material for the blog. Things have been quiet here at the farm, blissfully, uneventfully quiet. Our barnyard family is healthy; everyone is doing well despite a bit of stubborn hoof rot, which is easily treated with diligence. The Bibbed Wonder and I have settled into a quiet rhythm of making soap, listening to his terrible music, eating quiet lunches together, caring for The Bean, and working into the evenings. We are well prepared for the upcoming market season. Our new fundraising endeavor is going well, and we feel confident about our preparedness for the year. That peaceful lull was cracked wide open by one senior pitbull with an affinity for patrolling the property, which in his mind includes Tonkin Road. The Bibbed Wonder humorously stated, “sometimes the blog just writes itself.”

Monday, we attended the funeral of our beloved neighbor. Our day was busy with funeral arrangements, paying our respects, and giving our condolences to his family. Chubby, our twelve-year-old pitbull, went out at 10:00 a.m. for his morning routine. Chubby often ventures into the fields, runs the property and ensures no interlopers or security breaches like a rogue opossum or raccoon. This day was like any other, Chubby goes out at his leisure, returns at his leisure, and we think nothing of him being out of sight for an hour or so. When Chubby went outside for his morning tour, we assumed he would return before we left for the funeral. However, he did not return. Rather than worry, we figured he was out enjoying the unseasonably warm day and left The Bean with instructions to listen for him and let him in when he came barking at the door.

We came home a few hours later and discovered Chubby had not returned from his morning outing. We called him, but he did not come, which is typical Chubby behavior. Chubby is a black brindle and blends perfectly with the night. It is annoyingly customary for him to sit just outside the pool of light when outside in the evening and watch us call to him, try to bribe him with treats, and completely ignore us and our pleas for him to come inside. He’s a bit of a brat. I was surprised he had not returned while we were away, but I wasn’t concerned. However, as the day progressed and he still did not return, I began to worry. My worry turned to concern as the sky began to darken, the temperature dropped, and rain began to fall. Chubby does not like to be cold or wet. Often, if the weather is inclimate, he refuses to go outside until we forcibly push him out the door, chase him off the porch, and patiently wait while he does his business; all the while, he side-eyes us as if we are great bullies. Chubby being out in the cold and rain was an alarming indication that something was not right.

I told Eric I was going to drive around the neighborhood to see if I could find him. Before leaving, I texted our closest neighbors and friends to see if they had seen him throughout the day. They all responded that they had not seen him but would keep watch and let us know if he turned up. I drove the back roads for half an hour or so, and I saw no sign of him. The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean traveled the trails and gas well roads surrounding the farm on the side-by-side, stopping to call for him periodically. They, too, returned without our grumpy old man.

The Bean was beside herself with worry. Jordan is Chubby’s chosen one. He adores our girl and is often just a few feet from her. If she is rollerblading on the driveway, he is sitting at the yard’s edge, watching her. If she is in her bedroom, he is lying on her bedroom floor waiting for her to invite him onto the bed. If she is watching T.V., he is sitting beside her on the couch. He has always kept watch over her and adores her unconditionally. We understand that with Chubby’s advanced age, we are on borrowed time with him. However, this is not something we allow into our conscious thoughts.

When I was alone with my bib overall wearing wonder buns in the garage, I told him, “You know, with the cold and the rain, this isn’t good?” He mirrored my concerns but agreed to play it cool with The Bean. We told our girl that Chubs had been gone on dark, cold nights before. He had probably traveled farther than usual and misjudged the distance he had traveled. We told her he was probably on his way home and would be at the door in no time. Chubby has kept me up for hours while I sit and worry about his whereabouts, and he is rambling about the farm until the wee hours of the morning. What we did not communicate was our concern for coyotes, someone picking him up, or some dire situation beyond fathom occurring. One’s mind goes to the darkest, most ludicrous places when faced with the unknown.

Unbeknownst to The Bean, I posted our boy on Facebook and joined a Facebook group called Lost Pets of Indiana County. I am astounded by the results of social media. In less than an hour, more than 200 people shared my post and sent well wishes, prayers, and tips to aid in his safe return. It was nothing short of amazing. Despite the overwhelming response, I was feeling despondent. I was preparing myself for the worst and the real possibility we may never see our beloved old man again. My phone dinged as I tearfully told Eric I had a terrible feeling about Chubby.

Much to my amazement, a woman from South Carolina sent me a private message and told me her dad had my dog. She gave me a phone number to call and told me her dad would be waiting for our call. We immediately called the number and spoke to an amiable, helpful woman. Jean told us her husband had seen Chubby just below our neighbor’s driveway on Tonkin Road. Believing he had been dumped off, which is, unfortunately, a cruel and inhumane practice of some cold-hearted individuals, he lured him into his car and took him home for safekeeping. Our Chubby buddy was currently curled up on the couch beside her husband in a home not five miles from the farm. Jean requested if we didn’t mind, they would return Chubby in the morning because they were enjoying their visit with him. We were a bit taken aback, but we agreed, thanked them heartily, and felt a surge of relief.

Once we hung up, we laughed until we almost cried…well, I laughed until I almost cried; Eric just laughed at the audacity of our faithless dog. If given the opportunity to ride in a car, Chubs would throw caution to the wind and jump in with anyone. Given a chance to come home or sleep on a couch with a stranger who feeds him ham, he will choose the stranger with the sofa and the ham. The incorrigible beast was safe, cozy, doted upon, and fed people food; all the while, we were out of our minds with worry thinking the absolute worst. Sigh…he really is a bit of a brat. I ungraciously stated I wished we could pick him up, but I also understood it was getting late. As if able to read my mind, the daughter messaged me again and told me that her mom and dad, who do not reside together, had gotten their wires crossed, and if we would like to pick up Chubby, her dad would be awake and waiting for us. We thanked her profusely and wasted no time getting in the car and driving to get him.

When we arrived at Phil’s house, he opened the door, and our boy came bouncing out with a smaller pitbull in tow. We held our breath and waited for a fight to ensue. Chubby is renowned for his intolerance of other dogs and irritable, jealous behavior. Much to our surprise, Chubby and Izzy got along swimmingly. They had cuddled up on the couch, shared meals, and played all day. Phil informed us he was going to put a sign in his yard looking for Chubby’s owners, but if he went unclaimed, Phil planned to keep him. If that had happened, Chubby would have spent his remaining days with Phil and Izzy because Eric and I never go past Phil’s house, which is less than five miles from the farm.

Phil apologized for picking up Chubby and stated that if not for his interference, Chubs would have made it safely. One cannot condemn a good samaritan whose heart was in the right place. We thanked Phil for his kindness, gave him a big bag of soap, got to know a new and kind neighbor, and took our boy home safe and sound. If I’m honest, Chubs didn’t seem all that thrilled to see us. When we returned home, he went to the door, waited to be let in, then sat expectantly for a treat. Although we felt we were rewarding his faithlessness, we gave him as many treats as he wanted and fussed over him like he had been gone for a lifetime. He immediately went to the couch, curled up on my favorite blanket, growled at Buster for looking at him, and went to sleep snoring and farting. All was right in our world.

Unlike Chubby, I could not go to sleep. I had to update social media, thank everyone for their help, and take pictures of our ungrateful boy snoring and farting on my favorite blanket. He had had an eventful day and broken our blissful lull of inactivity and drama, and he was none the wiser. It was just another day in the life of Chubs. I hope we have many more days with our grumpy old man. For now, we are just relieved he is home safe, sleeping on our couch, snoring loudly, and passing gas on my favorite quilt. He has only moved to mooch people-food from Eric and grudgingly goes outside to do his business. He does not understand why I now attend to him when he is out, not letting him out of my sight. He really is a bit of a brat, but we love him regardless.

On this more seasonable February day, stay safe, be smart, keep an eye on your pets, don’t be offended if they choose total strangers who feed them ham, let them sleep on their couch, and dote upon them, be grateful for the kindness of strangers, use social media as an amazing tool of communication for good, and keep washing your hands.

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