Not Again...

Elaine has spent the weekend with her side of the family, and that means I can do anything I want, eat anything I want because I am king of the hill, sort of.  While I am in charge, that means I am also responsible too, but of course, I am never wrong in Elaine's eyes... HAHAHAHA Just the opposite...

After doing a load of laundry and straightening up the house, I was headed to the store to pick up a few things Elaine had on the list.  I like a list, and if something is on it, I buy it, and if not, I don't, makes it easier for me because I'm not an impulse buyer, Elaine is!

Elaine picking up bread and milk
Me using the list
Saturday was a sunny day, and as usual, we went for our morning walk, and while most of the dogs would run through the woods, Dutchess held back close to me, and we walked together, and it was very peaceful.  At one time, she was our most active dog and would outplay, out swim and out jump any other dog on the farm.  She is a wonder dog in more ways than one with me wondering what she will do next.

Putting my shoes on, getting my wallet, I grabbed the list and put the dogs in the kennel.  Each one always goes to their door and wait's their turn, but something is wrong, very wrong.  I am missing a dog.  I always count, but I'm one short, and it was Dutchess.  She must be outside the kennel.  "Dutchess, where you?"  She was nowhere to be found, which is concerning because she associates the kennel with a place to get food.  She has never, and I mean never misses a meal.  She must be in the house. 

I went back to the house and called her name, "Dutchess, where you?"  I walked to the upstairs, nothing, middle floor, nothing, and the 1st floor, nothing.  This is a little concerning.  The thing about Dutchess is if she can't find you, she will bark at the back door wanting in, no matter what.    Back to the porch, I go and walk all the way around it, no Dutchess.  I go back inside and go into each room and check every nook and cranny from the top of the house to the bottom, nothing.  I check the garage and mudroom, nothing.  Dutchess is never late or unresponsive.  After my third trip scouring the house, now I'm worried.

Knowing she is not in the house and rechecking the kennel, Dutchess is gone.  She has to be here, but where and as I change to my boots to walk the muddy trails in the woods, I think the worse.  Several things pop into my mind, and none of them are good.  Is she hurt? Did she take a nap, or has she lay down and pass away somewhere in the woods?  My mind is going in a thousand directions.  Elaine is not home, and she always finds stuff even if I need to call her, she knows, but this time, I'm on my own.  Just two days ago, Shepp's grave marker was delivered and placed, and will I need to get another? 

As I head out with my work boots on, I dread the sight I may find, and all of the emotions of the last few months are coming up with the losses I have had.  The thought in my head are bouncing like ping balls falling on a concrete floor.  I head into the woods to look for her, but before I make that final turn.

I'm right here
Dutchess is snacking on an appetizer of deer poop on a small patch of grass where the deer sometimes graze.  "Dutchess," I say "DUTCHESS" and nothing, she is busy feasting on her favorite food.  I go up and touch her, and she responds with a wagging tail and happy eyes.  In her old age, she has lost some of her hearing and can't hear everything.  Getting old sucks, even for dogs.  Happily, we trot to the kennel where she gets the main course.  No dog kisses tonight...