I’ve told this story to a few friends already, but I figured I’d write it down for posterity and further sharing. A few weeks before the break, I got up in the morning before work and performed my normal morning routine: I let my beagle Max out into the (fenced) back yard and took a shower before making myself coffee. When I finished with the shower, I dressed and went through the house and couldn’t see Max. He’s probably still in the backyard, I thought.

Then I noticed the door to the backyard had blown shut from the wind. Then I noticed – upon opening it and going into the backyard – that the fence gate had the opposite problem, and was standing open.

At that point, I started to get a little ball of anxiety and went outside as quickly as I could and started scouring the neighborhood for him. I yelled a lot of “Max!” that morning. Still, he had been out for close to an hour at that point, and he wasn’t (apparently) nearby.

I ran into a nearby neighbor and her dog, both of whom Max adored, and she agreed to call for him on her walk. When she returned, she told me some neighbors to the south had seen a dog wandering around a while ago. I headed that direction, even drove around a bit with the window down calling, but still couldn’t find him.

At this point, I was freaking out a little. You see, he’s not chipped, and in a terrible fit of karmic retribution, I had neglected to immediately fix his name/address tag when it broke earlier that week. So he was an identity-less beagle wandering the neighborhood and god I hope he doesn’t get hurt

I called up 9-1-1, and they said to call Animal Control when they opened (around 9am, about 2 full hours after I let Max into the backyard). I did so, after frantically calling fellow dog-owning friends Paul and Alida, who successfully talked me off a now-cliff of anxiety. The Animal Control lady was very kind and said as soon as she heard anything, she’d call back. She also recommended sending a post to the West Seattle Blog, which she said has a really active community. (I had never used it before, but she’s right, it’s great.)

As I sat down and started writing my post, she called back and said a man in my neighborhood just reported a missing beagle! I quickly called him and he confirmed it was Max and told me to come over. My heart almost leapt out of my chest – I didn’t realize how tightly wound I was until release.

When I got to this guy Bill’s house, he greeted me and let me in – where he had his own beagle, Sophia! She seemed nice, and Max seemed quite pleased with himself for his adventure (and his second breakfast, which Bill had fed him). As I took Max back, Bill told me something funny enough that I laughed in spite of everything.

“Yeah, strangest thing. I have Sophia here, and the folks in the neighborhood know I have a beagle,” he said. “So when they found Max wandering around, they took him and put him in my yard. Then, when I got up in the morning, I let Sophia out into the yard, and when I went to get her, there were two beagles!” :)

I have since fixed Max’s tag and now we go out into the backyard together!