The dogs are out.
The dogs are gone.
They're off, having a fun-filled, romping adventure, or are in harm's way, dodging loaded pick-up trucks and rowdy mini-vans. And I don't know which it is.
Pioneer Woman lost a dog once. Nell never came back.
We moved from the Bluegrass to the Lone Star in the beginning of the summer, and ever since, Charlie and Daisy have been running gleefully in the backyard, barking at the squirrels in the overhanging trees, or chasing each other, or bounding up when Sweet Husband or I walk out the back door. Sweet Husband has checked and rechecked the fence to make sure it was secure.
But they're dogs.
And sometimes dogs dig under fences, forcing their way through, snapping off the bottom of the boards in their desperation to chase or play - what? A cat? A raccoon? A neighbor dog? The mailman? And then their owners go to put them up for the night, and come running back into the house to tell their wives "the dogs are gone."
And then we drive up and down the streets, calling their names, listening to distant barks - all of which sound just like your dog - and we wake up in the morning hoping they've found their way home, through the open fence gate we left propped for them, just in case.
And then I think of the time we brought Sweet Baby Boy home from the hospital, and Charlie would lay at the nursery door as if on guard duty, and when Jack cried, Charlie would whine, and look at me, and trot to the nursery, and back to me, worry crinkling his brown and white face.
And I remember Daisy's antics, and her irrepressible grin, and the time she ran out onto an icy porch and lost her footing and looked like an old Disney cartoon of Goofy, legs flying in all directions.
I think of the Blessing of the Animals that Episcopal churches have sometimes, and St. Francis, who loved birds.
The city has the "lost" report, and photos to accompany it.
Kind neighbors have sent an email alert to the neighborhood association.
Charlie and Daisy, if you're checking your covert canine bark-mail on a library computer and you're reading this, please come home. I promise I'll throw the tennis ball as long as you want me to.