It was a 3:30 phone call from my brother. The buses were being called and normally the phone was off limits in my mind. But my brother knows I still have my class at 3:30.
“Hello,” I answered nervously. Many possibilities ran through my mind and none of them came bearing good news.
“The dogs got out. They’ve been missing for an hour,” he blurted.
“My dogs?” I responded. I was very confused.
“No, my dogs,” he answered. “They were in the yard and the gate was open.”
At this point my class was gathered around and they were concerned. They knew this was something bad, kids can tell these things. I looked up at them and told them the news.
“My brother’s two dogs are missing. He doesn’t know where they are. I’m going to go help him look for them.”
My brother lives in the town where I teach and he is the crossing guard at the corner by our elementary school. My niece is a seventh grader in the Middle School where many of my students’ siblings go to school. We are a small town and that family feeling means the kids absolutely got the dire situation we were in. A highway runs through the middle of the town, separating the many small neighborhoods. There were hills and trees and houses and so much space and where would you even start to look for two dogs after an hour had already gone by.
As the kids left I could tell how worried they were. One boy came up and gave me a hug before he left. “Good luck, Mrs. Scannell,” he said. That small deed really bolstered my resolve. Now that the class knew there could only be one ending to this story, at least that was what I told myself.
I passed my brother as I neared his house. He was not in good shape. “I figure they are either dead or 50 miles away by now,” he reported. Inside my head I did not agree but I didn’t know what to say. “Will you go take Dana to karate for me, I am just going to keep driving.”
“Sure,” I said. “Then I’m going to keep looking.”
On our way to karate my niece’s phone rang. “Hello, oh, hi Dad. What, you have Dutch, and Soccer is on his way? Great, ok, talk to you soon.” I was just staring open-mouthed at my niece.
“How, what, huh?”
Later that afternoon I got the whole story. My brother got a call from the police station. Someone was bringing in a yellow lab and it might be his. They asked him to come down and meet them at the station. They also said they had another lab but it was black and they were waiting for someone to come for that one, it was not my brother’s dog.
Well, the “black” dog was actually chocolate and it was my brother’s dog Dutch (the police thought he had lost two yellow labs). Dutch had been entertaining the officers at the station with his playful antics. While my brother put Dutch in the truck up pulled another vehicle with Soccer, the yellow lab. He had crossed a major roadway but somehow had made it safely into the arms of a wonderful woman who got him safely to the police station.
I am so happy I get to go to school tomorrow with a happy ending to tell my class. Now we all know what it feels like at the climax of your story, your heart really does race!