Self-care after finding that lost dog scare

I promised you the other dog story that started out as the original story only to end up being a completely different story about That Other Dog who gave us a total scare the day after I published that post. She’s okay now, but her arthritis is flaring up and causing her some serious problems. We saw the vet, got her some medication, rearranged the house for her, and had a long talk with the two youngest kids who love her the most about the fierceness with which they like to cuddle her—to do it less like she’s a 400-pound bear and more like an egg teetering on the edge of a railing at the Empire State Building.

Important to note:

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Important. Why? Because I needed ALL OF THIS after that night with the dog. After that night with the dog in the pouring rain. After that tiny 7-pound Chihuahua went missing over a mile away in the pouring rain. After I woke up Marlo, the one person who could lure any dog to safety, a child who chooses to sleep in the nude, and said, “Hey, Butternut, I need you to come help me find a dog.”

She’d been asleep for two hours at that point, but she sat straight up in her bed and shot back without hesitation and in baritone, “HAND ME MY CLOTHES.”

She is Wonder Woman For Canines.

I’m going to make this story short because we just got back from several days in Chicago and spent the weekend celebrating Marlo’s birthday and Father’s Day and there were several nights during all that time when I slept less than four hours a night. So if you happen to know where I am right now, please email me my coordinates.

Now, follow along. I promise it’s worth it all:

My Summer Box arrived last week—you can customize most of the products in your box now—and inside I found so much goodness including:


Marlo has had a blast with this part of the box because it says BUM BUM and that does not ever get old.

Basics of the dog story: The neighbors were out of the country and had hired a house/dog sitter. It was the first day they were gone, and the dog sitter and her boyfriend walked out of the house with the 7-pound Chihuahua on her leash (we’re going to call this dog Taco for privacy purposes). Taco managed to wriggle herself out of her leash AND collar and fled. Sped off. The boyfriend chased after her on foot for seven? Eight blocks? He could not catch up with her and then she disappeared into a cemetery. No place to hide in there! I mean, which tombstone do you choose from when you are as tiny as a rat and need to curl up in the pouring rain? THE DECISIONS. Under which Mormon name do you tuck your tiny body?

I’d choose Jorgensen. Because it sounds kind of like a really great-smelling shampoo!

Again: pouring rain.


For what the sleeplessness wrought on my aging face. No joke.

Here’s the other important thing to note: If I were in another country and my dog had gone missing, I would hope that SOMEONE would make some effort to find her. Just that. That someone would make an effort to look for her. That someone would care.


It’s late. You’re ready for bed and the dog who lives next door has gone missing. Spritz this on your face and get to it, HON.

Dog sitter knocked on the door at about 10PM and explained the situation. Cowboy headed out on foot in his raincoat. I woke up Marlo, she affixed her bracelets and Lasso of Truth, and then she and the dog sitter AND COCO joined me in my car to head toward the exact place Taco had gone POOF! We managed to pick up Cowboy on our way. SO. Remember: I was in the driver’s seat, dog sitter was in the passenger seat, Marlo and Coco and Cowboy were in the backseat. And it was pouring rain.

I keep bolding that text and emphasizing it because this is Utah and pouring rain is not unlike flying pigs or the ability to buy liquor on Sunday.


For that moment when your partner reminds you that he put on his raincoat to go looking for the 7-pound Chihuahua because he knew that the dog going missing would devastate your 10-year-old kid. And you need to give him some foot attention.

Everyone simultaneously rolled down their windows as I drove very carefully and slowly to begin yelling Taco’s name. Cowboy, someone who has owned and successfully run a business for the last 25 years, started yelling, “TACO! TACO!” as if he were getting the attention of someone who was not taking a business transaction seriously. It’s very effective. I have eavesdropped on certain phone calls. Accidentally.

Dog sitter was in the front seat singing—I kid you not—in an operatic voice, “TaaaaaacOOOOooo! TAAAAAccoooooo! TaaaAAaccooOOOoo!” And Marlo was back there trembling because the thought of a 7-pound Chihuahua getting lost in the rain is really kind of awful, just think about it, even to Wonder Woman of Canines. So she was sobbing through tears out of the window, “Taco! Taco, please! Please, Taco! Please!

I was in the driver’s seat, silent, the captain of the ship. Also, because the beauty of what I was witnessing had overcome me.

Imagine the melody, the harmony. Imagine the swelling violins. Imagine the trombones pumping a line just between bass and tenor that swells and swells and swells to the crescendo of Coco shrieking ear-splitting howls from the backseat.



If you ever want to recreate the look on all of our faces, especially Marlo’s, this might come in quite handy. (And it’s incredible, OH MY GOD)

All the windows were down and it was pouring rain and Taco was nowhere to be found. This musical starring a Capricorn, a Gemini, a Cancer, a Libra (Coco)—and I’m going to take a wild guess that the dog sitter is a Pisces—it lasted over an hour as we drove around and around and around eventually getting out of the car and searching the cemetery. On foot. In the pouring rain.


What do you do with your soaking wet hair as it pours rain in a cemetery as you are looking for a lost Chihuahua? You pull it up and out of your face with these, is what you do. Duh.

Also. Yes, I am into astrology now. Please judge me and I will PEG YOU SO HARD BECAUSE YOU ARE A VIRGO.

(I’m not really into astrology. I just find it extremely funny when someone is the stereotype of their sign. Whoever came up with all of this was given a revelation that one day a child named Marlo Iris Armstrong would be born and that her mother would need to be given a handbook on what in the world is going on and and so they came up with GEMINI: They will always be the life of the party, but you never know if that means they are showing up to that party with a cat covered in sequins that have been glued to its fur, illegal fireworks, and a whoopie cushion, or if it means they will be arrested within 10 minutes of showing up and then call you to bail them out. Good luck!)


Did I mention sleeplessness. SLEEPLESSNESS. All over my face.

We did not find Taco. I know. With that whole Musical Horoscope of Emotion you’d think we’d have attracted an entire barn to my car. At least a sad cow? A scorned rooster?

So we drove home, all of us soaked. I hugged the dog sitter, told her that Taco was chipped and that if anyone found her that the chip would bring her home. And I assured her she’d come home. I told her it would be okay. She hugged me after I hugged her because she felt so terrible but so thankful that we’d cared. Those two emotions are hard to hold together at once, and so I pulled her in as tightly as I could.

Two seconds after I closed the front door I heard wild screaming.



Celebrate good times!

Marlo heard it, too, and so she jumped out of her bed again and we ran next door. Taco had come home, all those eight blocks (or however many miles she in reality traversed) by herself and she was hiding in a very small corner of their porch. She was shivering. Cold, terrified, traumatized, wet. She was so tiny and frightened. I asked Marlo to talk to her the way Marlo talks to dogs, and we got her inside, dried off, and covered with a blanket she recognized.

She came home. And Marlo talked her out of her shiver.


Did I mention sleeplessness. SLEEPLESSNESS. I may not have mentioned this. All over my face. All over. Email me my coordinates, okay?

FabFitFun is offering dooce readers $10 of your first box, just use coupon code DOOCE10 at You have to act fast because each season’s box tends to sell out.


This post is brought to you in partnership with FabFitFun.