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Once lost, now found

August 4, 2008 - Diane Speer
Here it is another Monday morning at the office. When I look back at this past weekend, which just zoomed by, I don’t see that I accomplished all that much on the homefront. A big part of my lack of productivity was due to my four-footed child, a three-year-old yellow tabby named Chip, who I adopted from the Huron Humane Society three summers ago.

Chip is strictly an indoor cat. Since he’s been a part of the Speer family, he’s only been outside less than three or four hours total. Apparently, this past weekend he decided an adventure was due him. Sometime late Friday evening, he managed to bull his way through a brand new screen on my front porch (the screen hasn’t even been paid for yet!), leap to the ground and escape to freedom. His Houdini-like disappearance wasn’t detected until early Saturday morning when he didn’t do his usual bounding onto my bed by way of a greeting. Shaking fresh food into the bowl of this always eager eater didn’t produce any results either, so I knew something was amiss.

A quick canvas inside the house turned up the ripped screen - surefire evidence of an escape to the great outdoors. My husband and I immediately circled the outside of our house and neighborhood, calling Chip’s name all the while and looking for this otherwise friendly, loveable pet who has wormed his way into our hearts. Our search was fruitless.

By now, the inexperienced (yes, I’ll admit it - the very pampered) Chip had been gone nearly 12 hours. That’s when my worry gene kicked in full tilt. I just knew something bad had happened to him or else he’d wondered too far from home and didn’t know how to make his way back. Throughout most of Saturday, my husband and I got a boat-load of exercise traipsing through the neighborhood in search of the cat. We talked to a lot of our neighbors, who all sympathized and agreed to keep an eye out.

It might seem like a small thing, but you know you have great neighbors when they too scrap some of their Saturday plans to go searching for your cat. That’s exactly what neighbors Noel Curtis and her son, Kelton, as well as Dick Shiemke and his daughter, Julie did. My longtime friend, Joy Shoemaker, who is a huge pet lover, even drove in from Bell Bay Saturday evening just to help with the search.

Despite everyone’s efforts, by the time darkness descended Saturday night, we still were minus one cat. None too happy, my husband and I decided to sit out on our front steps for awhile in the dark, where we bemoaned to each other the possibility that Chip might not ever make it back to us. Less than two minutes after we’d spoken those forlorn-sounding words, there came the little furry fugitive trotting up our steps as if nothing was wrong.

Our beloved kitty is now once again safe and sound indoors, though he did have to endure a mild scolding from me. I will never know whether his 24 hours spent away from home were an adventure or misadventure. He isn’t talking much! But what I do know is that I’m very, very thankful for his return and for the kindness of neighbors. And since my story has a happy ending, I really don’t mind too much that Monday morning rolled around without me getting much of anything done at home.


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