So we had an eventful night last night.
And by "eventful" I mean let's-never-do-this-again kind of excitement.
This wasn't the first time Buddy escaped the indoors and ran himself across the street - as across the street is a dog park that is very much frequented by, welp, dogs. Dogs love dogs. Not sure if you know this. So Buddy often sees the dogs through the windows of our house, barks at the dogs, pines for the dogs he sees and cannot play with. He has maybe escaped through the front door four or five times, when he's been too quick for us to grab when we've opened the door. And when he escapes, he will very routinely make his way across the street, to the park, and pause at the gate to the dog area, long enough for us to catch up to grab him.
Last night, that's what happened, except with much more flair. And much more fear.
So Brad and Reed were heading out the door to soccer practice, the door barely cracked, when Buddy pushed his desperate self through the opening, and bolted.
Bolted right out the door, and right into the street, just as an oncoming car approached...honked...and smacked right into him.
The sound of car hitting dog is horrific. My stomach is still on the floor. It's awful.
I was still inside, heard the smack and Brad yell "NO!"
He said later that he was sure when he turned around Buddy would by lying there, dead.
The next thing we knew, we saw Buddy running through the park, making his way to the dog gate. It took just long enough for both Brad and I to register what was going on - that Buddy wasn't dead, he wasn't even incapacitated, and that he was running away - that by the time we started chasing him, he was too far ahead, and we lost him.
We spent the next 45 minutes driving through the neighborhood, posting on Facebook, and accepting help from our friends and neighbors to help us look (Brad called in a couple other parents from his soccer team to take over practice for the night so he could help search). It got to be about 6:45 - darn close to sunset and really close to the general feeling of "what else can we do?" that we gathered ourselves back at home and decided to walk through the dog park until we either found him, or it was dark. Because we knew he had been hit by the car, but had also seen him bolt across the park, we had no idea how much he was hurt or how far he could've gotten or what his natural instincts would've lead him to do - hide or keeping moving.
We had stopped into the dog park during our neighborhood search and asked the other dog owners who were there with their pets if they had seen Buddy, and if they would keep an eye out for him. For the record, dog people are good, good people. Everyone was empathic and helpful. And when we returned to the park to look again, the word had been passed as there were many other people visiting the park that were keeping their eyes open for him.
So I had the kids, and Brad had driven to the other side of the park to start looking over there. The dog park is not completely fenced in, so while Buddy couldn't get through the gate that faces our house, there is an open section on the other side that he could've made his way through (hence why we searched the neighborhood - we had no idea if he'd gotten into the park or not). It made sense that he'd be inside the park, because of all the dogs and scents that can be found there, but again, I really feared that he could be anywhere. The dog park is half open green space and half wooded area full of paths. The kids and I began walking down the wooded path, and the kids were calling him name. We had about a half hour until sundown and we were so desperate to find him. We passed by a few of the trails that criss-cross through the interior of the wooded area, and decided to stay on the primary path that circles around the outside of the woods. We got to the back side of the woods, and heard a bark. A bark that sounded just like Buddy. For whatever reason, I felt like we had to backtrack just a few steps and take one of those interior paths that we had just passed by. So we did, and we weren't five steps down that path when Buddy appeared, making his way toward us.
I am certain the he heard the boys calling for him. I am certain that it was he who barked, answering their call. And I am certain, that I was lead down that path, right to where he was.
Oh, the joy!
And then. Then! To discover that, except for a couple scratches on his arm, we couldn't find any evidence of injury. No blood, no limp, no whimpering or whining, no nursing of any limbs, no nothing. He was skittish and shake-y, like he sometimes can be when he's scared or nervous, but no signs of any physical harm. No sign, at all, that he had been hit by a car an hour earlier. And I assure you, he was hit. Because the sound. It still horrifies me. We feared for internal injuries, of course, but decided to keep an eye on him through the evening and see how he was in the morning.
This morning, then, he was slow to get out of his kennel, and seemed like he was sore and taking extra precaution when carrying himself. But he ate breakfast as he normally does, and as far as we can tell, is perfectly normal.
We don't know much about Buddy's history - he came to us last fall at five years old after being taken from his former owner's home and given to a shelter - but I have a hunch, that whatever he has experienced in his short, little life, it has made him a survivor.
Because wow. This guy shouldn't even be here right now.
I have never been happier that he is.