Confession time: We accidentally left Frankie outside overnight. Okay, before anyone calls Pet Protective Services—if there is such a department, let me explain. We decided to turn in early. My husband went straight to our bedroom and I made a pit stop to turn on the dishwasher. It didn’t seem strange to us that Frankie was not with us. In the warmer weather, Frankie foregoes sleeping in our room and instead chooses to spend the night on the tile floor in the wet bar or the hardwood floor in the living room.
Let me also stress that we don’t think Frankie minded. The night of her camp out was beautiful. There was a constant, soft breeze. I heard the wind chimes play their relaxing song over and over. There is a covered porch outside with rugs, dog bowls filled with fresh water and furniture big enough to hold a 90-pound pup. She was not suffering, AND I HEARD NO BARKING.
Fast forward to 6 AM the next morning. I opened my eyes to LuLu doing her morning prance which means, “Let me go out and piddle so I can get my Dentastyx.” LuLu has an addiction to Dentastyx. If she weren’t getting on in years, I might send her to Rover Rehab, but she has so few interests anymore, so I let it be. I called to Frankie to go out too, and I assumed I would hear the drumming sound of her big paws bounding down the steps, but nothing. When I opened the back door, I knew why. There was Frankie staring back at me.
“What the F&^% are you doing out there?” Before caffeine, I have no care about my language. Shocked that she offered no response, I tore upstairs screaming, “Did you let Frankie out this morning? Why is she outside?”
“Are you sure it’s Frankie?”
Those were my husband’s words. In his defense, he is an extremely smart engineer, but he had no caffeine at this point either, so I can’t fault him for asking that dumb question.
“What the hell does that mean? (Okay, I faulted him a little) Does Frankie have a twin who lives in our yard? OF COURSE IT’S OUR DOG.”
Then the realization set in that we were bad pooch parents; we left our dog outside. The guilt feelings began to swell into the pit of my stomach and then they ascended to my ears and into my head and I became nauseated with self-disgust.
“She doesn’t look like she’s upset; in fact, she seems pretty content,” my husband consoled me while trying to assuage his own guilt. To be honest, if I could have pinned the entire blame for this situation on him, I would have, but alas, it was my fault. I was the last one downstairs. I was the one who should have done the doggie head count.
I think Frankie sensed my guilt all day. At random times, I would look over to her and she would tilt her head and look confused as if she were saying, “Why, Mommy? Why did you forget me?” Or she would put her head on my lap while I typed at my computer. I couldn’t shake the bad mommy feeling, so I decided to spend the day with the doggies and do some fun bonding things. We went to Pet Smart and got new toys; we took an extra long walk around the neighborhood; we went for a car ride that culminated in a Sonic run where I let them bark into the speaker. Finally, they got an extra brushing, and then I showed both of them where I hide the extra key to the house—you know in case they ever need it. They had a good day.
Am I over my guilt? I am getting there. But now, before we settle in for the night, I take roll call. Frankie did seem to enjoy herself out there, so I think the next time we get another weather perfect night, I might make all of us sleep outside. Maybe Frankie can show us what we missed.
PS This is not a picture from the night in question. This is the next day and LuLu photobombed the shot.