Keeping shop in a small historical town like ours was more a pleasure than work, but as a one-woman show, it did keep me hopping. My little general store was alive with ragtime and swing, and the bell on the door announced each new arrival as the music drew the tourists in. There was a waiting line for the checker table, and every child wanted a scoop of ice cream on those blistery summer days.
It was during just such a flurry of comings and goings that I happen to notice my little black Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle mix) was missing! My heart dropped to my toes when a quick search of the store turned up nothing. My Sweet Baboo, my four-legged friend of thirteen years, was gone. I ran out onto the sidewalk and soon had half a dozen passersby looking and calling for my furry little wanderer.
Baboo had one very disturbing quirk. He liked to explore and tended to get lost. We called frantically, to no avail. I called in a friend to watch the shop while I went searching. No Baboo! I should mention that everyone who met my sweet boy wanted to take him home. Things were looking darker and darker. By dusk, I had canvassed the surrounding neighborhoods with no luck. I went to bed that night, and every night after that, sick at heart as day after day I drove the neighborhoods, calling for him.
My husband, my sisters, and I knocked on doors and distributed reward posters. We called all the surrounding veterinarians and local animal shelters. Each day that passed my hope faded but we continued to search. One particular street that I was drawn to on several occasions, proved as fruitless as the others. I guess I thought that because my sisters’ eighteenth-century home, an empty restoration project, was there, that the familiar place might draw the dog, but there was nothing. By day thirteen, I was weary and hopeless.
As my husband and I settled in for the night, I was overwhelmed by a deep sadness for my Sweet Baboo. At the same time, I got a very strong impression of sis’s old house. I must have whimpered or cried out, because my husband became concerned and asked me what was wrong. Not wanting to appear an over-emotional fool (more than I had already) I simply told him I could not stop thinking about our lost boy.
The next day I talked myself out of going back to the old house, as I had already been there twice before. But by closing time, I knew that I had to go again. After all, it was only a block out of my way. As soon as I pulled up in the driveway, I heard the muffled screaming of a dog in distress. I jumped out of the car, calling and trying to locate the sound. I followed it to the old cellar door. When I opened it, a wet, dirty black ball launched itself at me, screaming frantically.
Oh, he was so skinny and sick, but a trip to the vet and some good hot food worked wonders. Apparently, Baboo had crawled through the broken cellar window and fallen six feet to the floor. The cellar door was locked, and the window was far above his head. He was well and truly trapped!
To this day, I do not know if it was him calling to me, or me reaching out for him but I do know that something very powerful brought us back together. That was four years ago. He is now seventeen, and we are so grateful that we did not ignore whatever it was that reunited us.
-Sharon Jeannette Henningsen, Van Buren, Ark.