Friday, April 18, 2008

Lost Dog!

"What I Did Over Spring Break"
by McKinley Stebar
My family members (well, not all of them because Brian and Jacquie were still in school and Chelsea was away at BYU) were making plans to drive to Michigan, the state of my birth. They decided I could go with them.

But before I could ride with them in the van to see Papa and Grammy I had to get ready.
I needed a bath.
That didn't sound too bad...

Hunter was given the option to either stay home and keep Brian company while he stayed behind with his school work, or come with us. I have never known any dog to ever turn down a car ride - no matter where his true loyalties my lie. He rode in the front seat most of the way.

This is Hunter with his real blood brother Rocky Bear. They wasted no time in sniffing around and establishing domains.
The gate behind them was not sufficiently latched my first night in this unfamiliar yard. Everyone went to bed and sometime during the night I got the gate open and got out of the yard.

Strange noises. strange street lights, strange smells, strange everything... Before I knew it I had no idea where I was. Scarier than that, I had no idea where to find MY FAMILY!!!

I was in the middle of every family pet's worse nightmare! I was A...

The search for me began at 6:00 in the morning when Jeff realized I was no longer in the yard.
Wendy threw on some clothes and started walking up and down the streets in the immediate neighborhood calling and whistling for me, hoping I had not wandered off too far. Jeff and Ali were the first to get in a vehicle and drive around looking for me. Hannah( and her friend Stacy Galli) decided to keep their pajamas on and walk around towards the main road with just their blankets wrapped around them for warmth (it was cold!) Their reasoning was that this way they could leave their strongest scent for McKinley to pick up and that would lead him back to them.
What nobody knew at the time, was that I was already miles away from that fateful opened gate and could no longer see, hear, or smell anything that resembled HOME!

After several phone calls to animal shelters, local veterinarians, the Sheriff Departments of two townships (I was no longer in my original Shelby Township) ... it was time to make and post the Fliers. Fliers were posted everywhere - at intersections, subdivision entrances, restaurants, libraries and at one particular little elementary school situated way off back from the road (which turned out to be the most important posting of them all.)

The fliers brought phoned in "sightings" of me - the first of which was two miles, then four miles, then, in the end, six and a half miles away from where I started. The last few callers all lived in the same subdivision and through angels and divine intervention ( and through my family's fervent prayers) I was somehow kept in that neighborhood, running back and forth between the houses, until my family could get there and take me home.
It was a miracle that they were able to find me at long last. It was after 8:00pm, getting dark and cold and starting to rain. I almost couldn't believe it when I heard them calling and whistling for me. When I saw them at first I thought it was impossible that it could really be them. I kept back at first, a little bit nervous because so many people had tried to catch hold of me today, strangers trying to pull me into their cars, I had even wriggled out of my collar when someone tried to hold onto me, pulling it over my head and leaving it behind with my I.D. tags still attached.
I know now that they were really just trying to help me.
If I ever wondered before if people would really care about a dog and a family in trouble - I have no doubts about that now.
There are some great dog loving people out there.!

It's wonderful to be back with my family again! Papa came out to give me a pat and welcome me back to his securely latched, well gated backyard. As for the night times - I'll be safely bedded down in the garage until morning comes - for the rest of our stay.

It will take some time to forget about the scariest things about being lost. Stuff that is just too hard to talk about. I'm trying my best not to think about them. But for right now this corner feels safe. I can see my family through the sliding glass door and I am a good distance from that infamous backyard gate!

Meanwhile Papa's cooking breakfast! Bacon, eggs, biscuits, and baked apples for starters. Yum!
I think Rocky Bear smells the delicious food and wants in.

Grammy is still a bit under the weather with pneumonia. Even with her being sick, it's hard to keep her from trying to wait on us all.
Papa was serving at the Detroit Temple until late last night but was still bright and chipper as ever this morning as he fried up his perfect little bacon strips and eggs. That man has unbelievable amounts of energy. I get tired just thinking about everything he accomplishes in a day.

Poor Brian! You know he's going to be so jealous when he hears about missing out on one of these marvelous breakfast feasts. He lives for this kind of fare.

Things are starting to get back to normal. Dogs have short term memory, you know.

Today was the only nice day throughout our entire trip. We went to an open air mall that was Dog Friendly called Partridge Creek. It was great .

Hannah and Stacey went off in search of the perfect birthday present for Chelsea's 19th birthday.

The Paparazzi followed them everywhere!

Looks like she found just the right gift.

McKinley enjoyed the watering holes especially for dogs.
And Ali thought he might enjoy the effervescent kind of water from this fountain.

There was even an outdoor fireplace in the middle of the mall walkways.
McKinley made lots of new friends. I don't know what it is about big lovable looking dogs... no matter how big they are, little kids always seem to know it's okay to pet a Saint Bernard.

I'm just glad McKinley wasn't drooling at the moment...
Although, in this case, I think it actually was the drool that attracted this little pooch to McKinley's face.

One special feature on the property just adjacent to the Dog Mall is this one hundred year old Oak Tree.

There's Ali way down at the base of the tree - so you can see how tall it really is.
We spent some more time just walking around and enjoying the nice weather.
The stores were "oh, so exclusive" with really BIG ADS.

Time to start heading back home because Papa was making dinner!
By the time we got back it had already started to rain again.

Steve Wasco came for dinner, too. It was nice to visit with him.

Saturday was rainy off and on, but Hannah and Stacey had "sunshine in their souls today"
as they got ready for the big Bloomfield Hills "The Best of EFY" day at the Stake Center.

I think Jeff is ready to get going, too?

We were just about to get in the van when McKinley realized we were just about to go off and leave without him!
We had originally planned on just leaving McKinley in the yard while we drove to Bloomfield Hills... but he was pretty clear about his intentions to NOT be left behind. After all, how could we even think about letting him out of our sight after all we'd just been through? - and still being so far away from home? We decided that he did have a pretty good reason for wanting to come ... so we thought better of it and brought him along with us.

Here we are at the Bloomfield Hills Stake Center and that's the Detroit, Michigan Temple in the background. Jeff and I both grew up attending this stake building and never dreamed that one day there would be a Temple standing right next to it.

We went to visit my sister Shelli while the girls were at their activity. Dave came home while we were there and gave Shelli a bouquet of red roses.
"Dave always brings me flowers when he comes home from work" Shelli said.
Today was their anniversary and Shelli hadn't even mentioned it when I called to see if it was alright for us to come over and visit for awhile.
It was fun to see both of them and talk about family and life - as if the miles apart hadn't really separated us. I need to be better about keeping in touch with my sweet little sister.

"Have you gotten taller or have I gotten shorter? Don't answer that..."

Jeff took Ali to Hockey Town to find her just the right sized Red Wings Hoodie. This store is actually right next door to the ice arena where The Red Wings have their practice.
How cool is that?

We picked Hannah and Stacey up from the Dance a lot earlier than we expected because of some pretty urgent sounding requests from their cell phones while they were ( I think) hiding out in the bathroom. They were trying to get away from stalker Michigan boys (who kept showing them where they lived by pointing to different regions of their hands) and danced, (Hannah tried to demonstrate) as if they were having epileptic seizures... and those were the "cool" ones.
(The boys back home in Atlanta never looked so good.)
We were happy to get back to Jeff's parents home earlier than we had expected. We were leaving to drive the 12 to13 hours back to Atlanta in the morning and it would be nice to get a good nights sleep first before starting out.
Despite the traumatic beginning, we enjoyed our visit, as always, with Toye and Russell.
They continue to be great examples of service and self sacrifice for their children and grandchildren. We hope Toye is doing much better by now and getting over her pneumonia and regaining her strength.

It's nearly midnight and time to call this post DONE! Jeff is in Saudi Arabia heading up 3 University projects for The King of Saudi Arabia - King Saud.
(That's "His Excellency" to you and I.) But that's another post for another day. G'night!


rachelmbingham said...

Wow, that's a big dog! Beautiful too. You know, that would actually make a great children's book! The pictures are beautiful...and the story is great from Mickenly's point of view. I really love it. I'm serious. You should get a publisher. It would really make a great picture book. I was also really impressed with the LOST DOG poster. I was invisioning a photo copied, black and white, poor resolution on copy paper...your way was much better. Of course that's what you get with a family full of artists.
Also, Hannah sure looks like you in a lot of those pictures. And you and Shelli are still the pretty ones in the family. I love the pictures of the two of you. Glad you guys got together. I'm excited to see you!

rachelmbingham said...

By the way, that one picture of Mickinley sitting in the corner of those looks like a painting. Very cool.

Chelsea Stebar said...

That was an awesome story. You are so clever, mum! And those pictures are so amazing! The looks on McKinley's face go so perfectly with the story. He's so darn cute. Just seeing these pictures makes me wanna snuggle his lil face. I really love the shots from the bath too, especially the ones of him shaking the water off. And Hannah looks like such a little drama queen. Haha.

Shelli said...

Wendy, great story about Mikinley, you almost had me crying!! But you know that never takes too much. It was so good to see you and Jeff and Ali. I love you all.

Jacko said...

Our family always has such funny stories! It sucked I had a test that day and all I could think about was my lost dog! I was texting people nonstop to pray for McKinely! Its funny now but it so wasn't then! And how bout you stop taking family trips without me? Hm? Why don't you wait until our whole family can do something? I want to have fun too!

Ali Stebar said...

I haven't read this story since like tonight. But it's really good! I like how it is from McKinley's perspective.I love my puppy! I want to go outside and pet him now. I knew you majored in journalism for a while, Mum, but I didn't know you were that good!