That feeling where your stomach feels like it becomes part of your esophagus, where you break into a cold sweat, and you miss one or two breaths.
That was the moment this morning where we walked around the corner to our house after church and found the door wide open.
My first thought took me back to night when I was a kid and our house was broken into. To go in, to not go in. I could see from the walkway that the TV was still on it’s stand. Go in.
Second thought, the dogs aren’t here.
Where are they? Did we leave the door open? Did we leave them in the room? The garage? No, No, No.
I know, they are just dogs. No, they are family. Day in day out, they show up, they show excitement, and they are a royal pain in the butt. But they are family.
Run. Car. Drive. Fast. Search.
Seconds turned to minutes, minutes turned to more as we drove the neighborhood asking neighbors and friends “Have you seen 2 dogs?”
Where could they be? They wouldn’t go far would they? Why don’t they just come back?
They always come back.
Walk. Ride Bike. More Friends.
Are they ok? Lying somewhere hurt?
Brittany rode a bike down by the river while I walked the neighborhood asking each and every person, “Have you seen our 2 dogs?”
No. No. No.
More miles. More gallons. More Friends.
Brittany walked the river while our friend Brian and I searched through the brush.
Paddington, Leo. Here boys!
What if they don’t come back?
One phone, led to another phone call, one neighbor to family member, to a neighbor, back to us.
They had been seen. Down by the river. It had been a while, but someone had seen them.
Run. Grab shorts. Grab leashes. Drive.
Brian and I followed the neighbor back to her place, down the hillside and there across the river was our puppies.
Breathe. Relief. Rescue.
I raced down the hill, turned to our neighbor said “I apologize, but I am about to change right here.” Laughing she responded, “honey I am old enough to be your mother.”
Change. Throw Clothes. Jump in.
One foot after the other I carefully waded across the Harpeth River, Brian followed behind me in his clothes.
The boys were scared, they were muddy, they were anxious. They were waiting to be rescued.
The water was cold, but not too cold.
The current was swift, but not too swift.
The rocks were sharp, but not too sharp.
Step. Step. Shore.
Now came the tricky part. How to get the boys back to the other side? They certainly weren’t swimming, it seemed that carrying them would be the only way.
Brian took Paddington and I picked up Leo and carefully we began to cross back to the other side.
Brittany arrived by that time and raced down the hill into the water.
Step. Step. Step.
As I placed Leo on the hillside and ran him up through the brush, Brittany and Brian worked to carefully bring Paddington out of the water. (He’s not exactly what we would call light.)
The rescue was over, but the story was just beginning. Not with the dogs, there was something else going on there.
As we talked and joked with our neighbor and her high school daughter about the whole experience it came up that a couple of us work at CrossPoint.TV
Her response. ” We’ve been thinking about going there.”
Of course you have. “We would love to have you come to our student ministry event this Wednesday night!”
Invited. Connected. Introduced.
The boys are doing ok tonight. Extremely tired and 62 ticks and counting and our hope is that this adventure is over.
It has been an extremely long day, but we are so thankful that they are ok and for the amazing friends and neighbors who cared, who drove, who searched, and who were there, even when they didn’t have to be.