The first thing I hear when I answer the phone is, “Did Animal Control call you?”

It’s my cousin. I think back over the day. I did miss a call from some random number in Indiana, but that was unlikely to be Orange County Animal Control. I tell him no.

“Okay. Then I wonder how they got my number? Um, so Kaylee got out…”

Kaylee is my mother’s sweet little shih tzu, who is four years old even though she’s the size of a puppy. My cousin and his wife adopted her when my mom passed. I considered taking her, and part of me really wanted to, but in the end this little dog just takes so much work. Keeping up with her grooming alone was a daunting prospect.

If I couldn’t take her, though, I was ecstatic that she would be going with family. I’d still get to see her some holidays and more often over Facebook. Plus, I would have the peace of mind knowing that this little creature that was so much a part of my mother’s life would be cared for by someone who really understood how important she was: my cousin, who had apparently just lost her.

“Oh no! How?” She’d slipped through the gate, of course. She really is a tiny dog. “If you’d called me, I’d have gladly helped you look for her!”

“Oh, I didn’t want to bother you. I know you’ve got a lot going on right now.” I took this to mean I didn’t want to tell you that I lost your late mother’s precious dog after just a few days of caring for her, so I didn’t press. (He could have also been referring to the fact that my mother’s funeral had been only two days earlier.) Animal Control had picked her up anyway, and he was on the way to go get her. They updated her chip information while they were there.

I reminded him that we’d brought over her playpen that they could set up inside if they wanted (yes, the dog has a playpen; the dog had more possessions in this house than I do), and we hung up.

I haven’t heard that she got out again, but it’s only been two days. Give her some time.


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