There are a few ways one can get on a first name basis with police.
- Become a criminal.
- Volunteer for the police.
- Make two phone calls in one week.
As much as we had no desire to be on a first name basis with police it happened. Anonymity was not in the cards for us. We went with option #3.
A week ago on Saturday we put the kids to bed prior to our weekly date night to the grocery store. As we pulled out onto the street a white truck made a U-turn behind us. The move concerned Heath. He kept looking behind him saying how strange it was. I suggested we turn back into our circle.
As we came around the corner we saw the truck parked on the street across from our house. The driver was still inside. Cell phone glow partially illuminated the inside of the cab. He was a white male in his early 20’s. He kept his head down and turned away from the window while he busied himself on his cell phone.
Heath drove out of the circle and up to the next in an attempt to give the kid enough time to do whatever he was planning on doing. Personally I don’t think we gave him enough time but that being said, I didn’t want him breaking in while my babies slept. When we came back through the circle the same way we went out we saw that the kid was still sitting in his truck.
What in the world was he doing? Our neighbors across the street have children in their early 20’s. Between those kids and their friends that visit from time to time, we recognize the pickup trucks that park across the street from our driveway. I have never seen anyone park in that spot and not immediately get out of the truck to head for the house.
What in the world was this guy doing? Why did he make a U-turn in front of our house to be facing the direction he was? Why was he still sitting in his truck? Was he casing the neighborhood or was he waiting to make a drug deal with someone coming through the trail pass through?
The stakes were too high to wait and see. We pulled back in the garage, shut the door, and called the police. It was a low priority call but I was hoping an officer would show up sooner than they did. I had to go to the grocery store before it closed at midnight and became Sunday. So Heath stayed behind ready to call me with an update. Two police SUV’s were cruising down the road to nowhere so I called Heath to let him know they were on their way.
Keep in mind my agoraphobia. Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite jobs. There are too many choices on the shelves that I become overwhelmed quickly. I congratulate myself on the fact that I can shop now. That was not always the case. I was on high alert and had to keep reminding myself of the benefits of late night grocery shopping.
Shopping late at night is nice because the only other people in the store are young partiers out for an obvious beer run. They wander the store loudly talking as they pick up beer and snacks. They don’t bother us and we don’t bother them. The other nice thing about shopping so late is we have developed a friendship with the store employees. They recognize us and know we will chat with them while they scan our food. I was a little embarrassed to have to shop by myself. I wasn’t sure what to say if our favorite friendliest employee saw me alone. The story was so weird.
I shopped as quickly as possible only buying enough food for Sunday’s dinner. Heath promised we could finish our shopping later. Meanwhile back at the Circle Showdown, the cops came at that truck from both sides lighting the place up like Grand Central Station. By then the kid had left the truck. Heath suggested they look on the trail behind our house. Still nothing.
They did run the kid’s plates. The truck was registered in a nearby city and the kid only had a couple minor traffic stops on his record. There was nothing else to do at that point. The police thanked Heath for calling and said if anything weird happens this kid would be their first suspect. The truck was gone early the next morning and I haven’t seen it since. Case closed.
Heath felt stupid for being so concerned he called the cops. I kept telling him that it was fine. Heath is not a worrywart like me. The fact that he got a bad feeling from this kid and his suspicious behavior concerned me. I thought reporting it to the police was perfectly valid. Other than tattling on drivers who block our driveway during busy sporting event weekends at the park, Heath has never called the police before.
Little did we know a week later he would be on the phone with them again at 3:00 am. A strange sound woke me up. It almost sounded like something had fallen off a desk. I assumed all was well and tried to go back to sleep. But the sound kept coming. The more I listened the more I woke up. The sound was coming from outside but what in the world was it? And why at 3:00 am?
“Heath! What is that?” The words came out in a loud whisper before I could stop them. I don’t know if he had woken to the sound or not but he was certainly awake then. After several seconds of intense listening in the dark he concluded that it was Penny, our neighbor’s dog. “She’s trying to jump the fence. I can hear her panting between the sounds.”
It didn’t make sense. Penny is their baby. They would never leave her outside overnight. Even if they did I can’t imagine why they weren’t aware of the racket she was making in their backyard. Our persimmon tree blocks our view of their yard until the leaves fall off. A light shone in their yard outlining the tree leaves. It didn’t stay on long though. Finally there was one long and loud crashing sound then only panting for a long time.
The dog had successfully jumped the fence. I was impressed. Penny is a tiny little terrier mix. Who knew she could jump so well? Not knowing what else to do, we stared out the windows into our dark backyard. The panting moved from side to side of our yard. I caught a glimpse of the dog as it passed a spot dimly lit by moonlight. It was definitely not Penny.
It was a shaggy sandy colored dog of medium size. I only saw it for a second and I doubt I could pick out the dog from a lineup. But I saw enough to know it was definitely a dog and most certainly not Penny. Ok, so now we have some weird dog in our backyard. Now what?
Given the early time we didn’t think anyone would answer at Animal Control. So Heath called the police. He always repeats the person’s name when he calls someone. The name sounded familiar. It was entirely possible the call was answered by the same woman who took the first call a week ago. I wonder if she recognized us.
“Hi Betsy, we had a dog break into our yard and it is now actively trying to break out on the other side!”
Information was taken down and we were promised an officer would be sent. Sleep wasn’t going to happen. The sound alone was too hard to ignore plus we had to wait for an officer to walk into our backyard at some unknown future time.
Betsy said a labradoodle was reported missing. What little I saw in the moonlight seemed to fit the description of the missing dog. I wonder how many yards this dog had escaped from before getting to ours.
More and more time passed between the crashing sound of desperate claws on wooden slats. We didn’t even notice when it stopped altogether. The panting continued only it was outside our yard. We were shining flashlights into the yard. Which is tricky to do. That dog was pacing behind our apple tree and not in front of it. All the sounds were there but no dog. Then we heard a distinctive splashing sound.
Heath got back on the phone to call off the officer. He reported that the dog had jumped the fence and it sounded like the dog had gone to the bottom of the ditch because we could hear splashing.
We were content in knowing if there was a reward we wouldn’t get it. Houdini Dog had escaped again. Can you imagine what that dog must have been thinking? I want to know where it lived. How far down the street was it jumping fence after fence until it finally found a way out of the maze of backyards? That must have been a relief for Houdini. Free at last!
When I got up for the day I looked out the window at the spot where Houdini had to have escaped. You would never know anything happened. Heath went outside and inspected the fence. No signs of dog struggles. We’re both so tired we have wondered many times if maybe we both had the same strange dream!
The lesson we have all learned is that police get really strange calls and labradoodles can jump. I just want to sleep tonight not worrying about the safety and security of my neighborhood.