Our cul-de-sac is quiet during the day, and at night, it is eerily silent. But as soon as he meandered into the street, I walked down and told him to come back.
He looked at me and darted back toward the house. Webster, a purebred Wheaten terrier whom we rescued from a puppy mill, is the Usain Bolt of our street. Boy can he run ... and leap.
Webster began roaming between our yard and the neighbors'. Again, I called him. He ignored me. Then I walked toward him. He looked in the distance, perhaps seeing something. He bolted.
This had happened before, so I figured I'd find him and implore him to return. I looked. No Webster. My wife soon joined me. No Webster. We got in our car and perused the neighborhood. No Webster.
An hour later, we gave up. He was gone.
Later that day, we walked the neighborhood. No Webster. We walked through the neighborhood in front of us. No Webster. We walked the woods behind us. No Webster.
He was lost. At 30 pounds, maybe 20 inches high, we believed he would stand out, with white fur accented with flecks of brown, gold and black.
A day later, we mobilized friends and family. Michael McCrady, our art director here at Tire Business, designed a lost dog poster. Our friends, Dave Zielasko, the former publisher and editor at Tire Business who is now with the Tire Industry Association, and his wife, Gwen, took care of printing 100 copies of the flier and delivered them to our door.
My wife posted Webster missing on the Nextdoor Neighbor app. I posted it on multiple pages on Facebook, including area lost-and-found pet sites, asking people to share it. We drove around, informing neighbors and strangers alike.
Our adult children and other family members also canvassed the neighborhoods.
We called all of the dog pounds, vets and humane societies in the area. My wife even called trash collectors, asking them to keep an eye out for our dog.
Lost Pet Recovery, a volunteer organization, initiated a conversation with us through Facebook. They offered a ton of great suggestions. They even provided a map of high-traffic intersections in our area where we should post signs.
A day later, a volunteer from Lost Pet Recovery dropped off signs and fluorescent poster board. The next day, my wife spent hours putting together, then posting, the large signs asking for help to get Webster home again.
In all, we posted more than 60 signs and fliers.
Three days later, my wife, searching a tree farm, saw something white in the distance. She called me. I rushed over. False alarm. It was white trash in the distance.
Four days later. Nothing. No sightings. My Facebook post had been shared an astounding 2,700-plus times.
Then early Thursday morning, my phone rang. The woman said she thought her family had seen Webster, walking from house to house.
My wife dressed and was ready before I ended the conversation. We jumped in our car and journeyed to the allotment, about four miles away. The woman's husband said the dog had run off, but he had taken a photo.
It was, indeed, Webster.
We drove to the adjoining neighborhood. My wife's eagle eyes saw Webster in the distance, and she jumped out of the car. She approached him. He ran. She approached him again. He ran again.
I drove to a nearby school, where he seemed to be headed. There was some brush next to a drive, and I began calling his name.
Suddenly, a white head popped out of the brush, staring at me. I started to walk toward him until I remembered a video that Lost Pet Recovery had shared with me. So I took that advice.
I turned and headed toward our vehicle, knowing it was familiar to him. He began walking toward the car, as I called his name. I opened the car door, and said, "C'mon, Webster, let's go home."
He jumped in willingly. Success. We had our dog back.
Webster was dirty, tired and lost several pounds. According to our vet, he swallowed some bones, perhaps while forging for food. But he's doing well.
We've been scolded countless times from pet people about letting him loose without a leash. Lesson learned.
If you find yourself troubled during these unprecedented times, keep in mind some of the good news around you.
Webster is home again.