White Dog went into the bedroom and stood there wagging her tail. "Sweetie, we already looked in here. Go find Oso!"
Michael came out of his cave shortly before dark to take Oso out for a break. I was working in the office and barely paid attention as he walked past and down the hall. I got a little curious about the third time he made the same circuit and in round four, he stopped in the doorway to ask, "Have you seen Oso?"
Now my Little Old Man is not much of a walker and in fact, was having one of his wobbly days. He does not use the dog door because it requires too much coordination to push the flap, lift his feet over the sill, and pass through. Our house is not big and access to the basement, where Michael's room is, has a protective gate to block access to the stairway. The rest of the White Dog Army were accounted for.
"Did you remember to bring him in last time you had him out?" I asked as the momma panic started to rise. "I did, and I laid him on his blanket in the living room. He is not there." A quick look in all of the office hiding places...deep in the closet...under Steve's desk...next to Puff's O2 kennel...behind the storage bins...ruled out his napping invisibly in the room where I worked.
Michael looked again under the sofa and behind the watching chairs in White Dog's fortress. I heard him go out of the front door even though there was absolutely no possibility that OAWD had "escaped." I was getting a little nervous. Oso seldom barks and even when, with his dementia, he gets himself lost or in trouble he just patiently, silently waits to be found and rescued...but offers no clue in finding him.
Steve luckily pulled up then to lend sanity and and an extra pair of eyes to the search. Steve retraced ground we had already been over. "I hope nothing horrible has happened," Michael panicked. "Like what if he is dying or something and needs our help." This was EXACTLY what I did not need to hear but when he gets upset his autism pushes his thinking and outbursts to those type of statements. Steve sent him outside to the yard to check again there, reminding him to look behind the storage shed and under the deck.
Meanwhile I could hear Steve pulling furniture away. The WDA followed him from room to room all going nose down to peer under things along with him as he dropped to the ground to not miss anything. "We need to dust," he joked pulling out a dust T-Rex from under his dresser. He saw I was NOT laughing.
"What have we here?" Steve asked. From down the hall I could see him pulling the bedroom chair away from the wall. "How ever did you get yourself back here? You are stuck, aren't you, Oso Bear? In just a minute I'll have you out."
White Dog ran into the office to tell me SHE had known all along and tried to tell me as Steve cuddled the trembling Oso and talked lightly to him. Michael came in and before he found us, I could hear him curse himself for "losing Oso." "You didn't lose him," Steve calmly said, "he got himself into his predicament and now he is found and safe. Go take a few minutes and relax."
"You had momma VERY worried," Steve told O as he stroked under his chin. "Yes, brother, because of you she is going to have even MORE grey hairs when she celebrates her birthday this weekend."
Steve placed my little boy in my arms. I kissed the top of his head and just held him. "Getting old is sometimes such a challenge, isn't it Little Man?" I whispered.