White Dog heard the panic in my voice as I rose early and discovered Taiko was missing. She came rushing into the bedroom and the rest of the White Dog Army jumped to red alert before Steve could struggle into clothes or make a cursory look in the bathroom and office.
Our Tender Hearted boy was quickly found...outside...where he had apparently spent a good portion of the night.
Tai had been restless at bedtime and we resettled him several times before he decided to sleep in the door to the hallway. When we turned off the light he was snoring softly...everyone soon joined him.
At some point, Taiko awakened, maybe needing to potty, and had managed to sneak out of the dog door with enough stealth that he did not even disturb Storm who sleeps right at the flap or Zsofia whose kennel is right at the door.
Taiko, once out and in the yard, cannot find his way back into through the dog door without the assistance of Steve or another member of the WDA.
When the group returned the wandering boy to the house and my arms, he shuddered a big sigh of relief. It was clear he was well over notions of any big adventure. I hugged him and thanked everyone for bringing him in. "Sweet Boy," I told him, "you had me VERY worried and you did not sleep a wink. I am glad the weather was dry and warm but what if it rained. I would be distraught to know you were hiding from raindrops and not safe in your bed." Then I gently massaged him as he pressed against me; Steve fed him his medications and helped him into his bed. There did not seem to be any medical issues or pain that would have caused his insomnia. Tai asked if it was ok to have his breakfast late and he fell into a deep sleep until early afternoon.
While he slept we discussed options to prevent a recurrence. We ruled out Zsofia's suggestion of crating him; he is a boy kept chained his entire life and who still has a bad reaction when he feels trapped in a small space. We decided to shift his medication that makes him sleepy to nighttime. Then Bella suggested that maybe he might feel comforted if after walks, after treats, just before lights out when everyone is settling down, that Steve take him out in the yard one last time. "Maybe he just needs to make sure the perimeter is safe and all is quiet before he can relax, After all, he lived outside for so long; the warm weather might be triggering those memories," she thought out loud. We all agreed it was worth a try and was better than either closing down the dog door for everyone or gating him in the bathroom (a cool space he often chooses as a resting spot).
All day we made an extra effort to give Taiko supervised time in the yard to wander in the hopes that the fresh air and increased exercise would help bring on sleep tonight. We will try Bella's suggestion but we will also be prepared to gate him in if he is again sleepless. Paws and fingers crossed, Taiko will give up the notion of midnight strolls.