Further discussion of Val's epiphany has been tabled in order to bring you this breaking news:
JUNO HAS BEEN FOUND!
Juno is the doggie we rescued from my mom, who found her dumped in the yard, all of three weeks old, and proceeded to NOT FEED HER because she didn't want her hanging around. Anyway, Juno is now a year old, healthy as a horse, a long-haired, black, border collie/lab mix, all legs and human hazel eyes and feathery tail.
Oh, you didn't know that Juno was missing? NEITHER DID WE! She's an outside pet. Most mornings she comes a-runnin' to lick my hand goodbye as I leave for school. In the evenings, she darts under the garage door to eat a mouthful of cat food before I get out of the car. We have a regular lovefest on the porch under the breezeway. This afternoon, Juno was not there. Neither were the other two dogs, so I thought they must be out running around.
This evening, The Pony put off collecting the eggs when we got home. For the last couple of months, it has been THE EGG. But the hens have started laying again. Hick found a whole chicken-butt-load of them in the dry leaves under the pool steps just outside the basement door. So we're back up to eight eggs a day. At 5:30, I told The Pony to get out there and get the eggs before it was dark. His proposal to use a flashlight later fell on unsympathetic ears. He can only garner so much sympathy for that atrocious haircut that I made him get.
The Pony returned to gloat. "It's a good thing I waited to get the eggs. One minute earlier, and we wouldn't have had that last one. It was still hot. I scared the chicken right off it. She jumped up, and there it was. She ran screaming all the way from the chicken pen to the back yard." Normally, Juno goes with The Pony to fetch the eggs. Whether for companionship, or in hopes that he will trip on a root and bounce one out of his red-and-green Easter basket, I'm not sure. The Pony did not mention Juno.
Hick got home late, ate supper, and commanded The Pony to accompany him to feed the goats, check on the three new kids, and work on a board for his science project in the BARn. The Pony returned to the house around 7:00. "JUNO WAS LOCKED IN THE BARn! She's been there since the last time Dad was in there. That was yesterday afternoon around 4:00. Now that I think of it, she didn't come out of her house this morning when I threw that meat out on the back porch. She's been there all day! And last night!"
"Oh, no! Is she all right? Can she still bark? Or did she make herself hoarse trying to get somebody to let her out?"
"She seems okay to me. In fact, she's really, really happy, bouncing around and playful."
That sounds like sunny Juno on an ordinary day. I'm glad she was not traumatized. I suppose the trade-off for a night in a heated BARn is a very late breakfast at 7:00 p.m. Poor, poor Juno. She's a social butterfly with people and other animals. Plus, her plastic chicken with only one foot was laying in the yard all alone. She plays with it every day. It's a good thing The Pony is pushing his project to the wire. Juno might not have been found for another day or two. Usually we notice when an animal is missing. Hick has locked up other pets in the BARn. That's the first place we look. This holiday weekend had us all discombobulated.
After a tasty repast of dry dogfood, and a bowl of fresh water, Juno was happily reunited with her canine companions. They are, no doubt, snuggled into a single house by the kitchen door, on a nest of cedar shavings, awaiting 2:00 a.m., when they burst forth and bark for five nonstop hours.