Paul, Choppy and I headed to Wisconsin yesterday. On our way, we stopped at my Grandma’s house to see her for a few minutes before continuing on our way; she lives about halfway between our house in Indiana and my parents’ house (our Wisconsin destination).

By this point, Choppy had been in the car for about three hours without a stop; she is used to such trips, but after so much time on the road, she is also seemingly thankful when we get to a destination and she can get out and stretch her legs. When we stop at somewhere familiar to her – like my Grandma’s – she is even more excited, knowing that she’s get a few minutes or even a few hours out of the car.

Yesterday was no exception. We got to my Grandma’s and went in to see her.

Within a few minutes, Choppy was at her patio door, begging to go outside.

I let her outside and stood by the door, watching Choppy wander near my grandma’s patio. Her apartment is on the edge of a small town, surrounded by corn fields and a few houses in the distance; there really isn’t much for a dog to explore out there (or so it seems to me, who is probably unable to smell all the good things to chase. And for this I am thankful).

As I stood there, my grandma spoke up. “You know, she’ll be fine out there. Just let her wander.”

Warily, I took my grandma’s advice and sat back down in my chair. I am used to letting Choppy out on her own when we are in the country – she tends to stick very close to home – so I wasn’t overly worried.

For a few minutes, Paul, my grandma and I talked about recent weddings and events. It was a very pleasant way to spend a few minutes, particularly after what had been a very rainy and unpleasant first few hours on the road.

“You know,” I said once I realized she had been gone a while, “Choppy has been gone a long time.”

I got up from my seat, and went to the patio door. Choppy was nowhere to be seen in the late afternoon overcast light, so I opened the door and began calling her name.

Still no Choppy.

“Sarah,” Paul said from inside, “I think someone is calling you.”

I abandoned my calling for Choppy, and found my purse and phone it held in the apartment. I had missed a call from the local area code. As the only person who regularly calls me from said area code is my grandma, this was odd. Per my amazing powers of deduction (i.e., the ability to recognize that my dog was not anywhere and the phone call had particularly good timing), I decided this meant Choppy had been picked up. Hopefully not by animal control (again – another story for another day).

“Um, I think someone has Choppy.”

“What?” My phone rang again as the two of them questioned my random statement, and I answered it rather than their question about what I was saying.

“Is this Choppy’s owner?” The words of the voice on the other end quickly confirmed what I suspected even without saying it directly: Choppy had been picked up by someone as she wandered around.

Stranger danger? Not for this dog.

“Yes!” I said. “Do you have her?”

“I do.” We exchanged information on where he was, which happened to be the front entrance of my grandma’s apartment complex. I didn’t really even say where I was going before I headed out of the apartment and to the entrance of the complex.

A few minutes later, and an overly excited Choppy was running around inside, while I thanked the person who had picked her up.

As it turns out, this being a small town where my grandma lives, the person who had picked Choppy up was someone I had met many times before and who knows my parents – who grew up in the same town – very well.

Did I mention he used to work with my grandpa?

And that his father lives above my grandma in the apartment complex?

So yeah, embarrassing.

After thanking the man yet again for getting Choppy (and being requested to say hello to my parents for good measure), I took Choppy back to my grandma’s apartment. She seemed overly proud of herself as we walked, running ahead of me and acting as if her adventure was going on the highlight reel of her life to this point.

Needless to say, Choppy didn’t get to go outside any more yesterday while we were at my grandma’s house.

Does this look like a dog who would happily get in a car with strangers? Actually, it really does.
Does this look like a dog who would happily get in a car with strangers? Actually, it really does.

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