If life gets any busier, I don’t know what. I feel like I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride the past several months and now I’m starting to get nauseous.  Ever fee like that?

The one bright spot in my chaotic life is my cats and my Midgie, but lately that’s been stressful too.

Everything was going along fine after I found DB a home. Life was peaceful and my cats were happy.

Then the stray dog showed up.

I didn’t see him at first, but cats did.  Every time they went outside, ears went up, tails poofed out and soon they were all up on the back deck staring into the woods.  At first, I thought it must be a coyote or a fox, or my neighbor’s dogs. But Joanie’s dogs are aging and they don’t wander like they used to so I didn’t think it was them, but something was eating RJ’s food every night.

Well whatever it was freaked Simon, Rosie and Rusty out.  Simon now lives with Joanie. He decided he’d rather live on her back deck and sleep in the Igloo dog house she has out there for her other “stray” than live with me where there’s stray dogs hanging around.  Rusty too and Rosie just disappeared.

Joanie is good people and she loves Simon so I’m not upset about that.  I think he’s getting raw shrimp over there. Can’t beat that. He’d never get it here. ..too many mouths to feed.  He’s got a good home with her. ..but Rosie was gone. I was sure she had been chased by the “ghost dog” as I came to call him, or she was picked off by wildlife looking for a meal.

Then I saw the dog.  One morning around 5a I’m putting food out on the deck for RJ and there he is, standing in my driveway looking at me.  He was a handsome fellow. About 35lbs, white with big brown spots. Some kind of Pit mix.  I called to him. He wagged his tail. I called again. He slowly came forward. Soon I was petting his head and talking to him.  But he didn’t stay. He apparently had somewhere he had to be and off he trotted into the woods.  He wasn’t skinny or dirty. Eyes clear and bright. But no collar, no name tag, not neutered.  Nothing to indicate where he came from.

Meantime, Rosie was still gone.  I searched. I called. I searched. I called. I put up signs with her photo. I asked neighbors if they had seen her. Nothing.

Two Friday nights ago, I was again putting food out for RJ around dusk and Ghost Dog came trotting through the yard.  I called to him. “Hey dog.”  He stopped, turned around, wagged his tail.  I called again. He slowly came toward me. “Don’t I know you?” his expression seemed to say.  “Oh yeah, I remember, how y’doin’?”  He followed me back to the back deck and waited while I went in and got a pouch of Pupperoni’s – Midige’s favorite treat.  For two hours that night, as the sun slowly disappeared and was replaced by the moon – dog and I talked as I fed him one beef stick after another.

He was a nice fellow. Young, not more than a year old.  He liked me and being at my house. I can’t help but think he’s been “living” with me in the woods and I’ve been inadvertently feeding him for weeks.

Eventually, I was able to pick him up and put him in my car.  I called my friend Jennifer who by 10p on a Friday night was already snug in her favorite easy chair, blanketed on either side by foster dogs and on her lap by a sleeping cat,  surfing the net.  Yet she kindly agreed to meet me halfway and took Ghost Dog into her foster care program.  He’s doing find and should make someone a great family dog.

But still, no Rosie.  I finally gave up and decided I’d never see her again. I only hoped she wasn’t dead but like Simon, had gone to someone’s house and insinuated herself.  As pretty as she is, it wouldn’t be hard for some kind soul to take her in.

Rusty has come back, but he doesn’t stay long except to eat a decent meal and then leave. I figured he either knew where Rosie was and was going back to her or was grieving for her.  Rosie is Rusty’s mom and they are devoted to one another.

Then today I saw her.  I left work early, not feeling well.  The change of season with the damp rain always does me in this time of year.  When I pulled into the driveway, there she was in the back.  She looked fine, not skinny or dirty or wounded, but obviously still upset.  At least she made the decision to try to come back home.  I tried not to get too excited and scare her off.  I wanted to run to her and scoop her up in my arms, but I knew she’d never let me do that.

So I walked Midgie  hoping she would follow as she normally did, but no.  When we got back, she was on the front deck, meowing, looking into RJ’s bowl for food, but he had eaten it all.   I couldn’t persuade her to come inside and when she saw RJ, she hissed and ran back into the woods.

At least I know she’s alive and well. All I can do now is hope she decides to come back for good. I’ve put food out for her. Perhaps she’s been coming around at night and eating out of his bowl.

I’m getting ready to move within the next couple months and I certainly don’t want to leave her or Rusty behind, and won’t.  Time will tell.