I had quite the heart attack this morning. The latch on side gate sprung loose while he was out and I'd gotten distracted because I was running late for work so I didn't realize it until he'd been out 10 minutes. I know the gate was shut when I let him out because that's the first thing I check, so I'm not sure what went wrong. However, Toby has one call (I smooch, shut the door and he has 10 seconds to get up to the door) when he's out back when it's time to come in. It's amazingly enough, a rule structure everyone in my family has kept up with. If he's not there in 10 seconds the shoes go on and someone calmly goes out to fetch him. He rarely, if ever misses a call. Lately however, with the pesky dog out he's been missing a few.
So when I called him this morning I didn't think anything of it. I went out back and checked the fence line for where he might be standing before I realized he wasn't there. Sure enough when I turned around and hurried around the deck... the little gate was standing wide open. I took off after him, but when I didn't see him in immediate sight down the block I started to panic. Trying to think I just did a 'smooch' sound again as I headed in the direction I thought he'd go. I made it two steps before he dive bombed me. Yes!
I'm so proud of him. Thankfully, it was a quiet morning and outside from the normal fenced dogs on the street there'd been nothing for him to get in trouble with. After some cuddles and telling him what an awesome man I thought he was, I let him run up my neighbor's drive way back into our back yard (his biggest reward tends to be getting to run loose again... I can't give him that, but I could at least rev him up and run with him back those last few feet). I'm relieved and thrilled... whew.