I woke up this morning to a loud thud. It startled me, but I went back to sleep. Then I realzed the dogs weren't onlthe bed. I got up. I walked to the kitchen, and the door was wide open! I looked out the open door, and saw the back gate was wide open! Oh my God, it took a moment to realize, but then it sunk in -- my dogs were gone! I live in the city! I live near some very busy steets! I was terrified my dogs would end up hit by a car! I immediately threw on some clothes and went looking for them. I cme back and got the car. I looked for over an hour. I came back to see if anyone had found them (from their tags) and had called the house. Now I guess in my head I thought maybe I hadn't closed the door tight and the wind had opened it. I have a very old house, so it is possible. But I am a finantic about the gate. I couldn't imagine how it got open. As I walked in the house, I saw the crowbar marks on the back door. Oh my gosh, the thud I heard had been a burglar breaking in! Now the real panic set in -- had the dogs gone after the burglar, or did the burglar steal the dogs? (They are both purebreds.) I spent the next 4 hours driving up and down the streets of my neighborhood, through the city park, at the area surrounding the zoo, at the boat launch -- I called their names until my voice was hoarse. I came home and phoned Animal Welfare. They said they hadn't picked them up but to drive out and fill out missing dog reports. I called the microchip company and notified them the dogs were missing, which led to them faxing a missing dog poster to every vet in the area. I called the school and was so upset I couldn't tell them what happened. I just said "I'm dealing with an emergency -- I'll be there when I can get there." (Thank goodness my colleages took care of my students!) Finally, in total dispare, I head to the Animal Welfare office. As I was driving, I thought, you know there's a road behind the city park where the employees and buses park. I didn't go down there. So I detoured and drove down there. All the way at the end, by the waterfront, I saw two city vans and an Animal Welfare van. I jumped out and ran over (well, as close to running as I could do) and asked if they'd seen 2 dogs. The officer pointed, and there, stood one of my beautiful dogs, covered in mud and briar. They had cornered him against the water, and he had jumped into the river to get away! They had been trying for 1/2 an hour to catch him. They said he wouldn't come to anyone. I called out his name, and all of the sudden his whole body "wagged." He swam in, dragged over the mud, and ran to me -- almost knocking me over! I was happy to have him, and put him in the car. Sadly, I said, "What about my other dog, and I described her." The officer said "Oh, I already have her on the truck!" and got her and handed her to me! I've never felt such happiness and relief! My dogs are like my children. I did end up taking my big dog to the vet -- as he ws shaky and limping -- I was so afraid he had been hit by a car before I got there, but the vet said he hadn't -- that he was just physically exhausted and stiff from the cold water. We got him warmed up, and she game me some pain pills to give him and said let him rest for a few days. I don't care that somebody tried to break in! The repairman came and fixed the door, and eventually, I went to school, only to find my students were fine and having a great time being taught by the gifted specialist. Fortuantely for me, my administrators are all dog lovers so they totally understood. (I had, at least, called in.) So anyway, what a stressful, terrible, terrfying day! Thank goodness it had a happy ending!