losses & gains

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Mr. Bikini went missing last night. I was browning two quartered chickens when the phone rang. It was Phil calling from the hiking trail behind our house. "The kids are fine, but I need you to come down here… Bikini just ran off, and I can’t find him." 

It was getting dark. I used my lungs. We called after Kini for an hour. Nothing. Not even a whisper of a whine. "What happened?"

"He was running with Abigail, maybe twenty feet ahead, then he’d circle back, but he was with us the whole time, then all of a sudden, when we were deep, really deep in the forest, Bikini acted like he’d just been shocked, just let out a series of pained yelps, then he darted off. I mean, like, out of sight, completely. I kept calling for him, but he was far gone."

I walked the beans back up the trail while Phil continued to search. As I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey to the chicken, inappropriate thoughts kept poking up. Would we get another dog? What would we tell the sprouts? How would Megan take it? What if a coyote eats him, that sweet sweet lump of a love dog?  Phil returned empty-handed. "Nothing. I just can’t find him. He can be miles from here at this point." He wasn’t wearing his collar. Yes, Mr. Bikini has a microchip implanted with our contact information, but that would mean someone would have had to find him, then take him to a vet, where they’d need to scan him. It’s not a tracking device. What if something eats him?

We hear an ambulance in the near distance. All I can think is what if someone swerved to avoid hitting Mr. Bikini?

Phil took the car and circled the neighborhood, enlisting the help of neighbors, who checked all the cul-de-sac’s. Phil returned home. Nothing. No Kini. I suggested we put out flyers and began to draft one. Phil grabbed a flashlight. I added the lemon juice and saffron. What will we do?

Just then Phil returned, "Do you want to hug him, or should I?"

"Oh my God?! You found him! Where was he?"

"He found me. He was at the top of our trail, just standing there, waiting."

After hugs and dog smooches, Bikini sacked out on the floor, as we ate dinner… with all the doors closed. 

A YEAR AGO: This is NOT a Halloween post



  1. I’m glad you got him back! I don’t know if there’s anything I find sadder than “lost puppy” posters… well within the realm of normal-life-sad-things anyhow.

  2. It is amazing how dogs really become part of the family. Your heart sinks when you think something has happened to them…and then even worse to have to tell the kids. He is a cute dog and I am glad you found him. Is Mr. Bikini in his teenage years by any chance? He sure gave you some gray hair last night.

  3. Okay, I am a beagle owner and even though now Dave (my beagle) is blind, diabetic and overweight (and has the microchip as well) I still always take him on a leash.
    Beagles follow their noses so no matter how well trained they are, at a moment’s notice they can take off running like that if they hit a scent.
    Pleeease put him on a leash from now on. My heart skipped a beat reading this.
    On another note, he’s gotten so big! His colors are beautiful.

    1. I second what Julie said! I’ve had dogs all my life & even the most trained, docile family dogs I would keep on a leash. I had a beagle once, too, and beagles are INFAMOUS for taking off at any moment. Males even more so than females. It’s just in their blood to follow a trail and the instinct will always be stronger than any amount of training. And leash or no (though please always leash!) keeping a collar on him at all times will make him a little easier to catch if someone spotted him and he wasn’t ready to be caught.

      So glad he came back & is safe and sound!

  4. Once had a false alarm with my dog years ago. We were positive she ran outside when a door opened. After a few desperate, miserable hours she reappeared in the kitchen – she must have gotten stuck somewhere. While hugging her I distincly recall saying “you little fck”

    Hoping all works out for LB!

  5. I was going to state the exact same thing–you ALWAYS should have a beagle (or any hound) on a leash, just like Julie says, as any scent hound will take off once they find a scent. That yipping noise is a sign that he found a scent.

    Glad he is back! Losing a dog, even for an hour, is awful.

  6. First of all…he is absolutely precious! He really is handsome!

    And second of all…What in the world!?!?! I would totally freak if my dog ran off….actually I totally freak all the time cuz she loves to run off down the block….but she always comes right back.

    Still I remember one day I was cooking with my mom and the doorbell rings. I go answer it and my neighbor is standing there holding my Yorkie (who is 12 lbs …she’s big, not fat…and also has a microchip!). I was so confused…she must’ve followed my dad out the door and my dad must’ve not noticed.

    The weird thing is the though my neighbor brought her back and she was not “lost” per say…my heart still sank because she COULD’VE been lost.

    I can only imagine what you went through last night and I’m just so glad he found you guys!

    Now…I don’t know if it was necessarily a good idea to hug and kiss him…he might take that as praise for running away. But in the heat of the moment I probably would’ve done the same.

  7. What a relief! Damn pets. I’ve spent the morning wasting some pretty expensive pills that my cat has yakked up one after another. Bikini is a beautiful boy.

  8. Please keep the collar on him at all times… microchips aren’t something that everyone knows about yet, especially the less affluent. There are far too many people out there who would just keep a purebred w/ no collar or try and sell him b/c they assume he’s homeless. :(

    1. Excuse me?! I’m definitely in the category of “less affluent” and take huge offense to your statement. I own no pets and still know about micro-chipping. Oh, and I’m also not college-educated. How on earth could that be possible? Easily, Haley. I LIKE TO READ. Next time you’re about to assume all poor people are stupid, think again. Just because I can’t afford jewelry from Tiffany doesn’t mean I’m not aware of it. Just because I can’t afford a lot of things doesn’t mean I would steal them from other people. You ignorant, elitist asshole.

      1. I don’t think she was saying poor people are stupid at all. I think she was just saying that many non-pet owners (myself included) don’t know about microchips. And even many pet owners don’t know, and can’t afford them if they do. My college roommate picked up a stray dog and owns him to this day, so not everyone goes to a breeder, or pet store, or shelter to get their pets. And not everyone takes care of their animals like they should, so assuming that they would find out through a vet (about the microchip) isn’t a guarantee.

        Since you stated your education status, I’ll state mine, I’m currently in my third year of law school (with loans, of course. Not rich at all). I don’t think there is anything elitist about this statement at all. And at this point in my education I’m trained to look at all different sides of a statement. I just don’t see it. I think you are being overly sensitive to someone who was informing stephanie that not everyone knows what a pet microchip is.

        Feel free to reply if you find fault with what I said and call me an elitist asshole as well. Because, you know, cursing always gets a clear and concise point across.

        1. ummm notice how you haven’t graduated YET. And even if you did there are good lawyers and bad lawyers out there.

          Think back to your 5th grade logic class.
          If A=C and A means B will happen…then C also means B will happen.
          A being people don’t know about microchips
          C being the “less affluent”
          B being people will steal the dog or sell it

  9. I like pet rocks. I just can’t imagine taking care of one more, single, living thing.

  10. Why no collar??? Ralph Lauren has a collar on his dog – also named Bikini, which is where you got the idea for your dog’s name anyway.

  11. Haley, you, are the reason I hate people and the people who procreate people like yourself. Stephanie…I enjoy reading your blog-and will continue to read, keep on dear girl.

    -less affluent than Haley

    1. Lighten up, Helen! What Haley said is true, many people would not return a purebred dog. Around here, purebred dogs are stolen off porches and tie-outs and resold. I know people who have found a “stray” dog, fallen in love with it, and never tried to find the owner. And microchips are not always accurate, as every brand of microchip has a different reader wands and not many pounds/vets can afford to buy every reader wand out there. The only way to make sure they do not run off is to have them on a leash. I thought Haley made a good point.

      1. The problem many of us saw in Haley’s statement was that she claimed the “less afluent” to be the more ignorant ones when you just can’t generalize like that. And then goes on to say that “many people” will keep the dog or try to sell it ….and if she really believed her first statement about the “less afluent” then that means that in her second statement she means the “less afluent” would be the ones keeping the dog or selling it (cuz really…why would a rich person sell a dog?).

        Point is…you can’t make generalizations of that nature. Just because we don’t stuff our dogs into Gucci bags and buy them blinged out collars does not mean we don’t know about what a dog can mean to a person/family or that we don’t know about things like microchipping.

        I could just as easily make a generalization that poor people are more likely to get their dogs microchipped because they can’t afford to lose the dog and can’t afford to just say “oh hey…maybe we’ll just buy a new dog”.

        I’m sure people wouldn’t like a statement like that….now would they?

  12. All dogs should be kept on a leash, especially hounds and hunters like Beagles always searching for a track and scent! Please be a responsible dog owners and keep the little fellow on a leach at all times.

  13. Oh. My.
    My heart stopped.

    I’m not a mom but I have a dog. I don’t know what I would have done. That’s the scariest thing to ever happen. My dog ran out the door once, as I was taking him for a walk. He’s huge and we live by a major street. I was terrified he’d run into traffic before my eyes in winter, after a snowfall with all that ice, but he just kept running until he stopped to come back to me with this huge smile on his face.

    I’m so glad you got him back.

  14. Simmer down, Helen. Haley is right–any dog that is out and about should have a collar with identifying information on at ALL TIMES…no ifs, ands or butts about it. Even the best trained dog has his/her own agenda and given the chance, will act upon it. That usually means leaping and bounding away from it’s owners at top speed. Ever heard of a one track mind? What does Helen’s suggestion have to do with you continuing to read this blog? As a dog lover and responsible pet owner, I have had both of my dogs microchipped (not always 100% effective and they have the tendency to migrate) but would never dream of walking them outside without a leash. To be honest, it’s extremely annoying when other dog owners let their dogs run loose. Every other person walking outside cannot be deemed dog friendly: respect the outdoors and keep your dogs in control and at your side. It’s only fair and you’ll never have to worry about the heart ache of loosing a family member that you love.

  15. Wow, I didn’t mean to upset people. What I was trying to say without really saying it is that in this part of Texas, there are lots of people who live in poverty and don’t even know they should be vaccinating and spaying/neutering their dogs, much less microchipping. It is a big issue in this area and leads to lots of sick strays and animal shelters full of puppies. There is also a problem with purebred dogs being stolen and resold. I was trying, in a thoughtlessly worded sentence, to warn Stephanie that if someone not educated about microchips found Kini she may not ever see him again because they’ve never even heard of implanting a chip in a dog.

    I’m far from affluent myself, I’m sorry you were all offended.

  16. Against my better judgement. Soli, And Audrey, all that dog walking isn’t doing you any good, or at least your reading skills. Go back to see Dick Run, and work your way up from there.

    Haley, I’m not sure whether or not you are affluent, but I am reasonably sure, you are stoopid, your kind of stoopidity doesn’t deserve the “u”. Elitist asshole is a bit harsh, however I can see how in this case it fits like a glove.

    Haley I’m not affluent but I fuck like I’m being paid for it, and you?

  17. Collars and leashes, for cryin’ out loud.

    And heaven forbid you let your chicken go unseasoned while you look for him.

    1. Good point, exactly what I was thinking. The family pet is lost, but must cook the chicken.

        1. OK, yes, after reading your update I understand. But since really the dogs we have are MINE it would be me out there yelling screaming and doing the cruising! Screw dinner..

          I have my dog and the daughters have theirs.. Like another child..

  18. It has come to my attention that I should have minded my P’s + Q’s with you Haley, however, Haley ignorance is not an excuse. Less than affluent people need love too.. Soli + Audrey I stand by my comments. You are dumber than my cousin who wanted to fly to London without a passport. That dumb.

    The truth be known poor people fuck better than affluent people. I can quantify that, if quantification is necessary.


  19. Can we all just agree that microchipping is not universally known, and that, no matter their socioeconomic status, there are people out there who wouldn’t try to return an animal to its owners?

    I personally would not check to see if an animal was microchipped unless it had a tag on its collar that said so. I found a dog once with a tag with a number to call- I called the number, they alerted the family, everyone lived happily ever after. But if I find an animal with no collar, my first thought is probably going to be angry- “Dang people who don’t give a shit about their animals!” I realize this isn’t always the case, but that’s my initial reaction.

    1. Ditto. I found 5 wandering dogs this summer. Two that had a collar with a rabies tag with the vet’s name and number. Called (on a Sunday) and left a message. Dogs reunited with owners within hours.

      The next weekend another stray dog entered our lives. After calls to the local radio station, SPCA, and animal control no one had any leads. Animal control offered to pick him up and rehome if not claimed after 48 hours. I had him picked up… Hoping he found his way back home or to a new happy life. NO collar with identifying information.

      Third dog and fourth dog had no ID, and you know what? The animal lover that I am I had just had enough. If you do not care enough to physically mark your dogs as yours why should I get stressed about it?? He may have had a microchip but to me that means little on a long weekend. Taking in a strange dog that stresses out my guys.


      There are a lot of loving dog people out there but even we get a bit weary of rescuing dogs that are not visibly marked with their ID. Micro chipping? All good but generally I rely on the SPCA, the local animal shelter, and radio station to alert people of their dog found. Never have I taken a found dog to a vet to see if it has microchipping.

      Why? Because if an owner really wants his or her dog back he will make the calls to the local dog loving authorities, pronto!

      I am not rich but not poor but taking your missing dog to the vet to be recovered should she/he have an implant is $50 out of my pocket thank you very much.

      Loving pet owners. Collar your dog, cats, ferrets or whatever and hope who ever finds them are caring people who are gratified to see them make it home safe :)

      1. Disagree! I’ve taken three animals to the local SPCA to have them scanned for a chip (2 yes, 1 no). Why make an effort at all if you’re not going to at least check for a microchip? That’s just a weird judgment call.

  20. Soli…lucky for you that I’m a secretary with a wild imagination, access to a computer and nothing to do at the moment. So, I will indulge you.

    I bring fuck, and you bring classy?

    Soli, I imagine that you would be the perfect man to cheat on, repeatedly, and deservedly. You are just that boring.

    1. Ha, ha, ha!! Oh, Helen, your comments are shear entertainment!! Keep them coming…keep that “wild imagination” workin’!

  21. Author

    I had two children to FEED and look after as Phil went out with a flashlight trying to find Mr. Bikini. Honestly, shit like this pisses me off. The fact is that had I stopped cooking, there was nothing productive I could do. When I’m nervous, I cook and clean. 9/11, I cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner for friends who were new to NY. It’s how I cope.

    1. awww we heart you Stephanie and understand….I, personally, had no idea where that “you kept seasoning the chicken?” comment came from.

      though you gotta admit Steph…that we’ve all entertained you with our replies on this one. Try to pretend you’re not you…and re-read all of the above…pretty hilarious shit.

  22. Wow. Stephanie comments on a lost pet (something probably 95% of us have gone through) and all h— breaks loose. You keep doing what you do, Steph – taking care of your family, taking care of Kini, working, and writing your blog. I’m sure you get tired of being lectured. Oh, and Helen, find something else to do and just go away.

  23. I’m glad that Kini was found. For quite a bit there I was very nervous for you.

  24. I don’t see your logic at all. My point, and I maintain it, is that there are all kinds of people of varying socioeconomic backgrounds who don’t know about microchips. Are there some rich people who don’t know? Yes. Some poor people? Yes.

    And that has nothing to do with your “B” people who will steal dogs and sell them. It’s a completely separate statement and issue. One that I never brought up.

    The first statement may only name one set of people instead of being politically correct and saying “there are people of all backgrounds and income brackets who don’t know about microchips…” But the part about people who keep/steal dogs with no collar-part, is separate from her statement about not everyone knowing about microchips.

    i.e. she wasn’t implying that people of less affluence steal dogs, like your logic does. She’s making two completely separate statements. just because they are next to each other, doesn’t mean they are related. A) not everyone knows about microchips B) too many people out there keep dogs with no collar. A doesn’t have to be related to B.

    1. of course your point makes sense Danielle…I agree with that.
      I was explaining why people were upset with Haley’s initial comment (Hailey, thanks for clarifying your comment I hope in the future you pick your words more carefully since words are very easily misinterpreted).

      Now as far as why some of us felt both her comments were connected, it was because in her second statement:

      “There are far too many people out there who would just keep a purebred w/ no collar or try and sell him b/c they assume he’s homeless.”

      She’s mentioning people who would keep the dog that has no collar or sell him because they assume he’s homeless….If said person knew about microchipping, they wouldn’t think he was homeless and thus wouldn’t sell the dog or keep it. Which brings us back to her first statement of the less afluent being the ones that mostly don’t know about microchipping.

      That’s where the connection lies. I’m not trying to convince you of this, as it doesn’t really matter, I’m just trying to show you where my logic came from and numerous others who also commented.

      Ultimately, I believe it doesn’t matter because Haley tried as best as she could to explain what she meant to say. She didn’t come back here trying to defend the position some of us thought she originally had expressed.

      That is all. =)

  25. Stephanie, thanks for letting me break the monotony of this life sucking job. I’ve been an avid reader since the birth of this blog. It’s only till recent, that I’ve noticed your readers are mostly Mormons, and Amish.

    Gramma, I am bored. I can’t go away, I’m here now. Besides, should I go to hell? Is that what you really want? Jesus, won’t like that-we are all God’s children, even the ones who smoke and wear g-strings to work.

    Soli, I kind of almost like you-kind of, I said…in a sexual way. For a few hours, until something nasty comes along.

  26. My (first) husband and I had a pure bred beagle who was adorable. My husband left me and then shortly thereafter the beagle ran away. She got off her line, it was devastating. Now, years later, I still miss that beagle, but the husband-not at all.

  27. Noel, were it not for my boss hovering over my desk to finish typing his minutes I would play with you-but as it is now, I can’t.

    15 minutes to closing time and it smells like sex in here.

  28. Laugh! I thought it was a good point too. I mean, come on…
    But then again, SK has admitted she’s not nearly attached to this dog as she was Linus. Now if Linus was missing…that burner would have been turned off and she would have gone running out the door in flipflops and no bra ;)

  29. Regarding micro-chipping, it has nothing to do with your salary. I rescued my beloved mutt from the local rescue league, and as standard practice they always micro-chip all the dogs that they rescue. Trust me, old and young, poor and rich adopt from this rescue league. So it has NOTHING to do with affluence.

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