He discovered he could run between the slats in the picket fence if he pushed hard enough, and ran off.
Not once, but twice.
See, I thought the first time was a fluke. He'd been scared bad by a flea bath and was a nervous wreck, not wanting to go outside, then RACING around the perimeter of the yard like his tail was on fire until he head-butted his way through a space in the fence, dragging his ass behind him. I didn't think he'd make it, and watched amusedly, thinking for sure he was stuck, until he was on the other side, tearing ass away from the Tiny House. It was at that point his apparent high spirits were understood to be pure blind puppy panic (running at full tilt is either joyous flight or awful fright), and so I could understand the escape that time, maybe. But the second time, with nothing bothering him (or nothing that should have been bothering him), and with both Things keeping him company out back while they were shucking corn for dinner, he once again forced his way through the fence and was gone in a flash.
People, you have to know that this fence has spaces between the slats that are maybe three inches wide. He's got to really try HARD to get out. He had nothing to run FROM. Good home, food, comfy bed....
About an hour later, I saw him flash by the kitchen window, and went out to call for him, but he was long gone up the corner or somewhere, and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't come if called anyhow. I still tried, to no avail.
Over 12 hours later, and he's still not back. There was the sound of a dog fight up the street very early this morning. I don't like to think about who might have been involved.
I really think he's gone.
This makes me feel irresponsible and sad. I'm sure there are multiple things I should have done differently. Keep the dog on a leash at all times? But....There's a great fenced yard to run around in. Put chicken wire over the fence to keep him in? But....See the 'fluke' thing above. Get him chipped so he could be identified? But....His vet appointment wasn't until next week.
He slips his collar regularly, and so wasn't wearing one when he was out. There's nothing to identify him as ours.
Rationalizations aren't reasons.
Go on, tell me I don't deserve a dog. I think you might be right. Even though Nibbler isn't the world's most lovable dog (indeed, there is very little to recommend him besides an overall high level of cuteness), he's still a little critter who isn't ready for the outside world. The thought that I may have helped his apparent demise is horrific.
I hope he's there when I get home this afternoon. It's a little hope, but hope nonetheless.========================
UPDATE - HE'S HOME!
I got to the house a little past 4, and there was Nibs, curled up in the big flowerpot of pansies on the front porch.
The pansies are done fer, but the dog is back. Y'all obviously have the well-wishing mojo, for which I thank you. And Nibs thanks you, and the Things.