A few weeks back, my neighbor rang my doorbell, and, when I opened the door, she led my dog in the house by the collar.

Stymied, I turned to him and asked, “How did YOU get out?” He just wagged his tail and went off.

I thanked my neighbor, and turned around to scold the dog once again, and he was nowhere to be found. Glancing at the living room, I realized that the dog had come in the front door, then exited out the open sliding door off the living room.

Not knowing why the screen was left open, I went to close it, just in time to see my other neighbor’s orange tabby running (well, not really running, but gently galloping, not in a scared way) across the back yard. Behind him was my dog, galloping happily behind the kitty. Behind HIM was one of my cats, Mr. Basketball, also galloping his chubby self along happily.

I brought my two in then secured the door, still wondering how they got the door open.

Later that day, I heard a pinging noise. The sound came from the sliding screen door, where my little girl kitty, Cody Bear, was poking at a slug that was crawling up the outside of the screen. As she poked, her little nails caught the screen, slowly pulling it open. Right at the crack of the screen was my dog’s nose, just waiting to poke free to the outside again. It’s a conspiracy!

Well, a few days later, I was horribly sick with a stomach bug, so much so that I went to the ER, certain that I was on death’s door. I was not (thankfully), but had to take to bed for 24 hrs. During that time, I had to trust that all in the family would be well.

Sometime during that day, someone let himself/herself out once again. My husband came upstairs and announced that the screen door was open, and he wasn’t sure where the cats were. I dragged my sickly body out of bed, and found the little black kitty in her kitty bed (although she apparently had visited the neighbor before getting scared and running home), the old kitty sitting in the gazebo (she goes there all the time), and Mr. Basketball nowhere to be found.

The next day, we had strong thunderstorms. We felt so bad, and could not find the kitty anywhere. The next two days were very dreary, weather-wise and mood-wise.

Finally, after three days, I went out one evening and called for him near the edge of the woods. This little kitty voice called back woefully. Pretty soon, the whole family was out with flashlights, braving rain, darkness, and poison ivy. We found the little chubby fellow, and brought him in to get clean and dry.

He slept for about a day and a half. As you can see, he was very comfortable. So were we.

Mr. Basketball Jones, Dreaming