There is nothing more awful than having your dog somehow escape your yard and be on the loose.

My little scottie, Fiona, a rescue from Carbondale, was nowhere to be found recently after a variety of workmen had come and gone through the house and had entered and closed the fence gate. I was beside myself as Fiona does not know the neighborhood; I do not let her or the other “girls” out of the yard.

I feel especially attentive toward her, as I feel I have been entrusted with her guardianship. She belonged to a young woman who loved her a lot, but could no longer care for her because of an aggressive cancer. the woman gave her up to what she was told would be a good home lest she die and leave her behind to some unknown fate. In fact, short of a good home, the original owner was quite prepared to euthanize the dog just to make sure that she would not be left behind.

And, so, I feel as though I owe special attention to the small scottie who has become a part of our family, in spite of her successful backyard hunts and dog toy stealing from the other girls.

When Fiona would not answer to her name, I combed the house and looked to all her favorite haunts. She was not in any nor in any of the wooded areas of the yard where she lies in wait for squirrels, rabbits, possums and birds.

The first line of defense in these situations is to call the police, who already know me from my stray dog calls, which come in when I come across such critters. The desk sergeant said that the police would keep a lookout for the little black dog. Then I cruised up and down the neighborhood, block by block, both here and across Harlem Avenue in Berwyn. I once had a dog who ran off from my Selborne Road house and wound up at the Oasis Tavern in Berwyn, obviously well tended to and quite happy for the experience. I was hoping that if Fiona were out walking, stalking, sniffing, she would stick to the sidewalks as it was impossible to see in the backyards.

I called out family members, handymen, anyone I thought could help me cruise the neighborhoods while I tried to guess how far she could have gone had she walked, how far she could have gotten had she started chasing a squirrel or rabbit. People along the way were so nice-the joggers, the dog walkers, the gardeners. All were so sympathetic and willing to help, but none had seen Fiona.

I went home sorrowful as I could just envision her trying to cross Harlem Avenue with deadly results.

My daughter-in-law, Christina, met me at the door with Fiona. Yes, Fiona was home. In fact, she had been home right along, shut in a spare room in which she never goes and which I had shut just that morning. Because of hearing problems, I could not hear the jingle of her dog tags, and she did not see fit to be as vocal as she usually is. Christina had heard the jingle of the dog tags, opened the door and watched Fiona shoot out of the room, happy to be liberated.