Dakota is a very expressive dog. When she needs something, she will come and sit in front of you and stare into your eyes. She'll do that if she needs a drink, is hungry, or needs to go outside. We're still learning her language. However, this was not a 'I need something' pose. This was 'something's in our house' pose. I instantly became alert.
I walked out with her, and she showed a reluctance to enter the living room. That was just odd. I was suddenly worried that someone had broken into our house, but as I took in our family room, no one was there. I chalked it up to her being weird, and we went on with our playtime.
However, a while later, as Kevin and I were dancing around I happened to look over at the snake's cage. When we first bought the cage, there was a hole in the top, but we had sealed it shut with duct tape and it had never been a problem. However, I noticed that the duct tape was pushed up and there was a big hole there.
At first, I thought, "Great, Grig left a hole open." Then I realized that he would never do that. Fear filled me as I suddenly knew only one person/creature/thing could have done that.
The snake himself.
Praying that he was still in his cage, I began a thorough search of the environment. He is a master at hiding after all. However, I became more frantic as my search revealed nothing. I placed the lid back on the cage and began to search around. I looked on each shelf of the bookcase, in the entertainment center, in the dog kennel, under the couch, in the cushions, in my boots, and every other place I could think of.
I couldn't find him anywhere. At that point, I kneeled down and began to pray. I looked in every place the entered my mind, but at that point, I really wanted Grig to be home. It was hard to look in places while Kevin was trying to get into everything. So, we sat down on the couch and I read some scriptures to him. Then, we watched "Little People" until Grig got home so that I didn't implode.
I was really worried. Snakes were notoriously difficult to find. Part of me thought that Oryx was gone forever, but part of me felt peace that we would find him.
When Grig got home, I told him the bad news. He searched the cage again and then helped me look around the apartment. What I was really worried about was that he would migrate to another apartment and then we would get our manager in trouble. We also didn't want him to die, be injured, or be lost indefinitely. We kept praying and looking throughout the night, but we just couldn't find him.
As we went to bed, we said our nightly prayers and we again asked that we would be able to find him. I had found a neat article online about what to do when your snake escapes, so we set out a box and put a thawed mouse in it to hopefully draw him out.
I called my parents to let them know what had happened so that they could pray for us and maybe give us advice. I was sure my dad had lost a snake or two in his time. He is the reptile man after all.
After Kevin and Grig fell asleep, I was laying in bed wide-awake, and I decided to go look one more time. I couldn't remember if I had checked the bottom bookshelf. So, I went back out and did so.
Then, I thought about a stack of papers that we have between the printer and the entertainment center wall. I pulled those out so I could look between them. I put the biggest ream of paper on the ground. It still had its original packing around it. I looked between all the papers, and sadly began to put them back where they went. I hadn't found him.
As I went to pick up the biggest ream of paper, the packaging around the paper broke open, and some of the papers fell out, as I went to pick them up, I was startled to see white, scaly coils in between the paper.
It was Oryx! He had been right below the cage the whole time sleeping inside of the ream of paper.
It was a miracle. I immediately went in to show Grig so that he wouldn't be stressed anymore. He told me that after I fed Oryx, that I should wake him up again so that we could thank Heavenly Father. I agreed. I quickly fed Oryx, placed him back in his cage, and put books on top of the hole as a temporary block until we can do something more permanent.
Then we went back and expressed our gratitude to our Father in Heaven. We knew we had only found Oryx because of him. He could have been lost forever, killed, or hurt. He was just sleeping. In fact, I think he was kind of annoyed that I woke him up.
He's a very sweet snake. We don't get him out as often as we should, but we do love him. We would have missed him sorely if we'd never have found him.
The Lord truly does answer prayers. Sometimes, it just takes some work on our part.
It's true what they say though. You really don't value what you have until you think you've lost it forever.
|Us with our snake|