Okay, so other than the time when my cat disappeared for a few hours to hatch evil schemes in the bamboo around my house and make me freak out to the tune of getting sewer water all over my body and wet canned cat food in my mouth, we run a pretty tight ship around here in terms of securing gates and being conscientious. I’ve been an indoor-pet kind of gal for like eleven years and have a pretty good track record. Last night, in a sleep-deprived haze, I went outside for a minute to gaze stupidly at some fireworks before oozing back into bed, and the dog (the best dog in the world) sneaked away to the front gate and managed to pry it open with her terrified, fireworks hating claws. It was a big slip-up. It was a monster of a slip-up, actually.
(When I think of how long my dog might live, I get very afternoons and coffee spoons. I am a soft person when it comes to this animal. I’m a mollusk. I’m like a quivering ball of Gak heated to 100 degrees when I consider life without Sadie. And this is assuming she lives to be 45.)
After brushing my teeth and ruminating on what a lovely day I’d had (stupid! Stupid! Don’t ever do that, you’re asking for trouble!) for an hour or so, I checked under the bed where Sadie cowers during noisy holidays and found that she wasn’t there. Or in her bed. Or in her other bed. Or in her other-other bed. Or under the bookcase, or hiding behind the refrigerator, or in any number of suitcases, or in the freezer drawer, or anywhere at all. I allowed myself an hour of searching before I dissolved into panic and started casing the neighborhood in my car at five miles per hour, face an inch from the dashboard, whistling out the window. My husband printed fliers and stuck them on every lamppost and tree within a two-mile radius at 5 AM, and we called her microchip company and all of the other places a person in distress calls when their pet is missing. We never went to bed. We just despaired. I cried a lot. I called my parents to cry at them and then took to Twitter and Facebook to send out SOS signals, which I figured probably wouldn’t amount to anything because our neighborhood is riddled with coyotes and shitty drivers and a handful of crazies who would take one look at that cute, foxy, cashmere-coat dog and snatch her up to abuse her in their crazy person attics for hours until they finally put her into a stew and ate her with soda bread. I tried to prepare myself to deal with the fact that I’d ABANDONED MY BOY, I was a terrible person who had allowed this to happen and would have to live with it for the rest of my life, which seemed impossible. I blubbered at strangers from my car and whistled until my lips fell off and it was just about the crappiest I’ve felt in a long, long time.
And then the internet came to the rescue, and my heart exploded because friends as well as people I didn’t even know helped spread the word that Sadie was missing and guess who’s chilling next to me right now, wearing bacon perfume?
A friend of a friend had posted a found dog ad just after I’d given up on trolling Craigslist, having left a hopeless-feeling post of my own to wander around the ‘hood once more and to walk into other people’s yards and yell SAAAAAADIE until the fact that they were occupying their yards in hot tubs and staring at me angrily forced me out. “Looks like a fox” — that’d be her. My friend posted this on my Facebook wall and two hours later I was at the door of a neighbor who had not only taken my dog in when she frantically scratched on his and his girlfriend’s door at 4 in the morning, but who had let her sleep in his bed and given her food and somehow made her smell really nice, like incense. We sent pictures back and forth to confirm that the dog in his house was the dog that belonged in mine, and my bones turned into jelly when I realized that maybe I would not live my entire life like the character in Chilly Scenes of Winter who keeps talking about his dog who died and who could never be replaced even after people had grown bored of his stories about fetch. I think about 300 people took time out of their days and timelines and feeds to help this sad sack find her companion animal. I got emails and phone calls telling me not to give up hope and advising me which shelters to contact, and each one of them made me think that the world is not a cold dead place after all. This realization happens occasionally when people do nice things via keystroke, but anyone who’s read this blog for the past six years or so knows that when it comes to me and the damn dog, it was this time that mattered the most.
I can’t ever sufficiently thank the people who helped find Sadie today. I know that there are emergencies that are realer than a missing dog — a missing child, a family who loses everything they own in a fire, a parent needing a kidney transplant, all of that really! Uplifting! Material of our lives! — but to me, the thought of never getting my dog back was the bleakest possible character arc. To all of you who helped me today, thank you. It means the world, and one day I hope I hear a scratch at the door and it’s your dog, and I can clear a space at the foot of the bed and set an extra bowl out and return him or her to you. People are wonderful. Don’t forget it.
This is Tess Lynch’s dog and she has been missing since this morning near Sunset Junction in Silver Lake. They’ve already contacted shelters, her microchip company and vets, as well as posted on Craigslist and distributed posters.
Please keep an eye out and let me know if you see her—you can email email@example.com, if you like. We’ll respond right away.
SADIE is a small black Shiba Inu. There is a reward.
(photo by Ben Woodlock)