Thursday, June 25, 2009

Signs of Sorrow

We KillerHobbyists discussed writing about our methods of organization this week. Since I’m one of the least organized people I know, I wasn’t sure about doing that.

So, instead of focusing on my lack of neatness, I realized that what was more on my mind was a street sign I passed this morning on my way to the vet to pick up more of my younger Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mystie’s special prescribed food. There used to be one paper sign on its pole about three missing cats. Now, there are three signs on it: that one, another about a found dog, and a third about Max.

Max is a cat who belongs to our backyard neighbors. They rescued Max and his sister, and now have three cats, including Daisy, who is the one most often in our yard--the one both dogs take pleasure in chasing away. I’ve seen Max and his sister there, too.

But now Max is missing. Our neighbor came by to tell us, and to give us his contact info in case we saw Max. Later that day, I saw a cat who resembled Max’s description roaming way down the street, but, no, our neighbors hadn’t given Max a new pink collar, so it wasn’t him.

I saw and heard the neighbor’s pain. It’s heartbreaking to have a pet missing. I think I blogged some time ago about someone else in the area searching for a lost dog that, I believe, wasn’t found. The thing about pets is that we adopt them for the love they give to us, and when they’re lost, that love is missing, too.

Found pets can’t tell us where home is. ID tags help, and so do microchips. But I just heard about one found dog, a lonely-looking Saluki, who was, indeed, microchipped--but the pup was found in Carlsbad, California, and the microchip info suggested he came from the Middle East. The chip had been sold to a U.S. military distributor in Saudi Arabia, so presumably the dog came home with someone in the service--but there was no further information registered with the microchip company.

I’m researching a new mystery series about a pet rescuer. In it, I hope to have some happy endings, at least about lost pets sometimes finding their ways home.

How about you--have you heard of any more happy endings lately?



Sheila Connolly said...

Those of us of a certain age grew up with the Sheila Burnford story--The Incredible Journey, wasn't it? We cling to the mythology that our pets can follow us across continents based on some sort of intuitive homing instinct, because we like to believe in that bond.

When we first moved here, six years ago, one of our three cats went walkabout. He's always been an indoor cat, and he's not terribly aggressive, so we had no idea how he would cope on his own in an unfamiliar place (it's suburban, with some heavily-traveled roads nearby). But for some reason I didn't worry--and sure enough, he showed up two days later, none the worse for wear. He hasn't tried it since, so I guess that was enough adventure for him. So I guess I'll put some faith in that homing instinct.

Julie said...

It just kills me to see those signs. I feel for the owners, and for the frightened, lost pets. I do have a happy ending story, though. I looked out the back windows one morning, and saw a black cocker spaniel sprinting off to the south through backyards. Our neighbor to the north had a black cocker, so after a few minutes thought, I went over and asked Terry, "Is Max here?" He thought the dog was in the yard, but when I told him what I'd seen, he took off, to return in about ten minutes with a not-at-all-chastened Max, who had dug under the fence. Max was grounded until the fence was reinforced, and Terry was very grateful.
My cats, however, are indoor only.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Sheila and Julie, for your happy ending stories. I'm aware of some, too--like how a good friend of mine who doesn't currently have pets found a Yorkie wandering around her home and eventually located his owner.

Janie Emaus said...

A dog I had recently picked up and taken to the pound was reunited with his owner, too. I remember when my dog was missing. I was SO frantic. I found her, but for a few hours I was a total wreck.

Linda O. Johnston said...

So glad to hear of both of those stories ending well, too, Janie. I'm paranoid about losing my pups. Mystie is so tiny that she was able to get out under the front gate to our house. My husband Fred just attached some small wooden strips to the bottom of the gate. Mystie's frustrated, but I'm still worried she'll find a way to get out!

Betty Hechtman said...

I feel heartbroken when I see the lost signs, too. I try to do the golden rule thing. Doing for other what I'd hope they would do for me. So, when I see a wandering dog in the neighborhood, I take it in. So far one dog became a a permanent resident for the rest of his life, four others were reunited with their owners, another I gave a ride home. When we lived in the city I picked up some lost dogs, too and got them back to their owners.

The stray cats I that showed up at my front door, just walked in and stayed.

Linda O. Johnston said...

You're really the lost pets' angel, Betty!

Kate Hathway said...

I've been so incredibly lucky to have my dogs take off en masse two times - and since 3 out of five stayed together they attracted such notice and were calm being together, people several streets away were able to walk right up to them and read their tags. I'd just returned from catching one on the next street (why she goes another direction only she knows), and the oldest (who knew her house) was waiting when I got back (she couldn't keep up with the big dogs), and as we went in the phone rang and I was able to get the others. Whole thing took 15 minutes, tops, each time and it happened twice, which still boggles my mind.

There is an amazing website called greytalk (for greyhound owners) and they have an 'Amber Alert' forum where lost greys are reported and people from all over the country assist in various ways to mobilize forces to recover the dogs. There are often horrible endings, by there are a good number of recoveries, and while a bit upsetting sometimes, the happy endings are awesome to learn about.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm really glad to hear about your happy endings, too, Kate. Must have been scary both times. We have a neighbor whose dog can work the latch on her gate, so he and his brother have taken romps about the neighborhood. Fortunately, she's secured the gate better and people around now recognize them if they do get out. Glad also to hear about the greyhound "Amber Alert" system and that it works at least some of the time.