Saturday, January 8, 2011

A week in dogs - part i

I lost Bella for two hours once and my world stopped turning. Two neighborhood friends swept the streets while I walked through the woods, screaming my voice raw for her. When what I was waiting for happened--my cell phone rang, the number unfamiliar--I ached with pure gratitude.

"Are you missing a little dog named Bella?" a man asked. I wept so hard, it took about a minute til I could choke out a reply. "She's fine," he assured me. "Cold, but she's fine. I'm going to put her in my car and warm her up while we wait for you." He told me where he lived, and I ran there, calling my friends. One drove by and picked me up and the other, closer to the address, raced on ahead.

I got Bella back that day. The friend who got to her first asked the guy who found her (Bella sat on the steps of an apartment building til someone came out; I was really lucky she wasn't skittish around people) asked if he had a dog himself.

"No," he said. "She got out of the house once and was hit by a car."

How must that have felt to him, to give me what I was praying so hard for when the same was denied to him?

Today I joined the search for Olivia, the sweet mastiff missing in southwest DC. The morning started out bitter cold, and I tramped around a mile-or-so loop with a lovely woman who had never met Olivia either, but she once lost her cat--and got her back--and wanted so hard, like me, to bring what Livvie's foster mom was praying and dreaming for to her.

Livvie's foster mom joined us--as well as Livvie's awesome canine foster sister, and others--but for that first hour or two it was just we two, tracing and retracing our steps, eyes peeled for motion that could be the 90-pound girl or her fresh paw prints. Thanks to a light dusting of snow and a fair amount of mud (and, esp, my companion's eagle eyes), we found the latter.

Thanks to all the flyers searchers have been putting up, Livvie's foster mom got another call about a sighting. The golden hearted tracking team Sam and Salsa of Pure Gold Pet Trackers have found her scent. We're really close to bringing her home.

A week ago, I dreamed I found her. I was walking in a field, I saw her, I leashed her, I brought her home to her family. It's not that easy, obviously. But that feeling, that She's Almost Home feeling, propelled my fellow searcher and me through the streets. It also led me to stuff chunks of Safeway rotisserie chicken in my pockets, in the hopes of being irresistably smelly to Livvie, but only succeeded in making me (a longtime vegetarian) nauseated.

If you're in DC or close by, it would be great if you could lend a hand. Here's more info. It's so cold out. We want Olivia home. --->

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