Sick and tired of the string of losses and constant heartbreak over the past couple of years, I literally went to the dogs this weekend.
Recently, two other family members and an old friend had died, bing bang boom, and after coming home one evening from the last wake, my little cat Joey ran out the back door and has not been seen since.
It may seem like a more minor incident given the people losses I have suffered through, but it was for sure the last straw that broke the back of my fragile emotional stability. I have been crying off and on for two weeks, not knowing what happened to the little guy, and it has roiled up a lot of self-pity over the recent spate of deaths and dying in general.
I had posted some time back following the loss of my husband, what a comfort my little cats are to me. I did not realize I guess, just how attached I had gotten to the youngest one, whom I have had for less than a year.
Endless fruitless searches in the scorching July heat, putting up posters, reaching out to animal rescue groups, all to no avail. I was literally at the point where I mulled purchasing a drone with an infrared camera, when I came across a type of cat whisperer service. In one of the many pet forums I had joined after very begrudgingly reactivating my Facebook account, someone posted about Wandering Paws K9, a business that brought tracking dogs to your door who attempted to sniff out the whereabouts of your lost pet.
After calling the owner and confirming that yes, she had real live Bloodhounds who could try to track down an errant four-legged friend, I immediately called the Voice of Reason (Pam).
“I don’t think it’s crazy at all,” she reassured me, which was exactly what I wanted to hear. The rational part of me realizes what a cliché it is to be a widow who lives alone with her pets. I try not to act too crazy about them outwardly, but my good friends know what a comfort they are to me and so understand.
So after agreeing to fork over a pile of dough Samantha, the owner, drove the hour and a half from South Attleboro Massachusetts to my home on Sunday, two tracking dogs in the back seat.
It was actually kind of exciting. I could picture my neighbors faces as we tramped through their backyards with a baying hound, like a scene from an old prison movie.
What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach.
The Captain, “Cool Hand Luke”
I’ll cut to the chase as it were and tell you we did not locate Joey. I think his trail had already gone cold. Samantha had brought two dogs: a Bloodhound and a German Shepherd. They were nice dogs, and she brought them out of the car one at a time and we scoured the neighboring area, crashing through bracken and wooded areas that surround my house on our small lake. The dogs did have a predilection to go down toward the waterline and snorted and snuffled there quite a bit, but did not get a strong trail that led anywhere specific.
“It’s telling me your cat has not been back here,” Samantha said, translating doggie body language.
I already knew that in my heart of hearts. I had been calling myself hoarse for Joey for two weeks, and shaking his treat jar to no avail.
I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning in a cold sweat. I was thinking about how the dogs kept going back toward the water line, and had the horrible thought that in his panic in the dark, Joey had blindly crashed into the lake and drowned.
I don’t know that, and may never know that. But there’s the rub: I may never know. With other losses, people and pets, I have always known.