“There’s a special place in hell for anyone who steals dogs,” I told Ken as we were driving from neighbor to neighbor to deliver flyers about our missing dog, Shay. “I thought you didn’t believe in hell,” Ken answered. “I do for this,” I told him.
We were speculating about how Shay may have been stolen since he vanished so quickly. Saturday afternoon, Ken was on the hill doing some spraying and trimming, and since there was thick underbrush in the woods, he let Shay loose. In the past, Shay would explore and then run home. In this case, Ken turned around after a minute, and Shay was gone.
Yesterday the plot thickened when we discovered a neighbor also lost, about the
same time we found Shay, a dog that looked much like Shay. I spent a lot of time talking with her, going over every detail: dates lost and found, distinguishing markings, weight and behavior, and in the end, it was clear to us these were two different dogs. Yet I’m mystified by the fact that two weimaraner mixes who looked like chocolate labs could vanish within a month from the same area.
Stolen? Attacked by coyotes? Eaten by the cougar that wanders through occasionally? Gone to his home before ours? Taken into a car and driven to Mississippi for a new life? We don’t know.
Shay came to us in mystery too. He showed up starving and dirty on our porch, scared and loving, and he looked at his with a clear message in his eyes: “You are my people, and I have always loved you.” We felt the same way but dutifully took him to the local humane society for two weeks just in case someone lost him. During that time, I called in daily to see how he was.
On Feb. 26, we happily adopted Shay, and immediately, he fit right in with the other animals (although Judy the cat hated him as she hates all of us) and people in this house. He learned quickly to sit and stay, and after a few weeks, he was starting to calm down about food (no longer going crazy when we ate or trying to lick out the kitchen sink). We bought him a bed, a lot of toys and bones, special treats, a prong collar to train him not to run so fast on the leash, and some needed dog healthcare when he got sick.
Because I work at home or in coffee shops, I was often with us most of everyday, taking him in the car for errands or walks downtown or on the hill, sitting with him outside, working with him lying beside me. But he was thoroughly bonded with everyone in our home.
Now all we have of him are all the things we bought him and that overwhelming sense of mystery. Will we find him? Will he come home? Will we never know what happened? No way of knowing as I sit, walk and go on with life, my heart a little broken over a magical dog.