As I lay on my couch in a sinus infection stupor, my husband blasted through the back door, shouting, “Call the police! Lucy is missing!”
I sat up, stunned and not quite certain I’d heard him correctly.
Lost? How can Lucy possibly be lost? My husband was in the yard with her. We have an electric fence for Pete’s sake!
Then, reality started to sink in. We are talking about Lucy here. Lucy is your typical sweet, boisterous Golden Retriever. Loud noises terrify her … the electric fence, not so much.
I called the Linden Police non-emergency phone number and left a frantic message that, after I hung up, replayed in my mind like a whole lot of crazy.
Suddenly, I felt a little out of my mind. Where could she be? Does someone have her?
“What do I do now?” I shouted out to my empty house.
Then, it hit me. I needed pictures. Facebook! There are pages on Facebook where people post their lost pets. I posted a photo on “For the Love of Louie,” “Genesee County Animal ‘911’ Responders” and on my own page. I started looking through the pictures of missing pets, feeling increasingly more helpless.
“I can’t just sit here and wait,” I thought, running to my back door.
My husband was standing in the backyard, crying. “I’ve been everywhere. I can’t find her,” he said through tears. “How could I let this happen?”
As we stood staring at our empty yard our neighbor, Walley, who had been out searching for Lucy, wandered over. “You know, I bet somebody took her,” he said, “she could not have gotten that far.”
“NOT HELPFUL!” my husband roared.
Helpful or not, that seed was planted in my mind. A wave of terror poured over me. If someone took her, it doesn’t matter that she’s wearing an I.D. tag and has a microchip.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 50 percent of microchipped lost pets make it home. But, what if they are stolen?
I pictured a van load of unsavory characters swiping Lucy out of my yard. I Googled “stolen pets.” BAD idea. Petfbi.org reports two million pets are stolen every year – a total of ten million go missing altogether.
Still in my pajamas, I grabbed my car keys and decided I would go to the police department. Just as I opened my car door, I heard my neighbor George exclaim, “Leslie! Leslie! I found her!”
There she was. Lucy had not fallen prey to a nefarious dog theft ring. Nope. She had wandered into my neighbor’s garage and gone to sleep.
She seemed a little confused about all of the fuss, but reveled in the attention she was getting from my husband and me.
As horrible as those two hours were, I learned some things that day.
First of all, never Google what the worst case scenario could be when you are in a crisis. Most importantly, though, I learned that when your pet is missing, people want to help you find it. While I Googled and obsessed about the most horrible possible outcomes, neighbors were out scouring the streets looking for the sweet lost dog who was happily napping and safe.