We Love Your Lost Dog

16990185_10211053146977314_425826418_o2/23/2017 This morning, when you woke up, maybe you rolled over and tearily told your partner: “Today is the day. It’s been a year. She’s been gone a year–can you believe it???

Maybe you looked at her pictures on your refrigerator; spoke words of half-hearted comfort to your eight-year-old, who stubbornly refuses to give up hope that she will come home; mindlessly patted your “replacement” dog who will not ever replace her.

Perhaps you imagined her long dead on a lonely highway. Lost in woods, hungry and afraid. Stolen: a bait dog or a laboratory tester. Horrors all.

I should tell you, then, that she’s safely ensconced on our sofa. On her  favorite pillow. Today, we’ve celebrated: she had her fill of Milkbones, went to the pet store for an anniversary toy, her head hanging  happily out of the van window all the way there.

17035999_10211053146817310_614326617_oOn the drive, she considered leaving us for the young guy in the blue Chevy at the red light; they eyed one another with shared understanding. We think that’s how you lost her: she jumped out of your car window on the highway, smack dab in the middle of No Man’s Land. Because this dog is definitely a runner, and as my daughter puts it, “She isn’t just running away. She is leaving you to start her new life.

She was found running down the four lane highway, dodging semis. Lynn M—, a dog-lover hustled your pup into her vehicle and a state trooper stopped to help her–because, as I am sure you know, your dog does things with panache.

Last February when we Lynn’s desperate “dogneedsahomeTODAY” Facebook post, we didn’t really want this pup. We were grieving our perfect pit bull, Ezra, the (second) best dog we’d ever owned. But we had space in our home, and Lynn was in the middle of a move, so we half-heartedly offered to foster.

We put ads on the Internet. We tried to find you. Your dog had no microchip; the vet said she was half Labrador retriever, half dachshund, immediately adding, “Don’t try to picture it.”


When your dog was indifferent to our cats (whom Ezra always wanted to eat), we welcomed the change. That first day, your dog fell asleep on my lap, then cuddled next to my feet all night. She wasn’t pushy or demanding, nor was she cowering and timid. She was simply there, offering her companionship.

We could tell that she was someone’s beloved dog: she was housebroken; she sat on command; she refused to walk into a small room without hearty encouragement and instead stood expectantly, awaiting a release command that we did not know. When we got Ezra’s old crate from the garage, she entered it without complaint, and she still does so  a year later–you trained her so well.

17036146_10211053147617330_1364976929_oOur other dog and the four cats adapted to her, as did we. But we couldn’t name her. She had no defining characteristics. She wasn’t an Oreo, Shadow, or Midnight, either, and no girlie names fit. She was just a little dog. That was all.

And so we began simply calling her that, Little Dog. A homage to a favorite AFV video.

Her story is no Marley and Me. She hasn’t been funny or clever; other than escaping occasionally to romp through the neighborhood or visit the next-door Great Dane, there are no anecdotes, really, to share. All she has done is sit within arm’s length for a year–one of the worst years of our lives. 

My seventeen-year-old grumbled one night as she sat petting Little Dog, “We should’ve known we were in for it when we got this Party Favor From God.”

That’s what she’s been for us. A tiny gift. A silent solace. Your little dog.

I’m so sorry you miss her.

I’m so grateful she’s here.16935735_10211053146697307_249733088_o

3 thoughts on “We Love Your Lost Dog

  1. Love it Rachel. We can readily identify with it because on that very stretch of highway that you mention, we happened along just after a young beagle was trying to drag herself off the highway having been hit by some earlier vehicle. We stopped and scooped her up and I got into the back seat, dressed to the nines as I was that day, and held her in my lap until we could reach a Vet. Needless to say, I was bloody from head to toe but I kept wiping the blood out of her mouth so she could breathe and somehow we bonded on that seemingly forever stretch of road. As I laughingly tell our friends that $537.00 later, we had a FREE dog. We found Dr. Gibson open on a Saturday afternoon and by Monday we knew she was “out of the woods”. By that time we’d named her Penny, so the query as to whether we wanted her to go to the Waycross Humane Society for adoption or euthanasia fell on deaf ears. Her pelvic bone was broken completely in two pieces so the next step was to get her “fixed” so she wouldn’t have puppies. She kept us busy for the next two years trying to stay one step ahead of her antics. In fact, my grandson told her that she had not gotten away from previous owners – that they had TURNED her out! Long story short, she is a priceless addition to our family but I often wonder if anybody looked for her….has missed her and loved her as we do. I wonder what name she was given and all the other mysteries in her “other life”. The only thing that we know for sure is that Snoopy, brought to life through the Peanuts comic strip, was at one time a real live Beagle. Penny has calmed down with age and we’re glad of this because as Ed (my husband) told her once, “Penny, if you ever get run over again, please do it in front of a younger couple. We have had many rescues in our marriage…so many that I laugh and tell our friends who take cruises; we
    just find a dog that needs rescuing and that’s where our money goes! But for every dollar spent, we find tons and tons of love in return and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Hurriedly written so please don’t “grade” me for my errors in grammar!!!!!

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