Our first family dog was a Cocker Spaniel named Sandy. She was the sweetest dog, except the poor garbage collector didn’t think so. She may have taken a tiny bite out of his leg one day. After that Sandy had new owners and they moved to the beach. They said she loved her new home because she could swim in the ocean every day.
Another one of our dogs was a miniature black poodle that we named Misty. She was the sister of my grandparent’s dog, Pepe. She was a little bit temperamental, but we put up with her moodiness because she was a great protector for my younger sister, Terri.
Misty didn’t mind the garbage collector, but she hated thunder. In rainy, stormy southern West Virginia, that was a problem. When the thunder started she would high-tail-it under the bed and refuse to come out until she had to go outside. Then she would run out and back in the house as fast as she could. Except for one night . . .
The storm started just as her paw stepped off of the front sidewalk onto the grass with a big clap of thunder that rattled the house. Mom and I ran outside, but Misty was nowhere to be seen. We rode around in the car with the window down, in the driving rain, calling out her name. We had no luck and returned home without her. Needless to say, none of us got much sleep that night.
The next morning, I called Granddad and tearfully told him what happened. He said that he would drive to our neighborhood and look for her. A few hours later he pulled up in front of the house in his Maytag truck. I just knew Misty would come bouncing toward us. But she didn’t. We all cried. Our precious Misty was gone. We offered a reward, put up signs around the neighborhood, ran an ad in the newspaper and told our neighbors to watch out for her.
Every day for the next week Granddad would come to our neighborhood looking for Misty. Sometimes he would bring Pepe with him hoping that their sibling connection would draw her out of hiding. We feared the worst. It had been too long and she couldn’t survive on her own. We had a few people who thought they saw her, but each time it wasn’t her.
Granddad was a hunter with a really good sense of direction. He started thinking about the wooded areas surrounding our house. He remembered that a couple of miles through the woods was another neighborhood. It wasn’t one of the safest neighborhoods in town, but Granddad knew some people who lived there.
When he began asking questions and showing them a picture of Misty, someone said they had seen a new dog in the neighborhood, but wasn’t sure who had it. After further exploration he happened upon a house and heard a familiar bark. He called Misty’s name and she came running out to greet him.
Granddad never told us, if he knew, how she got there or why they hadn’t tried to find her owner. We were ecstatic that after almost two weeks, we had Misty back home safe and sound. She lived for almost 15 years and never got lost again.
Today’s gift was to return, Lucy, a wandering Cocker Spaniel to her home. Her owner was out for a run and they had gotten separated. I’m sure her family is glad that instead of dog-gone, it was dog-found.