Guess Who’s Back?


Sometimes dreams do come true.
Macy was found this afternoon about 2:30 EST. I camped outside the Hospice of Dayton (what nice people!) from about 8 a.m. I took a couple of breaks and on one of them she was sighted at the hospice again. (And it was great to know she was still in the area.) Ransom and I took a walk in the woods behind the hospice looking for her. Here’s an aerial photograph: http://snipurl.com/71n76  [www_mapquest_com]  –it’s that long stretch of woods in the middle, most of which is enclosed with an 8 foot chain link fence. We did find the place where she was going under the fence into the enclosed area. Back to the car, more waiting and watching. About 2:10, I decided to drive around the area on the other sides of the woods. At 2:15 my cell phone rang: it was the hospice, Macy was back. I rushed back there only to be told that she had bolted back into the woods. A man from maintenance was still calling for her, and I went back to the truck for Ransom, our Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Ransom was particularly pleased to meet the maintenance man, and began a conversation with him of loud conversational barks and roo-ing. That was when I saw Macy in the woods, peering out. I called her softly and she came towards me, but she was still leery of the other person. He graciously stepped back, I sat down on the ground, and she flew to me. 
She seems to be in pretty good shape, other than the fact that she is emaciated. I don’t think she ate much while she was gone…. and while the psychic was correct that she was in an enclosed area– and Monday was the day this all started to come together– no one was looking after her. The cold, anxiety, exercise and lack of food really made her very thin. She was very eager and happy to greet the rest of her pack, and the general feeling in our household is one of great relief, well-being and contentedness.
The people of Dayton were simply marvelous during all this. They took a great interest in Macy and her well-being. Without exception, all were extraordinarily kind– and I saw parts of this city that I didn’t even know existed! Your prayers and kind thoughts really helped to sustain us during this very difficult last week and we are so grateful to you.
My Christmas came extra early this year.
Again, many thanks.

Well. Tonight I got a call from a woman who works at the Hospice of Dayton that a dog matching Macy’s description had been looking in the door this afternoon. When I went to check it out (a beautiful campus with woods and ponds, with the adjacent retirement home campus -used to be the state mental hospital- about ten acres) I didn’t see her, but I did talk to some nurses that had seen her (again, peering in the door) about half an hour before. They confirmed it was her looking at the poster, and promised to call if they should see her again. I looked around some more, raced home; collected Julian, our Foxhound Jazz — who has a little tracking training– and a box of fried chicken and a long sleeved t-shirt I’d been wearing as pajamas the last couple of night. Jazz went great guns all over the grounds, then across the street, down an alley, into Walnut Hills park, surprised another dog (and told him off), stopping every 100 feet or so to pee a little. After surprising the other dog she couldn’t really pick up the trail; too much confused dog scent, I think. She did check out all sorts of nooks and crannies and front porches.  I think we logged a couple of miles, sometimes at a full run. This place is only about a mile and a half from Julian’s school, about three miles from our house and on the edge of downtown Dayton. I just pray Macy can stay out of traffic…. but she’s done pretty well with that the last seven days. I will go back to poster early early in the morning. Everything is covered with frost tonight. I left a bowl of food in a little meadow at the back of the hospice, at the edge of the woods… her regular kibble topped with pieces of boneless fried chicken. And I left my turtleneck there. If she’s still in the neighborhood at all, she should pick up the scent trail left by Jazz and me and follow it back to the Hospice. I am disappointed not to bring her home tonight, but I am elated that we have made this progress.  Thank you all for you kind thoughts and prayers and keep them coming.

And a p.s. . . .

Rick, a braver soul than me, actually called the guy in Cameroon. This is his report:

“out of curiousity i phoned +237 77323576 since cameroon only costs me 15 cents a minute just to see who answered… i talked with a guy named markum or marcus or mark-something… he told me i was the second person to call him regarding the lost dog… asked where i got his number then told me yes he sent the email about the lost dog and we should just provide the funds for the transportation for the return of the dog on tomorrow… of course this is bogus because a dog cannot be transported on an international flight without a complete medical record and 7 day quarantine prior to the flight (air freight is my profession) but marko kept asking he should expect the funds tomorrow? he was pleased that he got my caller id and he will check back with me tomorrow about the funds…”

I guess Marko has more ingenuity than common sense, though perhaps the Cameroon government doesn’t go after these guys. Thanks to Rick not only for this entertaining update, but also for his continued interest and support in searching for Macy. 

Deer Season

Tomorrow is opening day for deer season; cause for more concern and perhaps more hope. More men in the woods mean a better chance of finding her, if she’s in the woods. More once-a-year hunters in the woods also greatly increases the opportunity that a brown and white dog could be shot. An odd phone call this morning from a number in West Alex, a burb about fifteen miles northwest of here. I couldn’t get to the phone before it stopped ringing… when I called back there was no answer. I called again an hour later and the woman who answered then said it “was probably a wrong number.” Every day there are email messages and phone calls from friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, extended family telling me that they are thinking of us, that we are in their prayers.  She is in my prayers too. Some days are worse than others, and this was one of the dark ones. I am exhausted. Christmas music makes me cry. I miss my dog.

An email came for me today informing me politely that the author had found my dog while attending a seminar In Dayton, but with the time constraints he faced, was forced to take my dog with him back to Cameroon. Yeah, sure.

Here is the email:

my name is Rev Van. I  have a pet with me that suits your description at at pet finder.i rescued the loving pet on my way to a seminar in your area.i work with the united nations,for the fight against Aids and STUDS. i have a strong felling that the dog i have with me  is yours ok,i have tried endlessly to attach a pic of the dog to no avail.this is because internet connections are very slow down here.i will keep trying.Actually i came to your area for a seminar .fortunately,i met the loving little dog?so i decided to
make the lost specification documents and travel along with
the dog since i was in a huts also ,this is because i never
wanted to give the dog to a
wrong person. i know this will sound really funny to you but as i said,i am sorry.our team is presently in Cameroon.
i guess the only way i can send the dog back to you is by
shipping, this way,the dog  will take less than 5hours to
reach you.i have just call the airport and the said the
transportation will
cost $140, but if you will want the dog
to be delivered at
your door steps,you will have to pay an
extra $10 making it up to $150.all you need to do is email
me your full contact address so i can take it to the airlines and you
will have your loving  pet  with you  again .i will start the paper work as soon
as i get your full contact infos ok.
i am really sorry for the in  convineinces i mat have caused
you all i wanted was the well being of the innocent loving
dog ok .your dog is seriously missing home.but
i must confess the dog is very friendly and loving.that is the more reason
why i established the lost specification papers and took the
pet  alongside with me. I am so sorry for the
inconveniences I  have cost you  but this is not much of a
problem  because I will happily ship back the pet to
you ok. All I
need from you is your detailed address so I can
get the pet  registered in the Cam. International Airport.
you can call me +237 77323576 or +237 94247477.
waiting to hear from you. from you

It’s a scam of course. I need to forward the email to Yahoo and petfinder so that they can deal with this individual.

With the great help of the neighbor across the street (who joins us in searching for Macy) we put the Christmas lights up on the porch eaves this afternoon, with the two light-up polar bears on the porch roof. It’s quite charming. I needed to do something else. Macy stays with me all hours of every day, but there are other things that call me to the duties of the world about me, and most of those have been completely ignored since last Sunday.

William Faulkner has a quote: “Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency to get the book written.” It’s like that, except that finding Macy is not dependent on my own will– if it was she would be home with the rest of us right now. 

What the Psychic Said

In desperation, I called a pet psychic last night. She told me in no uncertain terms that someone has Macy, that they are caring for her, that the dog will be reunited with me on Monday. Others have said that she is with someone, but this woman spoke with such conviction, such belief, that I too began to believe. All along, I thought I was searching for Macy with great faith, but really I was operating out of fear. I thought that if I didn’t find her, didn’t protect her, didn’t bring her home that she would surely  perish. 

Now I’ve been told that she is safe and I feel better. I did still go to the shelter today (as I am still nothing if not a realist) but she wasn’t there. I was very impressed, though, with the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. It was immaculately clean, the animals were calm (with the exception of one “spinner”), there was very little barking. We moved so quickly past the kennels there was no time to wonder about each of these dogs stories; they are all strays. What about that pair of handsome labradors? The shih-tzu still wearing a pink bow in her hair? 

Ransom, my Chesapeake, is beside himself. He is, and has been, my constant companion for the last five years. He is more dependent on me than the Foxhounds and more dependable to boot, but he is taking Macy’s absence very hard; feeding off of my distress and clearly he feels that by letting Macy get away from us that he has failed to keep the family safe. I can’t lift that burden for him, though I have tried. He goes out with me when we go out to search. 

Tonight it has been 120 hours, five long days. I hope that she’s sitting on someone’s sofa, watching tv with their kids. I hope that she is not too melancholy, I hope she is not afraid. Tonight they lit the Christmas lights in Dayton.

Thanksgiving stories

Sometimes its hard to feel thankful, particularly when bound with guilt and worry, trammeled with exhaustion, grief-stricken. But its important to that I remember to keep life in perspective. I am so terribly concerned about my sweet Macy and where she might be, but I believe that her story is not over yet. 

The morning started with a happy message from my colleague in lost dogs, Cathy, who sent a joyous email that her lost pup, Austin had been found this morning and returned to her. I am delighted for her. And yet . . . it’s not that I’m envious, I just wish I could report the same. I would never wish that she not find her dog if I can’t find mine, but if I were offered the opportunity to have Macy back, there’s no telling what I would barter away.  Of course, what I’ve found is that God doesn’t barter. There are people with more at stake than a beloved dog who’ve offered up their very lives only to find it wasn’t enough.Macy in the Snow

We took Susanna out today to see if she would respond to the areas where we think Macy passed by. She showed some nominal interest, nothing like the other night. I think Macy was there on Monday, but not since. I think this tells us she’s on the move. We might take Jazz out tomorrow, as she’s had some actual training in tracking, and might be more workmanlike in her approach.

I have had more great suggestions on getting out the word, and tomorrow will find me contacting dog wardens in other counties, the highway patrol, sheriff’s offices, feed stores, coon hunters, veterinarians. I can’t get the hammer tacker to work, and will try to figure that out, otherwise it’s back to the staple gun.

Something that I’ve been very thankful for are the stories. Most of the dog people who’ve been in touch have remarkable dog stories: hounds found 40+ miles away, dogs that made their way 250 miles home, dogs gone for months, all recovered safe and sound. Macy could be one of those stories, there is still hope, and I am grateful for that.

There is still no news. The worst moment of every day is calling the street maintenance department to ask if they’ve been called to pick up her body. The best moments are those of human interaction, in which I can at least momentarily stop the endlessly spinning cog in my brain that continuously asks “Where is she where is she where is she?” 

This morning I walked out from my house and walked several blocks in the area to the northwest that I know she traveled, trying to lay down something of a scent trail. Tomorrow we are taking two of the hounds out on long lines to see if they can pick up anything. We are ever on the lookout for overturned garbage cans and ripped apart trash bags, as Macy has a penchant for life’s delicious discards.  

Yesterday morning I left a turtleneck I’d worn for 48 hours (the first 48 she’d been gone, when I’d only dozed and never slept) and Macy’s own dog pan full of food at the copse at the edge of the park where we know for certain she was the first night. Even late this afternoon the food remained untouched, a puzzle to me. Surely wildlife or other dogs would eat it? Tonight, very late, I went back to check and every last crumb was eaten. I’d like to think she came back and ate, but it was probably a passing dog, who at least enjoyed a real meal, which comforts me a little. 

On my way to Kinko’s this afternoon to run off more posters, I was stopped on the street by a hungry man. I would have given him some cash, but I had none, which I became acutely aware of as I searched for a quarter for the parking meter. The hungry man had change and put it in the parking meter. He said to me, with a note of hope in his voice, “the Chinese place around the corner accepts debit cards.” So I said “Okay, let’s go then,” and found that paying for this stranger’s lunch (sweet and sour pork and chicken fried rice in a “Chinese” place that seemed to be run by an Eastern European couple) made me feel better. I left posters with him, and with a Sinclair college student in the restaurant and with the couple who ran the place. 

This evening there was an email note from a woman who’d seen my post on Craigslist. She too has lost a dog, and while at the shelter this afternoon, she saw a dog who matched Macy’s description. I’ve seen him too, he’s a very handsome Walker hound. Cathy’s dog, an 18 month old Bichon named Austin disappeared from the area of Far Hills and Schantzle, and I find I am keeping an eye out for him too. I’ve had some great suggestions on more ways to look for Macy and I am working on trying them all. 

My apologies to my friend Rita and her parents, Betty and Harlan, who had so kindly invited us for an early Thanksgiving dinner tonight. I had really wanted to go, but this afternoon marked the end of my bravery and when I finally broke down and cried I could not stop for a long long time.Macy, focused.

Macy is Missing


from an email of Tuesday, November 26

We are missing our beautiful and silly (and Champion) American Foxhound, Macy.  Unbeknownst to us, the dog next door had been digging a hole into our yard. (Life for dogs must be so good here that dogs dig to get in.)  The girls found the hole on their last trip out for the night…. 11:30 on Sunday night. Annie was found in minutes, Jazz changed her mind and came home about ten minutes later. After an hour of searching, I found Susanna near a park six blocks away. I was very surprised to not find Macy with her, as they are usually inseparable. We continued to look for Macy, but did not find her. In the light of day, I found some overturned trashcans in an alley off the park, and I think that’s where Macy and Susanna became separated– as Macy never met a trash can she doesn’t love and Susanna could care less. In all likelihood, Macy stopped to play in the trash and Susanna grew bored and kept going.  Unfortunately, Macy is a follower, and I think she was so busy following Susanna that she does not know how she got to where she is. Wherever she is. 

We have contacted the local (Dayton, OH) newspaper, posted flyers, handed them out to local letter carriers, bus drivers, school children, folks at the soup kitchen. We’ve checked the shelters and registered her there as a lost pet. (All strays in the county go to a central shelter to start with.) Every day I brace myself and call the Dayton city office that handles reports of dead animals. I’ve posted her missing on craigslist, a friend with a local-interest website posted her story there, and many of those forum users have shared the story with their friends. We have alerted police, sheriff’s office, and fire departments. She had on a collar and tags, but those are easily lost. She is microchipped and the microchip company has sent an alert to every vet and shelter in a 25 mile radius. I’ve taken an old turtleneck that I’d worn and left it near where she and Susanna became separated as we think she may return there. I can’t afford a billboard or television advertising or I would do that too. We are offering a reward. If you can think of anything else I could be doing that I haven’t done, please let me know. Otherwise, please keep Macy in your prayers and good thoughts. We are so worried about her.