It all starts and ends with Steve.
Two weeks ago we lost our pups. It was awful.
Grab a snack, this could be a long story.
Hug your dog before you sit back down.
Please check and make sure your gate is locked and fence is secured.
The day of the incident, I left for work at 6:30 in the morning. The pups were fed and were out in the yard playing on a mound of dirt. All seemed fine. I had blocked an area of the back fence that Steve told me the puppies might be able to escape from. Steve was doing some work back there the day before and had moved some barriers.
Just before noon, Steve called me at work to tell me my babies were missing. Are your kidding? You can’t be serious? What do you mean they are “missing”? How do we start an Amber Alert? What do you mean you didn’t check on them before leaving to Issaquah? Steve had taken Niamh and Finn to his parents’ house and had not seen the pups before he left. When he got home, he couldn’t find them. Steve was pretty certain they had found a way out of the yard along another area of the fence.
I couldn’t stay at work. My mind was spinning thinking of all the shelters I needed to call and alert that we were missing our pups. I needed to get the word out all around the neighborhood that we were desperately looking for our boys. Luckily, I work with good people, people who were concerned about Steve’s safety if Fred and Gus weren’t home by dinner. I left work and joined the search.
We passed out and taped to poles around the neighborhood about 150 of these flyers.
We posted on 3 of our neighborhood blogs. The blog managers tweeted about it. Concerned neighbors who had read the posts and tweets facebooked about it. We listed ads in 3 spots on Craigslist. Steve spoke to the nice folks at the homeless camp off the freeway, just in case they were bold enough to sell them for alcohol or other goodies, and gave them our contact info and a promise to reward them if they found the pups. I phoned shelters and vets all over the city, multiple times.
Not a single person called to say they had them, or had seen them, or had any info on them. We had very visible information how to contact us if someone found them and wanted to get them back to their family.
After a few hours, I called my little sister in San Francisco to tell her what we were going through. The first thing she said was Have you called a Pet Psychic? Nope, I had not. So, I did.
My little sister is quite a resource. She knows helpful people. It was her I called when I was being haunted in my bedroom in my Queen Anne apartment. One of her friends gave me some advice about how to live together with this thing that was haunting me. She is also the one who got me in touch with the woman who told me I was Charles Lindbergh’s flying buddy in a past life. That was my 21st birthday gift. I really hope I was good to Charlie when his baby was kidnapped. I’d feel like a total jerk if I didn’t tweet about it for him.
I contacted one of my sister’s former patients who is able to communicate with animals. I don’t know how it is that Mairead knows so many interesting people. This woman no longer does pet communication, now she teaches about eating a Raw Food Diet. She was very nice and gave me instructions for a meditation that might help ME communicate with Fred and Gus. I tried it, but I guess it didn’t work because I make mental grocery lists when I meditate.
Because I am a huge believer in Psychics, people who can communicate with dead people, ghosts, alien abductions, and Fortune Tellers, I was sold on the idea that a Pet Communicator might help me find the boys. I contacted one locally. I used PayPal to pay her.
My Pet Communicator wanted to know a few things before she hung up with me to try and speak to Fred and Gus. What do the puppies look like? What is the color of my house? Which of the puppies should she focus on speaking with to get the most accurate information? That last one was easy. Gus. Gus is way smarter that Fred. I’m sure Fred was the one that led Gus out of the yard, but Gus would be the one to get them home.
An hour later, she called me back. Below are the notes I scribbled through tears of joy. They were close by. They were safe, with a family. They had travelled about 6 blocks away, up a hill. Along the way they passed a loud barking dog. Gus thought the dog was maybe a German Shepherd. They were in a yellow house, next to a red garage. Gus didn’t know if the family planned to keep them or return them to us.
If this woman was full of crap, I don’t really care. She gave me some hope. I actually brushed my teeth, hurriedly jumped in the car, and drove around until I found the house. Yes, I found it. I found maybe three that fit the description. I was planning a stake out. I didn’t know if I should knock on the door and pretend to sell wrapping paper, or just sit in my car waiting to catch a glimpse of them. I decided to run home and grab some obnoxiously bright posters to place in front of these houses. The Pet Communicator suggested I write “Be A Hero” on them to appeal to the kids’ sense of doing the right thing.
Steve got a call from someone who said he thought he knew who had our pups. The guy’s story changed a bit during their conversation but Steve thought he was telling the truth. When Steve called to tell me about this phone call, I told him to try and call back the number and see if the guy answered. I was sure it was some horrible person calling to falsely raise our hopes, or that it was someone who was going to try and get money out of us. I was sure because the Pet Communicator said they were with a nice family just 6 blocks away. Steve called him back, and he actually answered. The more Steve spoke with him, the more the story came together and Steve was sure he knew where Fred and Gus were being held.
Here’s the story we were told. I am going to assign false names because I don’t know all the names of the crooks involved.
Lucifer was passing through our neighborhood Sunday morning. He happened to see Fred and Gus running around near a gas station. Lucifer grabbed them and sold them to Dumb Ass. Dumb Ass really liked his new puppies. He told his friend Mr. Opportunity about his new puppies and how he got them. Mr. Opportunity saw our ad on Craigslist and called Steve to tell him that his friend, Dumb Ass, had the puppies. Mr. Opportunity really wanted to help us, but Dumb Ass really just wanted to keep the dogs because “they are really sweet dogs, Dude.” Steve had a whole conversation with Mr. Opportunity about the Boxer breed, how great they are for families, that I won’t ever own any other breed because they are so wonderful, etc. Mr. Opportunity wanted us to hook him up with a breeder because he was thinking of getting a Boxer for his daughter. This guy wanted to be our friend!
So, we have Mr. Opportunity on the phone telling us how much he’d like to help us but his friend, Dumb Ass, couldn’t be convinced to return the puppies to the people who actually own them, care for them, take them to regular vet visits, feed them high quality puppy chow, take them to puppy kindergarten, LOVE them, and are simply their rightful owners! However, when we offered Mr. Opportunity a large amount of money to get them back for us, he agreed to meet Steve 40 minutes later. And that’s what happened. Steve met Mr. Opportunity at a gas station far from our house with a wad of cash in his pocket, one friend inside the convenience store of the station, and another friend across from the station. I called the police to have a cruiser nearby just in case gunfire should ensue.
Steve arrived home minutes later with puppies who smelled like cat pee and cigarettes. Neighbors came running from their homes. Orchestra music started playing. Everything started moving in slow motion as I was reunited with my babies. They appeared well, maybe a bit stressed, but no worse for the 2 days that had passed.
Here’s the funny part. Steve said to me, I thought I was going to get a Hero’s welcome. I heard a record scratch and the music stopped. All I could do was stare at him in disbelief. Steve wanted to be considered a hero? It took everything in me not to remind him how the puppies escaped and were gone for so many hours before he realized they were gone. But, I am a very mature person and I didn’t blame him at all (out loud). I just continued to stare and him and mutter things under my breath. I think he got the message.
Here’s the funnier part. One week later, Steve was doing work in the back yard. He removed the SAME barrier from the SAME area the dogs escaped from. As he was working, he saw Gus run behind the fence in escape. Steve picked up Finn, threw him over the fence to block Fred who was in hot pursuit of Gus, and Steve went running for Gus in the front of the house. My neighbor across the street saw both pups loose in the front of the house (because Finn was no match for Fred) and yelled to Steve, You’re going to get divorced, Steve!
**Fred and Gus were microchipped the next day and Steve was assigned to Hero’s poop duty**