Everything I type is too little or too small, and I keep backspacing and trying again. I'm exhausted, but I have to put it down into words, because if I don't, the sharp piercing quality of this day will fade, and I want to remember that feeling of complete and utter hopelessness, and exactly what it felt like to hold the thrill of ultimate jubilation and joy and euphoria and love in my heart when I saw my little lost boy.
Because we found Link
. WE FOUND HIM
3333333333333333333333333333333Moments after finding him--it was almost pitch black out, so a crappy camera phone picture is all that I have. There's a whole hell of a lot of love in this picture. <333333333
I woke up at dawn. Obviously, from the tenor of last night's entry
, I'd passed a sleepless night, and I cried oceans. I slept over at my parents' house, in my old bedroom, and I listened to the wind in the trees, what has always been my ultimate comfort sound, but I felt nothing but despair. I believed I would never see my precious, beloved boy ever again
Link is a very special dog, and he requires a lot of love and kindness, because of how terribly he was abused before the shelter saved him. He panics very quickly and easily, and I honestly could not imagine how he could survive a night without getting run over by a car. I couldn't. I tried, Goddess knows I tried to pick up the scraps of hope, but it was impossible for me in those moments. I've lived and loved and worked with Link for almost his entire life, years, and I know his reactions, and I knew how terrified and alone and just...gah, starting to cry writing this, so gotta reel it back. I knew how afraid he was feeling, and I know his levels of panic, and all I could do was sob and ask the Goddess to help him. And me.
(I lost my first soul-mate-Collie, Luke, when he was young, in an incredibly tragic, instantaneous-horror way. Link's disappearance was OH FUCKING GODS TRIGGER-TASTIC. Most of the following despair was brought on by that triggering.)
At dawn, my Mum and I set out to try and find him again, now aided with sunshine. It was bitterly cold, and we bundled up, riding my parents' six wheeler through the many, many trails in the miles surrounding their house (they live waaaaaaaay out in the country, and it's pretty wild out there). We went forever, and by the time we decided to take a break (about noon-ish, if I remember?), I didn't have a voice anymore from calling Link so many times. Jenn had gone home that night because we'd just left everything, and the animals needed to be taken care of (and she had a transcription assignment), so she'd stayed up until FOUR IN THE MORNING working on the assignment, and then came right over, having had THREE HOURS OF SLEEP to start to look everywhere with me for Shwinky. ;-; <3333333
We went more miles. And more. Jenn had had the brilliant idea to bring Poesy. Link is OBSESSED with Poesy, and she'd reasoned that if everything but the most base instincts had fled Link, maybe he'd sniff out Poesy and come looking for us. Miles. And miles. And more miles. Hopelessness. Calling Link's name until either of us could hardly squeak. More hopelessness. Jenn pillowing my head on her shoulder as I cried. Hopelessness.
At around five, we drove to the nearest town and their Office Max to print out copies of a "missing dog" flier I'd thrown together. We got the copies printed, and then began to go door to door in all of the area businesses, asking if we could put them up. Again with the vast helpless feelings...I had to do something
. We put up tons of fliers, and I talked to so many people...nothing.
At this point, it was seven o'clock. We'd gone miles, we'd covered several counties, we'd talked to so many people...no one had seen any sign of Link, we had seen no sign of Link...hopeless. I thought he was gone.
On the way back to my parents' house, we stopped at a row of little shops on the drag of the TINY town near where my parents live. I put a flier in the little music shop, and the pizzeria, and then we were just going to go back to their house, but I randomly stopped at the hardware store. Seriously, there was no reason to stop, and I was just so devastated and hopeless feeling, I have no idea why I did. "I'll just run in real quick," I told Jenn and grabbed a flier.
Inside, there was no cork board. The man at the counter was helping a customer, and the woman behind the counter was on the phone. It was the last place we were going to flier that night, and I was exhausted, so I was going to go, but I walked up to the counter instead.
The woman on the phone cocked her head at me, and I mouthed the word "cork board?" holding up the flier. Her eyes widened, and she hung up on the person she was on the phone with.
"I SAW THAT DOG THIS MORNING," she said, waving her hands. "Where is he missing?!"
I told her my parents' road, breathlessly. "YES!" she crowed, "I live on that road! He was at the corner this morning, around 11:50/noon-ish."
We'd covered that area TEN TIMES that day, but it was the ONLY lead I had, and it was a good one. I thanked her profusely, ran back to the car, and we gunned it to that corner.
Poesy, at this point, was like YOU HAVE DRAGGED ME ALL OVER CREATION, WHAT THE HELL, THIS DETECTIVE WORK IS CRAP. It was sunset, the sun sinking through the trees ominously. Soon, it would be pitch black, and we would have to give up again.
We called Link's name another eighty bazmillion times, going back and forth and baaaaaack and forth around that corner, in the meadow, in the woods, and in the startlingly beautiful ravine (with SEVERAL ACCOMPANYING CLIFF FACES, JUST FOR FUN).
I heard Jenn gasp. I turned, adrenaline rushing through my body. There had been so many times today that I thought I heard his bark, or thought I saw a flash of white, and every single time, this rush of joy would go through me followed by the worst fucking despair in the world
when it wasn't him. "I saw
him," Jenn told me, and I was like: "honey, are you SURE?" and she was like "YES, IT WAS HIM!!!! ON THE TOP OF THE HILL!"
I got to the top of the hill, and the despair gobbled me up. "He's not here, baby," I cried down to her, and she said, "go right!" I ran deeper into the woods, down to the stream. Nothing.
"Shwinky! Shwinkums! Baby!" I cried out, and I began to follow the stream.
Cliff faces rose on either side, towering over me as I followed the shallow stream bed. Jenn and Poesy came behind me. "He could climb these," I told Jenn, pointing to the cliffs. "I know he could," and she agreed, and we were just like...I think we lost him. But I said: "let's go further. Just a little further."
And we rounded the corner.
In the middle of the wide stream bed stood Link. Water rushed around him as he stood in the flow of it, staring.
And then two things happened.
I crumpled to my knees and cried out: "come here, baby!"
And this look of pure recognition
streamed over his face. He went from IAMAWILDANIMAL to OMGTHOSEAREMYMOMS in a HEARTBEAT. And then the recognition was replaced with a look of such pure joy, that I swear to you--if I live to be one hundred, I will never forget that look of radiant love and joy and ILOVEYOUSOMUCHWHEREHAVEYOUBEEN in my entire life.
And he ran to us
, tail wagging so hard, I thought it'd fall off.
He kissed us so many times, I was covered in them, and he pressed his little body to mine and Jenn's as we sobbed, completely unable to breathe, telling him over and over and over and over and over how much we loved him.
He was favoring his back right leg, and I want to make certain he's okay anyway, so tomorrow morning, he's going in for a check up, but--save for the EXTREME MUDDINESS--he seems to be perfectly okay. <333333333333333333333333333333333333
I have never felt more relieved, more fucking grateful
, in my entire life. My beautiful baby boy is home. <33333333333
I am so happy, so content, so joy-full and filled, I have no words. <3333333333333333
He's currently fast asleep on my feet. <3333333
I am perfectly serious that when I say "I don't think we could have found him without you guys," I absolutely mean it
. I was hopeless and upset beyond reaching and feeling so helpless, and knowing that you believed we could find him when I did not
was, I think, the magic that brought him back to us. It was such an unexpected horror, a horror that I pray I will never have to experience again. I died today. My babies are my world, and I almost lost one of my kids today in the worst way possible. Thank you for your good energy, for your magic and good thoughts. I needed them so immensely, and they saved him. I believe it.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. <3 Thank you.
Now, I am going to sleep the sleep of exhaustion, the sleep of contentment...the sleep of a seventy-pound-Collie-baby-on-my-legs-
And it's going to be the best sleep I've ever had. <33333333333333333333333333333333333