Tonight I was walking Immy and Joey in the tiny artist colony of Tubac, Arizona. As we headed up the gravel road to the Montessori School I stopped to take a photo of the cranberry colored monsoon sky. In that very moment a cottontail rabbit sprang from the nearby bushes and Immy took off like a rocket after it, the leash flew from my hand, catching me totally off guard.
Joey and I raced after her, but she was going 45 MPH and we were going maybe 8 MPH. She was absolutely nowhere to be seen as we came to the crest of the sloped gravel drive. A giant field, the frontage road on one side of it with Highway 19 just beyond. My mind was taking me to crazy places. I called her name over and over. Almost crying. "Hey Immy, Good Girl Come On! Let's go home!" I whistled, the same whistle I would whistle to bring Jack home. No luck. She was nowhere to be found.
Joey and I then ran as fast as we could all the way home to get the car. Of course dusk was upon us. It was getting so dark already. I left the patio door open in the event she came home of her own accord. I grabbed my flashlight, stopped to post a Lost Dog post on my Facebook Page and the Tubac Barrio and Surrounding Area pages. I tried to post on the local Lost and Found Pet pages but was I a member? No of course not. I was never going to lose a dog. My hands were shaking so badly and between that and Spellchecker I was about insane already. We took off in the car on the DARK roads of Tubac. Immy is dark! The roads are dark! My mind, still taking me to terrible places.
We drove back up to the area where we last saw her. I drove all over the schoolyard, the nearby acreage. I climbed into the deep rocky ditches and the water-filled arroyo with my flashlight. Calling her calling her. Meanwhile the huge trucks are bearing down on the nearby highway.
"Dear God, not the highway." She is smart but I do believe she would walk right out in front of a car despite my years of trying to teach her otherwise.
Then the train. Whoo Whoo! OMG. The railroad tracks! The train! Just 1/4 mile away on the other side of the village from the highway. I start hyperventilating. Crying. Driving slowly on all the streets of town, crying her name out. I had no whistle left. To the Frontage Road for 1/2 mile. I refused to consider the highway option. It had claimed enough canine lives since I moved here so I tried to believe that statistically she was safe. : /
I was getting more and more upset. Hyperventilating. Three times I came back to the house to see if she was there, but no Immy. Each time I got more upset than the last time. A third drive through all the streets of town. I realized how upset I was getting; sick with it really.
"Stop." I say. "Where's your faith? God's got this."
God. The angels. Jack. Anyone else? I asked for help from all of them.
I started to imagine her walking along the side street with her leash dangling behind her, waiting for me to find her walking along, ever so nonchalantly.
A song popped into my head and I started singing.
🎶"There she was just a walkin down the street singin do wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo..." 🎶
I turned a corner, got nervous again. Those tears, that fear is so persistent!
But so's the tune.
"She looked good, looked fine..... "🎶
"God's got this. He knows what he's doing."
The tears, the fears still trying to get through. My imagination, trying to get the best of me.
".... and I nearly lost my mind."🎶
We're all lost until we're found
Then I remember my pendulum. I had not dowsed in many years.
It was in the console of my car. I pulled it out.
No, it said, she's not at the highway. No, she's nowhere near the railroad. Not there. No, not there. She was in the village limits. She was within the 9 square blocks of our quiet little village.
She was safe. She wasn't dead or injured.
🎶"..do wa diddy diddy dum diddy do..."🎶
Around and around the town I went. Visiting all the nooks and crannies.
Coming back along towards our house, I'm crying again!
OMG what if someone finds her and uses her for dog fight bait! OMG!
"Dear God protect her. If she doesn't ever come home, take care of her. Please."
"I promise I'll never use my phone again on our walks if you only bring her back."
Entering the Bargaining Stage of Grief now.
"Get into your faith Kate. It's life. Whatever happens will happen."
I thought of Jack's excerpt from Book 3, Return from Rainbow Bridge...
Whatever happens there's a reason. I have to trust God with His Plan.
I have to trust myself that she loves me enough that she would want to come home.
I have to trust her that she is smart enough to find her way home. After all, we walk these village streets every day. She must know her way around quite well by now. She is a hound dog after all.
Driving up the gravel road to the school for the fourth time,
did I see two shining eyes up the road in the headlights?
🎶"Before I knew it she was walkin' next to me...singing do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do." 🎶
No. It was my imagination. Maybe a premonition.
Wait. Look! Is that her standing over there?
No. It's a downed tree that just happens to look like her.
Hey, a rabbit! It looked like the same rabbit she went after.
Came out from the same place in the bushes. 🐾
I followed the rabbit.
🎶" Whoa-oh, I knew we was falling in love..."🎶
A left turn down into the nearby neighborhood. Into a vacant side lot.
Drove my car over the bumps and rocks to search the lot with my headlights.
Did I see two shining eyes ahead?
🎶"She looked good. She looked fine. And I nearly lost my mind."🎶
From the Archives
🎶 There she was just as natural as can be. Standing perfectly still. Looking at me.
The rabbit was sitting there watching us the whole time.
Immy seemed confused, scared, not moving. Looked like she didn't recognize me.
This sighthound had to get a close smell of me to know it was me.
She often lets fear get the best of her. (Sounds like someone I know.)
As I got closer I was able to see her dilemma. She had gotten the handle of her 16' retractable leash caught on a nearby mesquite bush. (so strange, we usually use the retractable on the wilderness trails and the regular leash in town, but for some reason we used the retractable one tonight. Divine Intervention?) Not only that but she had obviously tried to get herself loose and had it wrapped around quite creatively on an upside down tree stump beside her. Knowing how she gets when she is scared, I was not surprised to see the rest of the leash wrapped round all of her legs, like a cat's cradle, so she couldn't move an inch.
The rabbit just watched. Immy was silent. She never complains about anything. She just endures.
🎶"Whoa-oh, I knew I was falling in love..."🎶
It took about ten minutes to get her untangled from herself.
Gosh she must've heard me crying and calling for her all over town, from her tangled web on this dark vacant lot. I wonder what she was thinking. Feeling.
As soon as she was loose I hugged her and hugged her and hugged her. She is not usually tolerant of much affection but she was hugging me back.
She was thrilled to get into the car. I wish I had a picture of her and Joey when they reunited at the car window.
But no more pictures when I have a dog on a leash.
We headed home.
🎶"...and so I told her all the things I'd been dreamin' of..."🎶
I had to be calm. I had to have faith. I had to stop crying and Be Still.
The stress. The adrenalin! Imagining the worst.
The moment I stopped worrying and put my faith in God and all the rest of us, everything turned around.
I came home to hundreds of prayers from my frantic posting on Facebook two hours earlier (gosh it was only two hours? It felt like ten!) A very kind and helpful call came in from the local Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department who had received a call from a friend in Connecticut about my lost dog, wondering if they could help. (I was a little nervous, I thought they might have been calling me because I had been driving off-road all over the town screaming "IMMY!" and carrying on). I also received a call from an Animal Communicator friend I had met in Sedona who has expertise in Finding Lost Pets, calling to offer to help me free of charge to locate Immy. And one of my home care patients who is now a Facebook Friend offered to drive down with her husband to help me try to find her. Wow. I am overwhelmed with the care and concern and offers to help us tonight.
What an adventure. She's exhausted. Joey's exhausted. I'm exhausted.
But we're happy. 🎶So Happy Together 🎶
When you lose something precious and then get it back, you make sure to fulfill your promises. No more taking photos along our walks. It's going to take some discipline for me, based on my history.
🎶"Now we're together every single day...
We're so happy and it's how we're gonna stay..."🎶
You do what you have to do and you honor your Promises.
🎶"..Do wa diddy diddy dum diddy do..." 🎶
Night Night Miss Immy.
Lyrics Do Wah Diddy by Manfred Mann
Songwriters: Ellie Greenwich / Jeff Barry
My apologies ahead of time if this song sticks in your head for the rest of the night too!