Tuesday, January 10, 2012

1-10-12 Delsin the lost dog - part 1

One week ago today I was in a panic. A panic that most dogs owners fear: their dog is lost. He had been gone about an hour by now, and I held in the deep seated fear of "what if". I could hardly bear the thought that my boy may be gone to me forever.

To start at the beginning. My life had taken on a significant change and I had been at my brothers house for a little over a week to help with his 2 sons - ages 10 and 12. Last Tuesday was the first day back at school for the boys and I was looking forward to a bit more peace during the day and getting a routine established. Laundry had been started, dishes were done, some soup was started on the stove,  and I was putting together a schedule for my nephews. As I finished up around the kitchen - I let my dogs out the sliding glass door next to the kitchen. It was about 12 noon when I first let out A'kash (Delsin's son) and Jyoti (A'kash's cousin) . A'kash then came in and Delsin went out. A couple of minutes later, Jyoti stood by the door wanting to come in. I let her in and lightly called to Del to see if he was ready to come in. He didn't come and I didn't think much of it as he just went out. It was about 12:15.

A couple of minute later I called for him again. No response. Hmmm. Then I thought he was probably standing by the door at the lower level waiting to come in. I went downstairs to that door but no Delsin. I called more urgently but no response. This was very unlike him. Feeling just a little bit of worry sneaking in, I grabbed my slippers and ran outside. There aren't any "hidden" areas of the yard - and he clearly wasn't there. The closest gate to me was closed and I ran to the other gate: wide opened. My worry went over to a knot in my stomach as I held back the panic that wanted to sneak in.

I ran inside, grabbed my shoes and my jacket and ran in front - yelling, no screaming for Delsin. Silence. No movement from anywhere. I ran a few house up and a few houses down. Nothing. In that short period of time he simply vanished.

A neighbor came out - she heard me calling and asked what was wrong. I told her. She seemed helpful, but she didn't know me or know how terribly wrong it was that Delsin was gone. I carefully went to the opened gate. One set of foot prints in the snow - boot snow prints to the gate. One set of large dog tracks - Delsin - leaving the gate. I didn't know right then, but found out in a couple of hours, those bootprints belonged to my nephew: he had left the gate unlatched.

Delsin is a boy dog - "all boy" - meaning not neutered. He is a country dog and now he was in the city where all sorts of people have dogs, walk their dogs, pee their dogs. When he walked out the gate, he wasn't running away - far from it - he simply went for a unsupervised walk. If he had heard me calling, he would have come. But he quickly went from smell to smell and well out of earshot. I am sure he became "intoxicated" with all the various dog smells that are all about the neighborhood. It was a boy-dogs dream to be able to roam in an area with so much dog activity. I am certain there are many, many trees that Delsin left his calling card on.

Maybe not all people would panic knowing that their dog was just out on a joy ride per say. But Delsin knows nothing of cars and traffic. I had taken his collar off that morning and he wasn't micro-chipped. And he had never been walked in this neighborhood. It was all new to him. I was new to the neighborhood - didn't know the layout, which was the logical direction he may go, what neighbors I could ask for help.

I tried to process what I needed to do. I grabbed Jyoti - also a Bernese - to walk the neighborhood. I took her mostly so I could show people what a Bernese looked like and if they had seen a dog like her running around. I grabbed my cell phone and as I started out in the neighborhood, I called a close friend and told her two people to call:one that lived close so she could come over and look, one that was the rescue chair for berners in the greater twin cities area. I also had her immediately post on her face book that I needed help immediately. That was all within 15 minutes of me seeing Delsin was gone.

I started walking and calling. I was no more than 1 block away when I slipped on the icy road - and my right knee going at a bad angle, I heard and felt "snap, crackle, pop"as I fell an the intensity of pain in my knee was such I had never experienced before. I laid in the middle of the little used side street - writhing in anguish - screaming. I am fairly stoic with pain, but there wasn't any then. I held on the Jyoti's leash as I squirmed in the roadway. How was I going to get back home? How was I going to find Delsin? I knew I should call 911 for help as I didn't think I could stand and no one had seen me fall or saw me laying in the street. But I couldn't call - they would take me away from my search of Delsin.

After what seemed like a very long time, the intensity of the pain died. But I still laid there. I felt myself giving up: life had dealt me a difficult hand this last month and now my dog was gone and now my knee was blown. I laid there just not even knowing what I should do.

Finally, I decided to get home. I was able to use the leg - which was a surprise. But not use it well. But it got me home and then I just started to ignore it. I had to find Delsin and no leg was going to stop me. I got in the car and drove around the neighborhood - stopping and calling for him. I went to the park 2 blocks over and high on a hill. No Delsin. I would stop for people walking their dog and ask, but no Delsin. I drove the busy roads, but nothing. I went back to my brothers house. I talked to the neighbors again - explaining a bit more how important this dog was to me. They took my cell phone number and the husband then went out for a walk in the neighborhood looking. And I now had my friend Sharon there looking as well.

I came in to utilize the internet. It was about 1:30 by now - so delsin had been gone about 1 hour. I knew in my heart that getting the word out far and wide immediately was the best chance I had to get my boy back alive. I don't have face book myself, but friends do. It had already been posted on a couple of peoples face books, but I did a large, general emailing to many, many people I know one way or another. Most were local - some were not. All were contacted because I thought they could either help in the foot search itself or they could help in other ways. I wanted media involvement asap - again because the more widespread this was known, the better chance there was that he would be found and know who he belonged to. Friends posted to various yahoo type groups as well. the word spread - and spread very rapidly. The cell phone and land line started ringing about 2 and they did not stop until the next day.

I got many, many calls from people I did not know - wishing me the best and asking if they could help. No one was turned down and people started arriving here from all over to help. Many I knew, but there were people that I did not know, and that I never met. They came and simply joined the group that was now scouring the area. Everybody that came was so sincere about just wanting to help - it did not matter of they knew me or not, they knew the fear of losing someone you loved, so they extended a hand to me. I am grateful.

to be continued.....

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