“Honey! I’m so sorry but I lost Ella. She’s been missing for over two hours now and I’m starting to get scared.”
My husband’s voice carried through the receiver and bounced off the walls of my empty store. The time was 4:45 PM and the calendar reminded me the tourist season expired basically on Labor Day.
“Where are you? I’ll be right there,” I shouted as if the distance mattered over the phone.
Ella graced our life at the stinking adorable age of six weeks and proved herself to be the most photogenic, charismatic, trouble-maker in the canine world. At six-weeks this boxer pup looked like a white chocolate chip cookie with one brown eye, one brown ear, and heart-shaped spots. I kid you not. One look at her and the coldest heart melted instantly.
I agreed that we had no reason to have children now that we owned a boxer. She took care of all the maternal instincts I naturally inherited with my chromosomes. And now my husband needed my help finding our four-legged baby.
Once I got to Apple Grove Road 45 minutes north of my store, I discovered the rest of the story. She took off with Beau, the mottled hound mutt notorious for long distance run-offs by following his nose to a critter miles away. She, being a fast runner also, obviously decided it would be fun to run off with this Beau, for miles, for hours, into icy swamp land. I imagined her young foolish muscle body falling through the layers and sheets of snow precariously resting on thin ice , through to the heart-stopping frigid water below.
As the sun set, our hearts sank, our voices hoarse, and our hopes diminished. The hours passed added up to nearly seven hours and the temps dropped 20 degrees. My husband and I stood in the middle of this country road in the dark and held each other, weeping into each others shoulders. She’s gone. Our baby is gone.
…to be continued…