True story continued…
We sobbed and sobbed into each other others arms. We lost Ella. I envisioned her demise.
She hopped along the crust of the snow, following Beau, until she bounded right into a soft spot and fell to the chilling water below. She struggled. Her eyes rolled around frantically but every time she pawed at the snow it fell into the water with her. Her legs found no branch or tree root for a landing. Eventually…
Then my phone rang. The red heavy Nokia phone buzzed in my pocket like a live animal caught in my jacket. An old man hesitantly introduced himself. “You looking for a cute white sweetheart named Ella? I have your dog. Lady, she is one honey of a pup. I don’t know how you let her go.”
I laughed, I cried. I growled. My husband almost tossed me in the air with excitement. I wanted to shake this man, waiting until nearly ten o’clock at night to call me. He had her for over two hours and contemplated keeping her, and Beau, he had them both, but Beau proved himself too much to handle for an old man, so he resorted to confessing his capture.
He gave me directions. My heart pounded on the drive to his little cedar ranch home in the woods off Q. He grew white whiskers from his fleshy ears and three layers of wool flannel shirts. I wanted to paint him, after I shook him and scolded him. I did none of those things of course. I shook his hand and thanked him. The dogs looked so happy. He looked like his heart broke watching them follow me to the Honda CR-V.
I opened the side door and Ella leaped into the car like a 50 pound white deer. Beau planted his paws on the landing, and I felt it. A wild-haired notion flashed in that walnut of a hound brain and he propelled himself back into the woods. Ella bounded past me out after him. I screamed! Whatever voice I had left managed to pound through the trees like a siren. I caught a glimpse of the old man turn and close the door. My heart shattered into a million pieces and my mind cracked like a hard boiled egg cracks in a hard boil.
I called my husband back at Beau’s parent’s house. “I’m going to kill them! I’m serious. I am going to find them and kill them!”
Finally the two canine runaways pranced back to me. They were so exhausted they couldn’t jump up into the car and I had to shove them up myself. I grounded them from each other for three months but they didn’t care. They had a blast.
The following winter, I hiked on snowshoes with Ella in Mud Lake. It’s DNR property with great trails in fields surrounded in forest, like a large prairie courtyard. The dogs love it. Just as we trudged up the long un-plowed dead end road. As we approached the property, Ella sprinted, as usual, off trail. Suddenly the most haunting horrific sound shredded the overcast sky. My ears cried instantly. What was that? The beastly wail sounded again, and the tug on my heart told me it was Ella, though it sounded nothing like her.
I hiked double time to discover my dog caught and nibbling at her leg between cries for help. Damn! Coyote trap!
Sure enough, a large, heavy, steel, toothless, mouth clamped onto her slender white leg. The smell of rancid animal oil burned my nose. Some hunter baited the trap with a scented ointment to attract the wild dogs, ignoring that rural dogs fall for the same trick. The trap was stiff. Ella’s soft brown eyes begged me to help her. The friend who joined me had biceps twice the size of mine. She was an extremely muscular strong woman, but she couldn’t get the trap open. She pried and pushed and swore appropriately. Meanwhile Ella cried and yelped in pain.
… to be continued …
Assignment: Earlier in the course, you wrote about losing something. Today, write about finding something. For your twist, view day four’s post and today’s post as installments in a series.