Just posted to Twitter:
Okay, Marisol, you’re the most crazy-making creature I know. After posting how we’re letting you go, a possible sighting? #marisolsearch
I’m tough, but I don’t know if I’m this tough. #marisolsearch
And then Andrew said:
This: RT @anindita: I’m tough, but I don’t know if I’m this tough. #marisolsearch
To expand on that: we got a possible sighting today — location is consistent with the possible 5/5 sighting. This isn’t a definite sighting — it was from a woman who was jogging in the Fells. An orange dog, about 25-lbs trotted past her. It was a little ragged, and she checked that it had a collar, and then she kept running, assuming it had an owner.
After her run, she saw one of the Fells signs and realized she hadn’t crossed paths with an owner in her 45 minute run, and she and the dog had been going in opposite directions. She wasn’t certain it was Mari, but she wanted to call just in case because the color and size matched, and she hadn’t run across anyone else. If it is Mari, she still has her collar, which is great. The caller had a top down view, so she didn’t notice tags.
Regarding other search/recovery methods: we have talked to the ARL and MAC about things like scaring Mari up by riding mountain bikes through trails and other scenarios (they’ve done all sorts of things in the past). There are conditions under which they’ll do this, but so far Mari’s mobility has been the limiting factor — she takes off and takes a long time to settle into a spot again. She isn’t like Daisy, taking off for miles in some direction, and she is sticking to a particular radius — the goal is not to disrupt that while getting close to her.
The toughest part about all this is the emotional roller coaster, and that’s what’s getting us right now — the weeks of not hearing anything and then a sliver of hope. We’ve talked to others who’ve lost dogs, as well as to our ARL & MAC support about the psychological part of lost dog searches, and how to decide when to call it… sometimes people stop looking because they stop getting sightings, or dogs keep moving and never settle and the rescue scenario’s too tough, and the owners have to make peace with that. Sometimes owners can’t handle the ups and downs anymore. That’s what we’re dealing with right now — how much of the roller coaster we can take. It’s been seven months to the day of getting riled up over a sighting and maybe getting close and then facing a blizzard or lack of sightings or thunderstorms and not hearing anything for weeks and wondering that whole time and then going through the cycle all over again. It’s not that we care about Mari any less or don’t want to do everything we can to bring her back, but the process is crazy-making. We’re tough, but we’re both hitting the limits of our toughness.
And of course everyone has an opinion: She’s gone, just deal. You need to let her go so you can move on with your life — you’ve already done everything you can. Set a deadline, like the end of the summer, and then stop. Try as long as there are sightings. Never stop.
There may never be a resolution to this, and that’s something we’re trying to deal with — not knowing and trying to figure out when/how to call it if we need to. We didn’t have sightings for a month, so we were about to call it, but now? How long do we go on?
Are we certain enough that this sighting was of Mari to set another feeding station? Are we certain enough that it isn’t her to stop? We’ll set something up just in case, of course, and as always hope for a positive outcome, but are we just prolonging the heartbreak? It’s a question we’re trying to work out for ourselves, and I think Andrew summed it up best in an email he sent me today after my follow up call: