Mari, it’s been ten days, the longest we’ve ever gone without a sighting. It’s so hard not to imagine all sorts of awful things. I know, the weather’s been terrible, and people haven’t been out, but the weather makes waiting even more nerve-wracking. Okay, I’ve never liked winter except as an excuse to bundle up and drink hot chocolate and of course squish you (which you’d usually tolerate for about 15 minutes and then go “nnngh!”, shake off, run away, and come back whacking a toy as hard as you could: “I’m not cuddly! I’m tough. I kill squirrels!” Yeah. Really tough. Especially when you run up to us and flop over for an emergency belly rub.), and we’re trying to hold on to all of the stories and the experts who say, “Animals make it through the winter all the time!” and tell us their stories of pets they’ve rescued who made it through awful winters, as well.
I know you’re tough and smart and cautious — you aren’t going to do anything stupid. And even with us watching you, you were an amazing scavenger. You’d sneak into a bush and emerge with an entire sandwich or manage to climb from stairs onto a table and eat an entire dish of marinade left out after a barbecue. And you’re brilliant — remember the whole thing with the laser pointer? We were at Jeff’s, and he had one, and you love bug hunting and were convinced the laser was a bug. You’d watch it and then pounce and whenever it disappeared, you’d crouch by the nearest crack in the wooden floorboards and try to get a claw in to work it out. Hours of entertainment! But then the next time we pulled out a laser pointer, you didn’t do it. You gave your dad the most exasperated look I’ve ever seen on a dog. “Whatever, dad. It’s in your hand. I see it.” You’d rather gnaw on something or hunt a real bug. The funny thing was, you never wanted to kill any bugs you captured, you’d just bat at them and study them as they moved. You’d cover them with a paw and try to hide them from me in case I really wanted to play with them. Silly girl.
When we first brought you home, we bought toys and Nylabones that were appropriate for your size. Big mistake. You’d rip through those in a minute. Turns out you’re a power chewer. We started buying toys for German shepherds. They barely fit in your mouth, but you loved them. You’d maneuver them into position and hold them in place with your paws and then chomp away, your eyes half closed and your tail thumping on the floor every time you paused to take a break.
I’ve been sending notes to all of our experts for their advice — patience? tracking? better feeding station locations? — and trying to keep things going, sol. I have a busy afternoon ahead with more emails and calls, so I better get to it. You stay out there, okay? You know those words, Marisol. Stay. Good girl.