My dog went missing today. I left her in the yard, not for the first time. But for the first time, she actually saw me walk out of the gate without her. Her first reaction was to follow, so she tried to sneak under the gate, but then she got distracted by something and went towards the house and I walked off. That happened at 8.40pm.
Sniffles and I got home about an hour later and she was gone. We called and called for her but there was no response. Actually, the moment I opened the gate, I sensed that she wasn’t there because usually, at the sound of the gate, she will run to welcome whoever is there.
That started us on an hour-long search, and somewhere along the way, we enlisted the help of the housemate and her girlfriend. At around 11pm, my mobile rang and a woman’s voice went, “Are you looking for your dog?”
I had prayed, really prayed that she would be found. A lot of thoughts went through my head as I was wandering around the estate looking for her. At the sight of the first person I saw, I knew that she couldn’t be nearby because she loves people too much, not to mention other dogs. She would have jumped onto the first person and made friends, and if that person had wanted to return her to her rightful owner, the person would have called me already. There is a mental checklist that I went through, and I’m not sure if all dog owners who lose their dog go through the same thoughts. First, I was glad that there wasn’t roadkill in the shape of a small white furry mound and I started viewing all moving vehicles with fear, especially those moving exceptionally fast. Second, I started wondering which of the neighbours have decided to keep her as their own. Third, I started envisioning the missing posters that I would slot into each and every mailbox around the estate and wondered how many that would be. Then, I started imagining what it would be like to never hold my dog again, and thinking about getting a replacement, complete with what I would name her. Except that there could be no replacement. And then I started seeing this as a parable about being lost and found and how each lost sheep is precious to the shepherd. It was a powerful message.
I prayed that she would be found, that whoever had found her will restore her to me.
“Can you describe what kind of dog it is?”
“I was downstairs walking my Schnauzer with my husband when we saw this small dog.”
“She’s very dirty and hungry.”
“We waited 30 minutes to see if someone would come and claim her.”
“Huh? I’m at Jurong.”
That was the clincher. I live in Serangoon Gardens. For non-Singaporeans, let’s just say that Jurong and Serangoon Gardens are separated by a 15-minute car ride on an expressway if you’re travelling at the 90km/h that my housemate was driving at.
I wish my dog could talk. Maybe she could confirm some of our theories. Did she jump onto some pick-up truck and stowaway halfway across the island? Was she dognapped to be made into some tasty dish for any of the many foreign construction workers in the neighbourhood who then proceeded to dump her when she started throwing up and hyperventilating? (Besides asthma, the dog also has motion sickness half the time in car rides.) Was she dognapped to be sold or held for ransom, but then abandoned because she started coughing and retching? Did some uncle want to keep her for his son but changed his mind when it became obvious that she’s unwell? See how the various scenarios paints her illness as her one saving grace?
She’s sleeping at my feet now. She dreams. I wonder what she’s dreaming of.
The people who found her were true dog lovers. They fed and bathed her. She proceeded to pee on their slippers when she saw Sniffles. That confirmed her identity.
She’s really none the worse for the wear. She doesn’t look like she suffered any separation anxiety at all and is her usual self.
I just thank God.