Bad News Always Comes in Threes…

I really, really, really didn’t want to write this blog today. I was hoping to be able to talk about my hubby and mine’s trip to Reno and how we went to look for wild horses on the back roads in our new Jeep. Or maybe I could talk about how my son and his fiance are now the proud owners of a beautiful new-to-them mini van that is going to be just perfect for their growing family. Or how my hand is doing after surgery to fix the trigger finger syndrome I have been dealing with for the past two years.

Yep. That was the plan. Instead I am going to tell you about all the tragedy that has surrounded my life instead. It all started when I lost my beloved Tango to drowning on Tuesday night. I told you how devastated I was and that my hubby decided to take me away for a few days to Reno just to relax and forget our troubles for a while.

The night before we left I noticed my old cat Max was drooling and not acting quite like himself. He had lost some weight over the past few months but since he was older I just figured it was his age catching up to him but the drooling caused me concern. My daughter talked to a friend who is a vet tech and she suggested he may have a bad tooth that was causing him to drool. Of course it was the weekend but she said she could pull the tooth if we wanted–she has an old cat she does that for often–and with some antibiotics he would be fine. I did find a small sore on his mouth and his tongue looked raw but figured it was from the bad tooth.

So we left on Sunday. My daughter was going to take Max to her friend but then someone on the Lost and Found page we belong to on Facebook said that the symptoms Max was displaying matched exactly her cat that developed FIV, a deadly and incurable disease that can lie dormant for years and then suddenly attacks the cat’s system. When that happens there is no alternative but to put the animal down humanely.

We were halfway to Reno when I read that, and so I looked up FIV on my phone and she was right. It hadn’t occurred to me that he was actually sick and I felt terrible. We turned around and headed home and picked up Max. Since it was the weekend and a Sunday to boot the only vet open was the emergency vet, so we took him there and had him put to sleep.

Max was my mom’s cat that I inherited when she got very ill several years ago. He was a sweet, wonderful, laid-back cat who purred constantly and he will be missed, especially this winter when I won’t have him sitting on my head while I try to sleep…

We finally got to Reno and all was well. We took Cash, my Dameranian (1/2 Pomeranian, 1/2 mini Dachshund) who goes everywhere with me, and he and I went for a long walk along the lake in Sparks where we rented a room for a couple of days.

The next evening, after spending the day in downtown Reno walking and window-shopping and having fun thrift-storing, we went to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Bertha Miranda’s. We had the SunRaider top off the Jeep–it is a huge sun roof that comes off in two pieces, leaving the back of the Jeep covered but allows the driver and front-seat passenger the feeling of open-air driving without having to remove the entire top.

Because of the fires in Northern California the smoke was getting pretty bad in Reno (the winds blew it all over the mountains into the valley)  so we threw a large beach towel over the opening in the roof and slammed the ends into the doors to keep some of the smoke and ash out of the truck, and to discourage Cash from thinking he could maybe climb out. Considering he would have to be quite the contortionist to make it through the roof I wasn’t real worried about it and we headed inside for dinner.

We came out 45 minutes later and I clicked the door alarms off and the light went on in the Jeep and I realized that my dog, my heart, my Cash was gone.

Gone. Vanished. Disappeared. Stolen.

My heart dropped to my feet. I couldn’t believe it. My husband jumped in the Jeep and began driving around the neighborhood as I ran around the block  frantically calling his name. We searched for over two hours. I never realized what a bad neighborhood the restaurant was in until I had to walk by myself through it. I asked every homeless person and anyone else I saw on the street if they had seen a little brown dog. Nothing. He was gone.

So instead of spending a nice, relaxing two days in Reno having fun we spent our time instead making police reports, missing dog reports, haunting animal services and cruising some pretty sketchy neighborhoods posting flyers with Cash’s picture and a reward offered anywhere we thought someone might see them and call us. We even extended out stay by a day, hoping we would hear something, but finally on Thursday we were forced to leave because we just couldn’t afford to stay any longer.

I am heart-broken. Cash has been my baby since I helped his mama birth him. He was born breech and not breathing at 230 in the morning. I had to grab his little hind feet and pull him from the birth canal because he was too big and was stuck. I revived him with mouth-to-snout resuscitation and as he got older whenever I would go and sit with the puppies he was always the one who would come and climb into my lap. He is my best friend and I cannot imagine not seeing him again.

My cousin has offered to drive me back to Reno next week to look for him again. Her mom lives there so we are going to stay with her and go around the homeless encampments and pass out sandwiches and see if we can find him. I’m pretty sure he was taken by one of the street people. the police officer we spoke with says that the homeless like to have dogs not only for companionship but for money. People will give them more if they have a cute dog with them.

So to wrap this up, I lost my three pets–Max, Tango, and Cash–within the span of one week. One week. Yes, I have other dogs and cats, but these three were mine. I still have Cash’s son who is promised to a friend for her daughter’s birthday present. I considered just keeping him, but then I realized that even though he looks like his dad he’s not Cash and he never will be.

I won’t give up the search. I can’t. I know Cash is out there somewhere. I have his picture plastered on several lost and found pages on Facebook. I have a couple of lost pet sites online who have faxed and emailed his picture and description to various pet-related businesses and vets in the Reno/Sparks/Carson city area. I have several ads for him on Craigslist in both lost and found and pets. I handed out flyers to a bunch of homeless people and asked them to keep an eye out for him and to call me collect, day or night, if they saw him. Animal services emails me every other day with pictures and descriptions of dogs that have come in or been reported found in the area. And still nothing.

Again I guess there s a lesson in all of this. Make sure you microchip your dog. Cash was going in to get fixed and micro-chipped when we got home. That ounce of prevention I spoke of last time? Yeah. Would have been a great thing to have BEFORE he went missing.  Another lesson–never give up hope. Cash IS out there. Whoever took him wants him or they would have called by now. I just have to trust that someone will see my posters and recognize him and do the right thing and call me.

The third lesson I have learned though all of this is that I have some amazing friends in my life. People that I only know on Facebook and who have never even met me face-to-face have re-posted my pleas for Cash’s safe return in the hopes that friends of theirs in the Reno area will see him and call me. Barbara Ferrer, a wonderful author I know through the Cherries, reposted  his picture. I have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from everyone. If I ever thought I was alone I can look at my Facebook and Twitter pages and realize that I’m surrounded by an entire community of people who love me and want the best for me. And that humbles me….

So the search continues. I will know Reno very well by the time I find Cash. And I WILL find him. I know I will. I just have to be patient and not lose faith. Easier said than done, eh?

I’m sure I am not the only one who has had a whole lotta bad happen in a short period of time. What got you through the storm? Or maybe it was a who? I know my faith helps a lot but I also have found unexpected strength in the love and support of family and friends.  Did everything turn out for the better? Or are you still struggling? Share if you will…