Mardi is a cute little puppy that we adopted in 2010. She is funny, sweet and loves to play. I am kind of nuts about her. We adopted her after meeting a friend's dog, Stella, who was also a rescue, so well-mannered & just adorable. Imagine our surprise when ours turned out to be a wild little beast.
The thing about Mardi is that she has a tendency to run away, hence the phrase we use to describe her "Mardi likes to party." All of our neighbors know her and, most of them, let her come inside their homes when she makes a surprise visit.
She is a little Houdini & can get out of anything. We have an iron fence that she can dig under, an invisible fence that she can bust through and have even tried chicken wire that she literally chewed through....now we use all three to contain her & it seems to have done the trick.
Knowing this about her means that I am a nervous wreck to travel with her and therefore typically do not. My husband wanted to take her to his hunting camp which is about an hour & a half east of downtown Atlanta. I reluctantly agreed and said that she could only go if he used a training collar, (that she is very responsive to). He was re-charging her training collar inside the camp with her in the bed of his truck when she apparently made a run for it. This hunting camp unfortunately sits on 300 acres of land, that backs up to another person's 300 acres.
He searched all day and then finally had to make the dreaded call to me in the afternoon. I won't go into details but let's just say it didn't go well. You know how sometimes when you get bad news you immediately go into "fix it" mode? Well, that didn't happen. I skipped that step & went straight into meltdown, crazy-person, my dog is my child mode. It wasn't pretty.
She is micro-chipped but apparently the company she was registered with went out of business so it is basically useless. Obviously I was devastated but I got myself together & started the painful process of trying to find her.
Here is what we did:
1. Created a flyer with a large picture of Mardi & our phone number in large print
2. Identified the eight surrounding cities & looked up their counties
3. Distributed the flyer via e-mail, mail & fax to each county's animal control, Humane Society, veterinarians and shelters (several of them checked in on her daily)
4. Registered her on the following sites:
Petmetric.com; Lostandpound.com; Lostmydoggie.com (this one was the best)
The website registries send alerts to business in the zip code provided and then send you a list of the businesses contacted.
5. Printed very large posters
6. Placed the over-sized posters at the main intersections of the town & placed flyers in mail boxes.
When I arrived (2 hours later), she was gone. Keep in mind, this is a VERY rural area but I was prepared to make myself at home. I talked to neighbors, walked through the woods & even walked down the train tracks where I encountered a man that I think is now sending me weird texts. Anyway, as I was driving out of town, I would flag down people to give them her flyer (including a police officer who I'm sure had nothing else better to do with his time, ha ha!). Most everyone said something like, "Oh yea, I saw her sign." In other words, every one in town knew about my little sugar. I drove past a mechanics shop & saw some people standing outside so I pulled in.
As I was showing them the flyer of Mardi, one of the guys said, "Wow, she looks just like my dog & he is missing too." I said,"Maybe they are running around together like Milo & Ottis." He replied, "No, mine can't run around because he has a bandage on his hurt leg." Of course I realized that the dog the lady had seen had in fact been this man's. With my heart broken, I drove over to the hunting camp, trekked through the woods to a clearing, sat down & cried. I just knew she was dead or hurt or missing forever. Somewhere in the last 30 something years, I think I may have turned into a city girl because I saw something out of the corner of my eye that frightened me. I started thinking about the baseball scene in Twilight so I pulled myself together & hauled booty!
Back in Atlanta, we were getting ready for bed when my phone rang. A very nice man named Alan said he picked up what he thought was my dog after church. He described her perfectly but I asked him to text me a picture to be certain. He told me that he saw her running near the street & recognized her from the sign. When he pulled over & opened his door, she jumped in. As soon as he told me that, I knew it was her! He texted me 4-5 pictures to be certain. I was putting on my shoes to go get her but realized that I wouldn't get there until after midnight. He said he & his wife would love for her to stay the night & that I could pick her up in the morning.
They bathed her, removed countless tics, fed her (lasagna!) & loved on her. When I got to their house, which was a beautiful log cabin DEEP in the country, his wife carried her out to greet me. (I can't wait until they look inside the basket I gave them & find a little surprise, aka: a nice reward!!) She was totally out of it & just collapsed in my lap. Her tummy was completely scratched & she had what looked like several bite marks on her legs. She was limping & had a fever so I took her to her vet as soon as we got back to Atlanta. In the car ride home, she tried to sleep a little bit but every time she opened her eyes, she just stared at me.
The Drive Home:
Staring some more
We came home to an adorable sign for Miss Mardi from our neighbors!
Today, as luck would have it, is that day that we celebrate Mardi's birthday. I think I am the one that got the present however. After a thorough examination, she is ready to be picked up from the vet. She is bruised & sore from doing whatever in the heck she has been doing for the last three days, but is totally fine. Thank heavens!!
I was completely overwhelmed by this situation but, at the same time, amazed at how many of my friends, family & people I didn't even know tried to help me get her back. After all the coordination with websites & animal control, what brought her back to us was a poster. I will leave this experience with a renewed sense that there are a lot of very decent, more than decent, people out there. The kindness that was bestowed upon me and my precious little Mardi was unmeasurable. A special thank you to the citizens of Eatonton, GA. Sorry about all the lurking as I looked for my dog & walking behind your houses & such.
Now that my appetite is back, let's discuss a delicious snack.......
When I was leaving Eatonton after the false alarm sighting, I was hungry but didn't want to eat. Know what I mean? With limited food options, I spotted a Zaxby's & my car just drove into the parking lot completely on its own. What? That can happen. Anyway, I really wasn't super hungry & saw something called a Nibbler on their menu. It is a single chicken finger on a bun with sauce. Kind of like a chicken finger slider. No kidding, if you want to be just a little bit bad, give this little snack a try. Oh, and it has 390 calories & 23 fat grams...I only mention this so you don't buy two :)
Bon appetit! I am going to kiss my puppy goodnight!
Marlin was also quite happy to have his sister & BFF back home