Last weekend I happened to see a thread on a large message board to which I belong that announced a missing greyhound in Anderson, SC. Further, said missing dog was seen in areas very close to where Scott and I used to live, so I made a plan to join the search.
Monday afternoon I took my three dogs and we tromped about in the mud at the edge of Lake Hartwell, looking at tracks in the mud and discussing where to put the trap on the property that clearly wasn't ours. It was while I was there that I learned more about the dog for whom we were searching.
Her owners were moving and had family helping them, a door wasn't shut tightly, the wind blew the door open, and out one of the greyhounds went to investigate. (I nearly had the same kind of experience just this morning...the lawn service came and somehow didn't feel it was important to shut the gate behind them, but I digress...) She went missing on the 9th of February, and because the adoption group that her owners used is no longer in business, they felt they were on their own to find her. Finally they had to both move to their new home, leaving behind a newspaper ad and hope that someone would find her.
When those of us in the greyhound-owner community found out she was out loose, we could have just hugged our own hounds and been sad for the poor dog from our own warm homes. But we didn't. We posted and crossposted information on message boards. We made calls and sent faxes with the dog's information and last known whereabouts. We tromped about in the mud and underbrush, straining to hear tags jingling over our pounding hearts every time a twig snapped in the nearby woods.
We sat out in the dark, hoping she would magically appear. We made arrangements for search parties and skipped out of work to join the hunt. And finally, as if lead by some unseen force, our poor lost girl wandered up to some volunteers and let them hook a leash to her collar to bring her in from the cold.
I spend a lot of my time alone. I'm engaged, yes, but I'm still single. I have a lot to do for my animals that sends me home for lunch rather than out to a restaurant with co-workers and forbids me to stay out late with friends shopping or just hanging out over a cup of coffee. I don't begrudge my zoo one moment that I've missed out on with someone else to spend time with them, but sometimes I end up feeling rather like an island. My island has a connection to the mainland through the internet, of course, but in my own mind I always plan how I will deal with things on my own. I don't expect others to help me or to even really be there for me, because I've just gotten used to doing things myself and being my own support system.
Seeing all these people come together to help this family that we didn't even know...that most of us had never even seen, let alone spoken to on the phone...it reminded me that there is a world outside my four walls and that I need to rejoin it before I've isolated past the point of sanity. There are good people out there who will help you out for no other reason than it's the right thing to do. They don't want anything from you. They aren't using you. They're just there, ready to help or listen or dig through rubble to find your lost dog, and I'm proud that I was one of them...and thankful for the reminder.