Back to Doglog
Wed, 18 Sept 1996

About 16 years ago, my basenji and her daughter disappeared. At the time wehad Foxy (the basenji), Foxy's daughter 1/2 fence jumper (China) and Sam,(wolf-malamute mix) . I was expecting at the time--I was frantic. Wedidn't have a phone, but I used our neighbor's phone as a contact number forthe newspaper ad. After a few days, promising phone calls started tricklingin and I had a target area, which was 20 miles from the area around our housewhere I had been putting up posters and polling the neighbors.

We made daily treks thru the area not far from the dog pound, where Foxy and China had been sighted. We interviewed people who had seen them in the neighborhood this day or that. After mapping out the sightings, and makingnote of times, we'd compiled a pretty good idea of their pattern. Clearly they were roaming at night. (They'd been seen regularly by night watchmen and restaurant help early in the a.m.) The sightings only verified the daily trail of dumped out garbage cans we followed.

Midnight on our anniversary, someone took us to an early breakfast, which ishow we ended up in that neighborhood at 4 am. We went to the usual restaurants where they'd been seen before, and again, the trash cans were upended or the tasty bits consumed. The chicken place, the taco place, greasy spoon, hamburger joint ...but while the mess was still fresh, there was neither hide nor hair of Foxy or China. We tried taking Sam out snuffling among the debris but since he was nearly sixteen years old and not all there, his input was pretty useless. Thanks to several gallons of water though, his output left messages Foxy and China (hopefully) would recognize.

Everyone we knew had given up. I couldn't give up. Foxy was as much mine as the child I was carrying. It had been 2 weeks since we'd seen them. But the day before, we'd had another call from someone a block or so from the restaurant route--a woman had seen a shaggy roan male terrier with a tail arced over his back like a question mark, and a slightly smaller short haired female with perked ears and a peculiar honeybun of a tail. Barry told me to forget it--it was a male and female and we were looking for two females. Like all of the earlier callers, the lady been unable to catch them. But I knew she had seen Foxy and China.

The sky was graying as we rounded the corner and drove the block or so to the park centered in a cul de sac. Sam who had been sleeping in the back , jumped up over the seat and planted two paws on the dash, staring out the window. It seemed at first that he'd seen a cat. Except I rememberscreaming, "STOP! THERE THEY ARE!" when they were a couple of blurry specks miles away. Barry pulled over and my big pregnant stomach and I got out of the car.

At that moment, the sun rose over the park. China and Foxy froze where they stood in the center of a distant, neighborhood street. I screamed again, probably for the millionth time that week, "Foxy! China!" They stood there for so long I thought maybe I'd been mistaken.

Then they broke into a frantic, desperate run. Foxy looked exactly the same--China's longer hair was slightly bleached out from the Texas sun--but they were both hysterically joyful to find us. I had to kneel to keep Foxy and China from hurtling into my arms. Sam, jumping around inside the car, took out the passenger door's window to get to his girls. All the way home, Foxy yodled, chattered, talked, whimpered, whined, moaned and sang at me, telling me where she'd been, what she'd done, what had happened, and especially how glad she was to find us again. This was a dog who yawned OUT what she wanted to go out and EAT when she wanted to eat, and NO when she meant no. (She said NO alot, particularly when people tried to convince her to talk.) I wish I had understood the words she had been trying to say but I guess it didn't matter--I knew what she meant since I felt the same way.

China pretty much took everything in stride. She was happy as long as Foxy was there. But Foxy--for weeks she had nightmares, woke up screaming, only settling down when she oriented herself and saw she was home. And she stuck to me like an extra layer of my own epidermis.

Around this time, our next-door neighbor came back from a vacation. She mentioned in passing that on the way to the airport two weeks before, she'd spoken to our roommate at the traffic light--and (after seeing Foxy and Chinain his back seat, added) wasn't it nice how he took Foxy and China to thevet's for their annual rabies shot?

We never confronted him. We moved out that very day.

Moral: Never share a house with someone who believes dogs belong outside. Sometimes hope is all we have to go on. Don't give up.