07 March 2012

A Sad Anniversary

On a beautiful and exceptionally warm Sunday March 7, 2004 I opened the back porch door and let 
our 9 year old Lab, Bear and our almost 1 year old Lab, Lucy out to run.  We have acres 
of woods behind the house and I had done this countless times before that day.  Dan and I went out a 
short time later and spent an hour or two cutting brush.  We began to wonder why Bear and Lucy 
hadn’t come back to visit now and then.  We started calling but still no dogs.  I walked the back 
trails while Dan traveled the adjoining roads.  It got dark and I spent the night on the couch 
assuming I would hear them run up the steps wanting food and attention.  By the next morning it 
was colder and it had snowed and our concern grew.  We spent the morning making fliers and 
distributing them to stores and mailboxes; we called every vet, animal control officer, local & state 
police, placed ads in the newspapers - and then we searched some more.  I got a call from a woman
who had found a black Lab and I drove a short distance to where she had parked her Mercedes with 
an extremely wet, dirty, and scared-to-death Lucy shivering in what was once a clean back seat.  
Though the fliers said we would gladly pay a reward for anyone finding our dogs, this wonderful 
woman said no, she was just thankful she’d reunited us with Lucy.  I asked where she had found 
Lucy and did she see the larger black Lab.  She hadn't but she would keep looking.  So many people 
tried so hard to help find Bear but days and weeks and months, and finally a full year went by. 

I feel certain that Bear most likely died out in the woods due to his age and size and a family history 
of heart problems, and because of his doubtless, intense feelings of responsibility to keep up with 
Lucy.  We also know in our hearts that no one could have taken him for long – he would have found 
his way back to us somehow, someway, someday.  But there is always a modicum of doubt, and 
maybe he lost his way.  If that is what happened, it helped at the time to know that there were 
organizations available to give solace and aid to Bear, and to other animals who can’t get back to 
their families - and for those saddest cases when no one ever loved them enough to provide a 
home in the first place.  So on that one year anniversary of losing my Bear I went to our town 
shelter and I donated money on behalf of Bear for all they had done to help find him.  I also donated 
to North Shore Animal League, a no kill, national organization dedicated to helping animals in need, 
and I donated to the ASPCA - all in Bear’s name.  And still now if there is money left after paying the 
bills that I may once have spent on something I don’t need, I send it to North Shore and the ASPCA.  
I do it for Bear because it is the only thing I can still do for him.   

I am so grateful that I still have my beautiful Lucy who is wiser and sweeter for the short time she 
had with Bear, and she of course has been joined by the sensitive and charming Blackie.  Lucy and 
Blackie are my rambling partners and best friends.  But I will always mourn the loss of Bear.

1 comment:

sophanne said...

Good dogs are never forgotten. Thanks for sharing your story. I'll have good Bear thoughts today.